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Choosing Native Hedging

There are a number of benefits that come with planting a native hedge, with uses ranging from year-round beauty to boosting biodiversity. It could possibly be one of the best gardening decisions you will ever make.

choosing native hedging

Reasons to plant a native hedge

Year-round beauty No matter the season, a hedge provides stunning visuals, from the intricate complexity of its bare winter twigs or evergreen foliage to its expansive clouds of blossom in spring, vibrant summer foliage, and its gold and jewel tones in autumn.


Privacy and natural screening For a cost-effective and effortless means of establishing a visual barrier, native hedge plants are an ideal solution. Those seeking privacy year-round can opt for evergreens like box and yew, while deciduous species like beech and hornbeam will still provide coverage well into autumn.


Increasing security A traditional mixed hedge is an excellent security measure; its fast-growing components, such as hawthorn and blackthorn, create an impenetrable barrier capable of keeping livestock out, while holly provides a spiky evergreen option.


Attracting wildlife It is estimated that over the course of the 20th century, half of all countryside hedgerows were lost. Despite this, hedgerows are integral to the survival and well-being of our wildlife, as they offer a variety of essential resources. Bats use hedgerows for navigation, while birds, mammals and invertebrates utilise them for shelter, nesting, and food.


Climate change Hedgerows act as a natural carbon sequestration system, trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide for their lifespans (often several decades). Thus, you can positively combat climate change by adding hedges to your garden.

Help reduce pollution Hedgerows can act as natural air purifiers, releasing oxygen and trapping particulates and other contaminants, especially in urban areas where atmospheric pollutants are in elevated concentrations.

Useful for foragers If you are an enthusiast for cooking, native hedgerows can offer an array of interesting wild ingredients. Take advantage of these fruits to make classic sloe gin, flavoured vodkas, jams, jellies and preserves that reflect the hedgerow flavour.


 

Our Top Native Hedging

1. Beech - Beech is an ideal hedging choice for UK gardens, with beautiful wavy margined leaves that start out in a pale green shade and then turn to glossy dark green. In autumn, the colour changes from yellow to orange-brown, adding a touch of vibrancy. Not only does it look fantastic, but it also provides a year-round habitat for wildlife.


2. Blackthorn - Prunus spinosa, more commonly known as blackthorn or sloe, is an attractive spiny shrub or tree native to the UK. In early springtime, you'll be delighted by its bowl-shaped white flowers, followed by its characteristic deep green leaves. Sloes can be harvested in late September or October, providing a distinct and edible treat.


3. Hawthorn - Hawthorn 'Crataegus monogyna' is a widely dispersed deciduous tree. It flowers during May and can grow as tall as 3m as a hedge. The hawthorn can also be easily cultivated as a small single-stem tree. The flowers of Hawthorn make it an attractive addition to any rural countryside hedge.


4. Dogwood - Dogwood 'Cornus sanguinea' is a beautiful deciduous shrub that can be seen dotting the hedges and woodlands of the UK. It has white flowers in the summer, followed by black berries. Its striking red-orange winter stems are truly its defining characteristic. Plant Dogwood to bring an attractive and varied colour all year round.


5. Holly - Ilex aquifolium, also known as English Holly, is an evergreen, slow-growing tree with a remarkable lifespan of up to 300 years. This hardy plant is often found in woodlands and is a popular choice for mixed native hedging. Its dark green and glossy leaves remain throughout the year, and its young plants possess spiky leaves. This attractive species will bring interest and natural beauty to any garden with its seasonal colour changes.


4. Hornbeam - The Common Hornbeam is a deciduous tree part of the Betulaceae family that can grow to heights of 4 metres as a hedge. It prefers a well-lit shade and has a shallow, widespread root system, making it easy to shape with pruning. Its foliage is dense, and its leaves range from yellow to russet brown in autumn.


4. Box - The Box (Buxus sempervirens) is a popular evergreen shrub natively found in the south of the UK, with the best wild population being Box Hill in Surrey. It is mainly used for hedging and topiary due to its dense foliage, making it easy to shape and ornate while providing year-round colour in the garden.


Yew - This highly popular award-winning ornamental tree, the English Yew 'Taxus Baccata', is a beautiful, dense, evergreen conifer that is easy to trim, shape and maintain. Growing between 3-8 metres, it can be used as a single specimen plant or in groups to create hedges up to 2 metres high.


 



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