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Hedging Guides

Screen or Formal Hedge

The most popular formal urban hedge is beech, or hornbeam for wet areas. If you would like a hedge to act as a screen, consider the evergreen trees like Lawson Cypress or, Western Hemlock. For a slower growing hedge option which is easier to maintain, try yew for a large hedge or box for a small hedge. Plant 6 plants per metre for a double staggered row.

Rustic Hedge

The most popular rustic hedge is hawthorn. For rustic hedges, go for the relaxed look with plenty of texture. Rustic hedges can look really good when several trees are mixed together in one hedge, and this will also ensure different flowering times along the hedge. For an animal-proof hedge, keep much of the hedge made of hawthorn, blackthorn or a suitable berberis and perhaps put flowering apple or pear through the hedge for colour, or maybe add in some roses.

How Many Trees To Plant Per Metre

A rough guide to how many trees to plant for your hedge is 4 per metre for a single row or 6 per metre for a thick, double, staggared row. For many conifers, reduce this number to 2 per metre for a single row and 3 per metre for a double row. This can vary per species, so read my blog about hedge planting density for more information.

How To Prune My Hedge

Most hedges will do well if you prune back by 1/3 every spring until you are happy with the overall size of the hedge, but this can vary per species. Learn more from our blog entry on hedge pruning times.

Berberis darwinii

Berberis darwinii

Berberis darwinii is an easy-to-grow evergreen shrub or hedge. Darwinii is best known for its holly-like leaves and orange flowers, although it is less spikey than other berberis species which makes it a more pleasant character in the garden.

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Carpinus betulus

Hornbeam is an excellent alternative to beech for a hedge - it is better in wet or shady sites and comes into leaf earlier. Hornbeam looks wonderful as an urban hedge and although it lacks the glossy look of the green beech, it adds texture with thick, soft ridges on the leaves.

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Lawson Cypress

Chamaecyparis lawsonianna

Chamaecyparis lawson is the most popular cypress as it is easy to grow as a thick, screen hedge or beatiful topiary tree. Fast growing and evergreen, lawson is our most popular choice as a screen or small windbreak. It is fairly water hungry, so avoid planting right next to your home and make sure you prune the hedge every year as you cannot prune into old growth.

Lawson Cypress Hedge from


Corylus avellana

The hazel tree is often chosen for urban gardens as it is small, colourful and resistant to air pollution. Hazel can take a good pruning so you can keep the hazel tree as small as you like and for the more crafty it can also provide a crop of wlaking sticks each year. And hazel nuts taste wonderful!

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Cornus sanguinea

Create a stunning winter garden with the brilliant yellow and red stems of the dogwood and white-berried dogwood.

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Fagus sylvatica

The Beech tree can be grown as a full tree with light grey bark, or as neat, traditional beech hedging. The shiny green beech leaves make beech a popular hedge with a neat, clean look. If you prune the hedge in July, then it will retain its autumnal leaves throughout the winter, which can add some much needed colour and screening. If your ground tends to stay soggy, then opt for hornbeam instead.

Beech Tree and Hedge from

Common Crab Apple

Malus sylvestris

Add a bit of the 'tree of love' into your hedge for some stunning blossom in the spring and native apples in the autumn. Crab apple will need some other species to provide a bit of structure and girth to the hedge, such as hawthorn or blackthorn, but dotting some crab apple in can add a whole different dimension to your hedge. You won't regret it!

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Wild Cherry

Prunus avium

The wild cherry shows a stunning white blossom in the spring and almost pink leaves in the autumn. A showpiece for any garden and stunning when planted within a hedge. You might like to have one cherry tree as a focal point, reflected by a small amount of cherry in a surrounding hedge. The effect will be both delicate and stunning, creating a real sense of harmony.

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Cherry Laurel

Prunus laurocerasus

The perfect answer to having a hedge which is green during the winter, but without having to opt for a conifer. The long, silky green leaves retain their formal feel throughout the darker months, so you can keep your garden screened whilst the rest of your garden is looking bare. The Cherry Laurel announces spring with a profusion of white flowers, inviting all other trees back into life.

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Cherry Plum

Prunus myrobalana

The cherry plum is our most popular blossom tree and you can see why by the pictures. You might like to have a whole blossom hedge with hawthorn, cherry, cherry plum and crab apple - uttely stunning! For a more subtle effect, try mixing it in with some native trees and give the birds and bees and extended feeding window.

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Bird Cherry

Prunus padus

The stunning blossom of the bird cherry lifts spirits and marks the wonderful arrival of spring.


Prunus spinosa

Blackthorn trees have historically been used as animal-proof hedging, but are more commonly known for producing bright blue sloe berries for use in gin and jam. They make a wonderful structure hedge, through which you can plant dogroses and wild fruit trees. Easy to establish and a traditional, thick hedge.

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Wild Pear

Pyrus communis

Another of our gorgeous, native fruit trees, the Wild Pear is a must for anyone wanting to give the birds a real feast. If you add some wild pear to your hedge, you will be treated to a stunning white-pink blossom in the spring before bearing its luscious fruit in the autumn. You can make lots of recipes from our native fruits, but you will have to be quick to beat the hungry birds! The pear will lose its leaves over the winter so for a uniform look, mix it in with other deciduous trees.

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Ramanus Rose

Rosa rugosa

Although not strictly native, the ramanus rose is better suited to hedging than the dog rose. The ramanus rose will wind its way throughout the hedge and produce pink flowers in the summer on this year's growth, meaning that you can prune the whole hedge together without fear of losing a year's flowering. After the bees have pollinated the delicate flowers, the rose grows hips, which hang bright red decorations. The birds adore thisluscious, fat bounty, so you will have to collect them quickly if you want to make delicious rose syrup!

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Sambucus nigra

Steeped in ancient mythology, the elder tree makes a wonderful hedge, especially when combined with Dog roses. Masses of delicate white elder flowers in the spring make delicious white wine with the berries making an equally delicious red wine! it can be a fairly delicate hedge, so you might like to twin with hawthorn or balckthorn is more exposed areas for a bit of 'body' to your hedge.

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Taxus baccata

Another evergreen hedge, the yew can be tightly clipped for a very formal feel withstriaght, neat lines. Yew trees were beloved by the Victorians as an evergreen, native centrepiece to the garden, often used as toipary in a variety of interesting shapes. In modern times, they are normally used as a thick, glossy hedge. The yew fruits are fascinating- the red flesh is paletable, but the seeds are poisionous if crushed, so only birds which can pass the seed without digesting them eat the yew fruit. A perfect way for the tree to disperse its seed!

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Western Red Cedar

Thuja plicata

A much hardier alternative to lawson or leylandii cedar hedges, the western red cedar is becoming increasingly popular as an evergreen hedge.

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Western Hemlock

Tsuga heterophylla

One of the hardiest evergreen hedges, western hemlock is becoming increasingly popular. Native Americans even made bread from the bark!

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Wych Elm

Ulmus glabra

Help restore our native Elm trees by planting a wych elm in your garden. The wych elm is more resistant to Dutch Elm Disease than the non-native 'english' elm.

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Wayfaring Tree

Viburnum lantana

Viburnum lantana makes a wonderfully informal shrub with white flowers, berries that change from green to red to black and leaves which turn red in autumn. Although not the sturdiest of hedges, the wafaring tree more than makes up for this with colour and so is perfect for growing against a wall or in a spot with a bit of shelter.

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Guelder Rose

Viburnum opulus

Viburnum opulus (guelder rose) is a spreading shrub ideal for wetter, shaded areas which flowers in the spring and produces bright red berries in autumn. The lobed, almost maple-like leaves look glorious in the autumn, so get ready for your hedge to leap into life when other hedges are going to sleep!

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Crataegus monogyna

The ultimate hedging plant and an essential choice for most deciduous hedges. Hawthorn is widely used as it is very dense, easy to grow and the thorns keep animals at bay. Most mixed, native hedges have at least 70% hawthorn to provide sturcture to other plants and our farms are surrounded by miles of glorious hawthorn hedgrows. Enjoy the wonderful blossom in the spring and red haw fruits in the autumn!

hawthorn tree

Field Maple

Acer campestre

Field Maple is perfect for gardens as it is a small tree and the leaves turn deep yellow in autumn - it is our only native maple and it under-rated as a hedge. Being shade tolerant, the maple thrives in areas in which other species may suffer and the lobed foliage makes the hedge almost come alive. If you plant a field maple hedge in a shady area, it will be a bright, light green in the summer and a glorious yellow in the autumn, with tinges of orange and gree, A fantastic hedge which will grow well in most situations.

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Berberis gagnepainii

Berberis gagnepainii is a very popular, hardy evergreen shurb or animal-proof hedge. Berberis are wonderfully colourful plants, so try mixing with other berberis species for best results. For a really birght and cherry look, consider adding in some broom and wayfaring tree. These will all be perfect for smaller gardens, or for hedges against a wall where colour is more important than density of the hedge, or exposure resistance.

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Wintergreen Barberry

Berberis julianae

Berberis julianae, known as wintergreen barberry, makes an ideal, rustic hedge and will grow well in all but the wettest ground.

wintergreen barberry

Copper Beech

Fagus sylvatica atropurpureum

Copper Beech is a much-loved hedging tree. It is a sub-species of Green Beech whose leaves turn purple in light and can look fantastic as a specimen tree or as a contrast to a luscious stretch of green beech hedging. Formal and elegant, beech is one of our nation's favourite types of hedging.

Copper Beech

Cotoneaster franchettii

Cotoneaster franchetii

Cotoneaster franchetii has a bushy habit and is an easy to maintain shrub or hedging plant.

Cotoneaster Franchetii