How quickly does beech hedging grow?
This is one of the top questions people ask about beech hedging and with good reason. A fast-growing hedge will need more regular maintenance. On the other hand, a hedge that grows very slowly might take too long to reach the height you want (e.g. for screening purposes).
You can expect your beech hedge to grow at an average rate of 30cm to 60cm per year. Don’t worry if your hedge seems sluggish in the first year. This is normal as it will be spending energy establishing its roots. After the first year, you should find that the rate of growth will increase.
The average height for a beech hedge is between 90cm and 2.4m but some people grow theirs to five metres or more. Once your hedge has reached the height you want, we recommend you schedule an annual trim for around August time to keep it looking neat and well-managed.
If you want to encourage a denser shape, you can carry out some extra pruning. Beech hedge plants can handle vigorous pruning but wait until the hedge is dormant and the risk of frost has lessened. Around February is usually a good time. Cut back the leader and longer shoots from each plant by about a third and then apply some fertiliser to both sides of the hedge to help it recover quickly.
What happens to beech leaves after summer?
One of the reasons many people are drawn to beech hedging is that it keeps hold of most of its leaves through the winter. Even when the leaves are brown and dead, they provide a dense layer that affords you privacy.
For varieties of beech with green leaves, you should find that the leaves will turn golden to burnt orange in the autumn. Other varieties display different colour changes throughout the year. The copper beech, for example, has purple leaves which turn copper after summer.
If you are looking to plant a hedge that remains green all year around, consider a yew or laurel hedge instead. We have written an article on how to plant laurel hedging.
What conditions are best for growing beech hedging?
Beech hedges thrive in a soil that drains well but is not too dry. They do not fare well in wet, heavy soils and the roots will rot in these conditions. A hornbeam hedge might be a better option for this type of soil.
Some varieties of beech (e.g. Dawyck purple beech) only grow well in full sunlight while other beeches prefer some shade.
Bare root beech plants will be available for planting in the winter while plants in containers can be bought at any time but are best planted out in the winter or early spring to avoid them drying out.
Space your plants between eighteen inches and two feet apart and keep them watered for up to two seasons. Staking is not necessary but if there are rabbits around, you might want to set up some protection.
Your hedge won’t need feeding but you can add some blood, fish and bone or similar feed from its secoond spring if you want to accelerate growth. It is also a good idea to add fertiliser to both sides of the hedge after heavy pruning.
As experienced landscape specialists, Arborcure can take care of all your beech hedging needs. This includes sourcing, planting and trimming.
Hopefully that’s helped answer “How Quickly Does Beech Hedging Grow”. Visit our dedicated Hedging page for more information and to contact us for a quote.