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Plant of the Month - October

Plant of the Month - October

October's Plant of the Month is Hedges. If you would like hedging in your garden, autumn is a great time to plant it. Decide what type of hedge would suit your situation best, such as evergreen, flowering, formal. Take into consideration the eventual height you would like it to reach. You might want to choose a hedge native to the UK that will attract wildlife, such as hornbeam or hawthorn.

Taxus baccata is the English yew. English yew hedge is a classic British conifer hedging plant that is a dense, dark evergreen with bright green spring growth. Its autumnal red fruits are loved by birds, but harmful to humans and pets.

Yews are a favourite for hedges and topiary. They withstand hard pruning and can be rejuvenated by cutting them back to the stumps. Unlike box plants, yew does not suffer from blight, making it great for clipping into topiary. It usually grows by 30 to 40cm a year. Once it reaches the desired height, it’s easy to maintain.

Yew hedging needs plenty of water in the first couple of seasons, but should not sit in waterlogged soil. If your soil is heavy, wet or clay, improve the drainage with a mix of compost and generous amounts of horticultural grit from Garsons. Apart from its need for water, the yew is easy to grow, shade tolerant, very hardy, and likes all soils, particularly alkaline.

Planting a hedge:

  • Before planting, soak each plant in a bucket of water while you cultivate the soil
  • Check the eventual spread of the shrub, so you can position a row of plants to grow into a dense hedge
  • Add slow acting fertiliser to the planting hole to give it a good start
  • Once planted, firm each one in well to get rid of air pockets around the roots
  • Make sure new plants are well watered in dry spells