Evergreen Hedging Plants

A Guide to Evergreen Hedging Plants

Evergreen Garden Hedges

Creating an aesthetically pleasing and functional boundary for your garden is a goal many homeowners share.

Evergreen hedging offers a versatile and attractive solution that not only provides privacy but also adds a touch of natural beauty to your outdoor space.

In this guide, we will delve into three popular varieties of evergreen hedging: Laurel, Portuguese Laurel, and Red Robin.

We will explore their growth rates, suitable soil conditions, and tips on planting, and additionally, we will provide essential insights into the care and maintenance required after planting to ensure healthy and thriving hedging.

Evergreen Hedging Plants retain their leaf and colour all year round.

Laurel Hedging Plants

  1. Growth Rate:
    Laurel is well-regarded as an evergreen hedging option for its fast growth rate, making it an excellent option for those seeking a dense and established hedge relatively quickly. On average, Laurel can grow at a rate of 30-60cm (12-24 inches) per year. This rapid growth helps create a lush and green boundary in a shorter time compared to some other hedging options.
  2. Foliage:
    One of the main attractions of Laurel hedging is its dense foliage. The leaves are large, glossy, and leathery, with a deep green color. The thick foliage provides privacy and acts as a sound barrier, making it an ideal choice for those looking to create a secluded and peaceful outdoor space.
  3. Suitable Soil Conditions:
    Laurel is a versatile hedging plant that can adapt to different soil conditions. It prefers well-drained soil but can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay and loam. It is important to avoid waterlogged or excessively wet soil, as this can lead to root rot.
  4. Sunlight Requirements:
    Laurel is known for its adaptability to different light conditions. It can thrive in both full sun and partial shade.
  5. Wildlife and Berries:
    Laurel hedging plants produce small, fragrant white flowers in spring, which are attractive to pollinators like bees. These flowers are followed by small black berries that are enjoyed by birds.
  6. Pruning:
    Pruning is essential for maintaining the shape and density of your Laurel hedge. It is best to prune in late spring or early summer after the flowering period. Regular trimming will help promote bushier growth and ensure a well-maintained appearance. Laurel can be pruned quite hard, even back to old wood, if necessary, and will generally rejuvenate well.

Portuguese Laurel Hedging Plants

  1. Growth Rate:
    Portuguese Laurel has a slightly slower growth rate compared to some other hedging varieties. On average, it can grow at a rate of 20-40cm (8-16 inches) per year. While it may take a bit longer to establish, Portuguese Laurel still offers steady growth and will eventually form a dense and lush hedge.
  2. Foliage:
    The foliage of Portuguese Laurel is one of its standout features. The leaves are dark green, and glossy, and have a leathery texture, providing an elegant and refined appearance. The attractive foliage complements various garden styles and can add a touch of sophistication to any outdoor space.
  3. Suitable Soil Conditions:
    Portuguese Laurel prefers moist, well-drained soil. It can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay and loam. It is essential to avoid waterlogged conditions, as excessive moisture can negatively impact the health of the hedge.
  4. Sunlight Requirements:
    Portuguese Laurel thrives in partial shade to full sun. It can adapt well to different light conditions, making it suitable for various garden settings.
  5. Pruning and Maintenance:
    Pruning Portuguese Laurel and all evergreen hedging plants is crucial for maintaining its shape and promoting bushier growth. It is best to prune in late spring or early summer after the flowering period. Portuguese Laurel can tolerate hard pruning, allowing you to maintain the desired height and shape of the hedge.
  6. Red Stems and Flowers:
    One of the distinguishing features of Portuguese Laurel is its attractive red stems, which add visual interest to the hedge, especially during winter. In addition, Portuguese Laurel produces small, fragrant white flowers in early summer. These flowers are followed by small black fruits that are enjoyed by birds, adding to the wildlife appeal of the hedge.

