How-To Masterclass; Planting a Beech Hedge

Many thanks to the great Pat Peters of Coillte’s Ballintemple nurseries for this great how-to list of instructions;

Planting a Beech Hedge……….

Use a string to keep plants in a straight line – remember you will have to look at the result for a long time, so take your time when planting.

NB. A beech hedge has a realistic life span of 100 years.

  1. Dig a trench – mechanically with a mini digger using a 25-30cm bucket and back fill as you go i.e. return the soil to the trench.
  2. Firm this retuned soil by carefully treading on it, remove any stones and plant close to each side of the trench.
  3. Using a spade push well into the soil, pull the handle forward to create a planting pocket, place the plant into this pocket deeper than required. Remove the spade, bring the plant back up to its correct position (helps to straighten roots) and firm with the ball of the foot.

Plants may be planted up to 2.5cm deeper than the depth they were in the nursery (a colour change (ring) can be seen on the root collar) because the ground will settle around them.

Planting/Spacing : For best results plant two rows 15-30 cm apart : plant  at 45-60cm centres within the row and don’t forget to ‘stagger’ (offset) plants, see diagram (not to scale).

*¬45cm®* * * * *
  ­ 20cm ¯                                   
 * * * * *   

No’s required: Double row @ 45cm (1.5ft) centres requires 130 plants  per 30m (100ft) of hedge. If you have 100m (325¢) of hedge it will require 440 plants.

Double row @ 60cm (2ft) centres requires 100 plants per 30m (100ft) of hedge. If you have 100m (328ft) of hedge it will require 330 plants.

When the hedge is planted watering is required. Water carefully, the ground should be kept moist – not wet or waterlogged. It helps to create a small bank of clay along the edge of the hedge, holds the water until it soaks into the soil. Be careful not to overwater as the oxygen will be dispersed from the soil.

Keep roots covered (leave in the bag) as they do not tolerate drying out – “if roots dry the plant will die”.

When Should You Plant………Most hedge plants can be planted from mid Nov right up to June, if using cold-stored plants.


The extended planting period is due to the fact that some nurseries (including Coillte) put the plants in cold storage in the winter, keeping the plants dormant.

Hand weed hedge as required – mulch with peat, bark etc to conserve moisture and control weeds.

%d bloggers like this: