Success with a new hedge depends on preparing the soil thoroughly before your plants arrive, and pampering them after planting and in the early years. Choose young plants rather than large specimens, since they will
grow faster and soon overtake mature plants, giving you a much better
hedge for a fraction of the cost.
Nurseries specializing in hedging offer a wide choice of plants, and
many do mail order. A good supplier will tell you how plants are packed
for shipment, and offer planting and pruning advice. Find suppliers on
the Internet or through ads in gardening magazines.
Plants supplied by specialists are offered in three forms: bare-rooted
transplants, root-balled, or in containers. Bare-rooted transplants are
much cheaper than container-grown specimens; mixed native hedging is
usually the most cost-effective option. Bare-root transplants are
available from fall to spring, but you can order them at any time of the
year and request a delivery date. Remember to ask for delivery in
spring if you are buying evergreens or conifers and live in a cold,
windy area, since this is the best planting time. Evergreens are also
available root-balled, where the plant is lifted from the field with its
roots and some soil, and then wrapped to reduce root disturbance.
Always buy more plants than you need in case some of your hedging dies.
Plant the surplus in a quiet area of the garden or in containers that
are sufficiently large to allow the roots to grow. Keep these plants
well watered until your hedge is established and you are sure none need
to be replaced.
Bare-rooted and root-balled hedging plants can be bought from fall to
spring, but will not usually be lifted from the field in very severe
weather, so let availability be your guide. If plants are on mail order,
make sure you will be around to receive the delivery, and check your
order when it arrives. In cold areas, conifer and evergreen hedges in
particular will fare better if planted in spring, rather than winter.
Pot-grown plants can be bought and planted all year, but it makes sense
to plant in mild, moist fall or spring conditions. If you can’t plant as
soon as you receive your hedging, keep plants moist in their packing,
and store in a cool place.