Green Beech Hedging responds well to pruning and trimming

A Guide to Planting a Beech Hedge

Beech Hedge Plants

Beech hedges are one of the most popular choices for the Irish Gardener. They are moderately fast-growing, semi-evergreen and very hardy. They are also a cost-effective option for garden hedging. They will do well in most soils but don’t like to sit in water-logged areas.

Beech Hedge Plants are available as Green Beech or Copper Beech. Both are brown in Winter, but Green or a Dark Purple Colour in Summer Months.

When to plant Beech Hedge Plants

Bareroot beech hedge plants are planted when they are dormant, during the Bare root season, which runs from November to April in Ireland.

Spacing Beech Hedge Plants

There are often a few factors to consider when planting Beech Hedge plants.

If planting a new hedge we recommend a smaller plant, usually 2-3ft tall at a spacing of 3 per metre in a single row so 13 inches apart.

You could also choose to plant 5 plants per metre in a staggered double row, leaving 9 inches between the rows and 13  inches between the plants in the rows.

A staggered row will give a more dense hedge starting off but a single row will still provide an excellent hedge in time.

Before you Start:

With all planting projects, to make the task a little less daunting and to ensure success, let’s start with the basics.

Measure the area and calculate the number of plants needed as per the above guidelines.

Weeds and grass are competing for nutrients, therefore clear away weeds, and grass. It also makes planting easier.

You could always use a line mark to mark out a straight line where the plants are going. If planting a double row, mark the next line 9 inches out from the first line.

Here’s a little tip, use a long piece or timber or even a bamboo cane, and mark increments of 13 inches, 18 inches or 1 metre apart on the guide with brightly coloured tape or even a marker. This can be used as a guide to ensure even spacing between plants.

How to Plant Beech Hedge Plants

  • If Using a spade, dig a sod out of the ground, turn it over and chop into it, till up the soil well. This soil is going back around the roots and if it is well tilled it makes it easier for the roots to spread out into the soil and grow.
  • Dig the hole slightly wider and deeper than the roots of the plant, about 9 inches, but be guided by the size of the root system. Loosen the soil around the edges and toil up the soil that is in the hole.
  • At this point, you could add some Organic Chicken Manure pellets and work into the soil. These pellets break down over time and release essential nutrients into the soil that can be taken up by the plant.
  • Place the plant in the hole and check the depth. Look for the collar – the mark on the plant above the roots where it originally started to grow above the ground.
  • This should be level with the top of the soil. If your Beech Hedge plant is planted too deep, the stem may rot down and therefore there will be no channel for nutrients to travel from the roots; and if planted too shallow the roots above the ground will die.
  • Hold the plant upright and gently push back the soil, pressing it down onto the roots until firm in the ground.
  • Don’t compact the soil as this will stop water and air circulation, but make sure your laurel hedge plant is secure.
  • Use your homemade measure guide to move on to the next hole and repeat until finished.
  • Hedging plants do not require stakes and ties.

Planting Copper Beech Hedge Plants

  • Copper Beech Hedge plants are a more expensive option.
  • They are planted with the same method as above
  • You could always mix some Copper Beech Hedge plants into a Green Beech Hedge to add depth and colour in the Summer months.
  • There is no hard and fast rule regarding spacing or a pattern. Sometimes a random planting scheme can look more natural.

Planting Bigger Beech Hedge Plants

  • Larger bushy 5-6ft Beech Hedge plants can be planted 18 inches apart of 2 per metre.
  • These large bushy plants provide instant screening.
  • They are often used to fill gaps in existing hedges.
  • The holes for these plants may need to be larger as the root system is very fibrous and large.

A Few Tips for the Aftercare of a New Beech Hedge

  • Be mindful that the first year after planting is always the slowest in terms of growth. The growth rate increases once the plants have bedded in.
  • With the changing seasons and the hotter Summers plants will need watering, especially in the first Summer after planting.
  • All newly planted hedges are thirsty and will benefit from consistent watering in the first Summer after planting.
  • It is important and very beneficial to Keep your newly planted hedge clean of weeds.
  • Weeds are competition for nutrients.
  • A Layer of bark mulch is a great sustainable way of keeping weeds down.
  • The bark mulch provides a barrier against weeds whilst also keeping the moisture in at the root.
  • For the first few months after planting, keep plants well walked in, especially after windy conditions.

​Things to look out for:

  • Beech Hedge plant leaves can be susceptible to woolly aphids which cause the leaves to curl downwards.
  • These are harmless pests and can be treated easily enough.
  • You can wash down the underside of the leaf to wash off the woolly aphid or spray the plants with Rose Clear.
  • Healthy well-fed plants are much less susceptible to pests and disease.
  • We recommend a regular feed with organic chicken manure pellets to keep your beech hedge plants healthy and strong.

A Practical Step-by-Step Guide 

To ensure success for your Beech hedge plants and to learn more about planting techniques you can view our Bare Root Planting Tutorial.

To learn more about Maintaining your Garden Hedges you can view our Garden Hedge Maintenance Blog. or view our video tutorial on Pruning your Green Beech Hedge