Beech Hedging Care & Maintenance

There is nothing better than a beech hedge to provide a stately formal hedge in your garden. The crisp leaves and thick growth provide a neat and well-formed hedge quickly and is well suited to the Irish climate. Both green and copper bare root beech is a great choice for your garden

One thing for sure is that Beech Hedging is a hardy plant and is happy in most conditions. The only soil beech doesn’t like is drought or very wet soil. A good replacement in those circumstances Carpinus would be a better choice. The rest of the time, beech hedging is the way to go.

In terms of maintenance Beech is possibly the easiest hedge to maintain. The only real important job to get right is planting. When planting beech and especially bare root beech there are a few things to keep in mind:

Choose good quality stock. Bare root hedging can come in various ways but the only way they should be bought and sold is fresh out of the ground and wrapped in black polythene sacks

Size doesn’t matter. Even 2ft tall beech hedging plants will quickly establish and mature to form a strong hedge.

Preparation and handling is key. Dig a decent trench sized trench and add a 4 inch layer of well rotted farmyard manure to the base. Keep bare root plants in their bag until time of planting. Soak plants well before planting and ensure theyre roots are well spread out in the trench before back filling. The issue of straight and level can be dealth with once 90% of the soil is back filled.

In terms of after care the process is very simple and you will certainly spend more time admiring your lovely Beech hedge than you will tending to it. Even leaf fall from Beech hedging is minimal and insignificant compared to laurels or birch. Also because Beech is semi evergreen, it retains its foliage longer for the winter losing it slowly as spring approaches

Remember to keep a young Beech hedge well watered in its formative years. The first 2 years are crucial for a good hedge to develop so in weeks of little rainfall you really must water it. This watering can be made easy if you take the time to set up a drip irrigation pipe when planting. Other ways to ensure your Beech is kept moist is to add a good helping of manure when planting and then to cover over the soil surface with mulch such as bark chippings

While bark chippings will keep the soil moist it will also keep the weeds at bay. Weeds are  a big problem for any hedge but one advantage of beech is that it goes dormant around November and this is a safe time of year to spray the week growth under the hedge. But be very careful when doing this. First make sure that there is no active green growth on the plant, also only spray the weeds and avoid contact with the plant as best possible. If using a weedkiller choose a contact weed killer instead of a residual weed killer

Lastly feed in spring with a nitrogen and phosphorus based feed and cut in August with a sharp garden shears or hedge trimmer

Important Care When Using Any Glyphosate Weedkiller:

EU Legislation under SUD (Sustainable Use Directive) requires those using Glyphosate Weedkiller to complete a training course & gain a certificate in safe use

It is important to always read the label & carefully follow the dilution rates found on the bottle

Avoid apply glyphosate early in the mornings as this is when bees are most active

Where possible we suggest using organic weed control methods:

  • Hand weeding
  • Weed burning
  • Acetic acid based weed killers
  • Use of weed matting & mulches