How to plant your free trees

Planting your free hedging

The hedging you receive will be in five-metre bundles, with one tree per metre. This will be hawthorn and we will also include a hedgerow tree for every five metres.

When you collect your hedging, keep the roots covered to protect them from frosts, wind, snow, and sun, and don’t let them dry out. If you can’t plant them quickly, you can plant them in a clump for a few days but they need to be planted between November and March.

Some of the hedging will be provided with bare roots and will not have soil around the roots. However, the planting instructions remain the same.

Prepare the site

Dig over the planting area and remove any weeds and roots. Mix in organic matter if you have it, but please avoid using peat. If planting in heavy clay soil, you can add grit or sand to improve drainage. 

Planting the hedge

We recommend planting a thick hedge, which is better for nesting birds, and provides more food and shelter for wildlife.

For a thick hedge, plant five trees per metre in a double row, with 50cm between the trees and 40cm between the two rows. You can use a string to make sure the row is straight.

Dig a hole for each tree, and make sure it is big enough for all the roots to fit in comfortably. Plant it at the same depth as it was previously grown and backfill the holes, firming the soil gently around the roots. Water well, and, if necessary, add a rabbit guard to protect from rabbits. Don’t forget to add the tree every five metres.

During the first spring, cut back the hedge to 45cm to 60cm above the ground, to encourage a thicker, bushier hedge. Do not prune the hedges during the bird nesting season, which is usually March to August. Dead plants will need to be replaced in the autumn each year.

During the first summer, water regularly and, for the first few years, weed regularly until the trees are well established.

Once your hedge has become established, prune each side alternately every three years. Alternatively, if a hedge has become tall and gappy, consider laying it. Climbers can also be added to an established hedge for wildlife – try honeysuckle, ivy, old man's beard or bryony.

Last updated: 09/10/2023 11:39