Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Hedging?  (Read 4801 times)

Baois Glas

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Ireland
« on: January 14, 2015, 02:19:05 pm »
I'm looking to plant a a hedge down either side of part of my drive, as a windbreak mostly, I'm thinking willow, hawthorn and possibly blackthorn, but does anyone know of any other good fast growing trees that might be good to add to the mix?
How many acres how much light
Tucked in the woods and out of sight
Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap
On a little road barely on the map


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hedging?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2015, 04:28:42 pm »
When you plant a hedge, have at least two zigzag rows of plants, if not three.  Hawthorn will make a nice dense hedge a few years into the future, and makes a good base for the whole hedge, especially if you have the windy side all hawthorn. Its other name is quickthorn, so doesn't grow as slowly as some.
For the inner row, well, I dislike blackthorn intensely as it tends to grow into thickets which are near impossible to get rid of, and it scratches and stabs you with scars which can take a year to heal fully. Willow, and elder, grow quickly but shade out the other plants.  Both will bully themselves a wide space then die young, or in the case of willow have to be cut down young, leaving you with a gappy hedge.
Willow can work as a hedge on its own but needs to be coppiced frequently, but really isn't good in a mixed planting.  Hedge plants which are good for a nice mixed hedge are things such as hazel, rowan, field maple, the occasional oak and beech (beech keep their dead leaves on over much of the winter, so provide extra shelter), a wild rose or two, holly, crab apple, guelder rose, spindle.  You will see that none of these are rapid growers, but this is for the reasons given above.  You are far better to be patient and plant the appropriate species, and erect a windbreak to help the plants grow for the first few years.
Other dense, single species hedges are gorse, rosa rugosa, beech, rosa rugosa being the fastest growing, but all need to be trimmed regularly.
I grew up in East Anglia where they have two kinds of windbreak on the vast flatlands - those very tall narrow poplars which grow quickly but aren't very dense and throw a long shadow, and Scots pine which was the choice for sandy soils of the Breck - they are slow growing and probably not what you are looking for.

 Of course there's leylandii  :roflanim:
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Hedging?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2015, 05:11:27 pm »
I agree about not having blackthorn - it suckers into the field and has 4cm thorns within a year.  Our hedges are about 900 years old and contain most of the varieties mentioned above - we have some oak and holly as standards.  Hawthorn is great for spreading a layer of fierce thorns when the flail hedge trimmer passes by.


  • Joined Apr 2013
  • West Lothian, Scotland
Re: Hedging?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2015, 10:49:04 am »
Buckingham Nurseries have some good information on their website. We've planted their horse friendly hedging mix.


  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: Hedging?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2015, 03:53:44 pm »
A bit off topic - but whatever you plant as hedges - dont let anything near it to eat it.  We have spent alot - olny to find that they have all been nibbled and then realised we needed proper fences either side of it that are healthy and intact and keep sheep/goats/horses/cattle etc etc out.

There is no point in planting if the rascals are going to nibble the best bits of growth in the first couple of years - cos they just get eithr destroyed or stunted.  Sounds obvious now (to me) but dont make the same mistake. (as me)


  • Moderator
  • Joined Mar 2013
  • East Sussex
    • Sussex Forest Garden
Re: Hedging?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2015, 11:05:00 pm »
I've just ordered some robinia pseudoacacia - it's thorny, quick growing and has beautiful blossoms, might be worth considering. Got mine from Crowders nursery


  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Hedging?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2015, 12:49:20 am »
If you're wanting windbreak, you'd need it most in winter, I'd go for holly, slow at first but once it gets going it'll soon do the job, beech, which I'm digging up seedlings near our 200 yr oldies and replanting up the lane, hornbeam is similar but happy in a wider range of soils, quickthorn is good, little birdies can hide in there,as well as the Holly.
I don't know what the roses are up our lane but I regret planting them, beautiful for the short time they are in flower, but suckers coming up everywhere, right out and arching into the lane, neighbour complained they were scratching her car.
Also agree blackthorn is a menace, again suckers coming up in the field fromthe hedge.
We also have some sort of small cherry/plum? lovely flowers in spring, red and yellow fruits, delicious septemberish. occasionaly along the hedge they'd look lovely.
If you have room, why not plant willow to the outside of the 'permanant' hedge, as it grows bend it over horizontal and tie/interlock it as a living windbreak/fence?.
BTW how long is your drive?


  • Moderator
  • Joined Mar 2013
  • East Sussex
    • Sussex Forest Garden
Re: Hedging?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2015, 04:07:38 pm »
Wild pear has vicious thorns, I discovered having planted some recently. Fruit and blossom too


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