Red Robin Hedging Plants

  1. Growth Rate:
    Red Robin has a moderate growth rate, typically averaging around 30cm (12 inches) per year. While it may not grow as quickly as some other hedging varieties, it still offers steady growth and forms a dense and attractive evergreen hedging option over time.
  2. Foliage:
    The foliage of Red Robin is the highlight of this hedging plant. The young leaves emerge as bright red or bronze, creating a striking contrast against the mature dark green leaves. This two-tone effect adds visual interest and makes Red Robin a popular choice for adding vibrant color to garden boundaries.
  3. Suitable Soil Conditions:
    Red Robin thrives in fertile, well-drained soil. It can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay and loam. It is important to ensure that the soil is not waterlogged, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. Adequate drainage is essential for the health and longevity of Red Robin hedging plants.
  4. Sunlight Requirements:
    Red Robin performs best in full sun to partial shade. It can tolerate both light shade and direct sunlight, making it adaptable to various garden settings. However, prolonged exposure to intense sunlight in extremely hot regions may cause leaf scorch. Providing some shade during the hottest parts of the day or choosing a partially shaded location can help protect the foliage.
  5. Pruning and Maintenance:
    Pruning Red Robin is important for maintaining its shape and encouraging bushier growth. It is best to prune in late winter or early spring before new growth emerges. Regular pruning helps maintain the desired height and shape of the hedge and encourages the development of vibrant new leaves. Red Robin can be pruned quite hard if needed, rejuvenating well and promoting fresh growth.
  6. Berries:
    In late summer to early autumn, Red Robin produces small clusters of red berries. These berries are attractive and add an additional element of visual interest to the hedge. They can also attract birds, enhancing the wildlife appeal of your garden.

Table 3. Tree Species for ACRES Scheme – PLANTING TREES IN RIPARIAN BUFFER ZONES

Common Name Scientific Name
Alder Alnus glutinosa
Silver Birch Betula pendula
Downy Birch Betula pubescens
Pedunculate Oak Quercus robus
Goat Willow Salix caprea
Grey Willow Salix cinerea

Planting Evergreen Hedging

Planting Tips:
When planting some evergreen hedging plants, bare root, potted or Root Ball plants are viable options.

Bare root plants are typically available during the dormant season, from November through to April.

They are cost-effective and easier to handle, but require immediate planting.

Laurels can be planted as bare root plants, root balled or in pots, however, Portuguese laurels and Red Robins are available as potted or Root Ball options.

Root Ball plants tend to be larger and provide an instant hedge.

Potted plants can be planted throughout the year, providing flexibility.

When planting any evergreen hedging plants, Ensure the planting hole is deep and wide enough to accommodate the root system. Backfill with soil and walk in plants thoroughly after planting to remove any air pockets and secure the plants into the ground.

Bare Root, Potted and Root Ball Options for Evergreen Hedging Plants

Let’s discuss the differences between bare-root, potted and root-balled plants.

Bare root plants are planted during the bare root season from November through to April.

Potted hedging plants can be planted all year round.

Root-balled plants, tend to be larger plants, often instant hedging that are planted during the bare root season from November to April.

You can learn more about these options on our Resources page.

Care and Maintenance of Evergreen Hedges

Once your evergreen hedging is established, proper care and maintenance are crucial for their health and longevity.

Regular watering, especially during dry periods, is essential in the first year after planting. Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants helps conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and provide nutrients.

Pruning should be carried out to maintain the desired shape and promote bushier growth.

We recommend to trim hedges in late Spring/early Summer as new growth is appearing.

You can learn more about Pruning Evergreen Hedging Plants from our video tutorial. Although the hedge in the video is in fact Beech, the principles are the same.

Conclusion

Evergreen hedging, such as Laurel, Portuguese Laurel, and Red Robin, offers a beautiful and functional addition to any garden. Understanding their growth rates, suitable soil conditions, and planting techniques is vital for successful establishment. Whether you choose bare root or potted plants, ensure proper care and maintenance after planting to ensure healthy, thriving hedges. By following these guidelines, you can create a stunning boundary that enhances your outdoor space for years to come.