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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.


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

White Berried Dogwood

Cornus alba

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

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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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Common Broom

Cytisus scoparius

Broom , like gorse, has bright yellow flowers and it's spikey branches provide an ideal habitat for native birds. However, it is less spiky than gorse as so better suited for gardens - especially ones with children running arounf in them! Broom grows quite well in most places, but is perfect for coastal areas and poor soil.

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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


Ilex aquifolium

Holly is a wonderful Christmas bush, but it also makes a fantastic hedge - protection and food for birds and yuletide decoration for you. Only the female trees produce the famous berries and it is impossible to know which are female until it matures, so planting a hedge ensures a mix of genders and lots of berries. Holly hedging is also much prizes for adding a lucious green colour throughout the winter, although most of it seems to be harvested for indoor decorations!

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Common Privet

Ligustrum vulgare

The privet is a very easy hedge to grow and maintain - clip the privet twice a year for a crisp, formal hedge.

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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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Portugal Laurel

Prunus lusitanica

Portugal laurel makes a great hedge as it is glossy-green with flowers and berries. It is generally hardier than Cherry laurel.

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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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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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Dog Rose

Rosa canina

The delicate pink flower of the native dog rose makes it perfect for that country cottage look. You will normally wnat to plan on 6 plants per metre for a double, staggared hedge, but adding as extra can really bring the hedge alive. Whilst most heding species flower in the spring, the dogrose flowers throughout the summer on last year's growth. Being native, the dogrose is hardy and will look perfect in most settings.

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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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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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Cotoneaster lacteus

Cotoneaster lacteus

Cotoneaster lacteus has a glorious display of orange berries throughout the winter which tend to be left alone by birds.

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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