Planting and Caring for Hedges
To begin planting, mark out row with garden line. Dig trench two times deeper and one and a half times the width of a mature hedge. Keep in mind that the hedge will grow out, so be sure to leave enough room for walkways, etc.
Place compost and/or manure in trench.
For thicker hedge, place in two staggered rows. Otherwise, place in straight row.
Water thoroughly after planting.
If deciduous, prune new plants back by one third after planting to encourage growth and the lower branches to fill out. Repeat this again the second year. If evergreen, do not prune when planting…in most cases with evergreens, you will just need to trim lightly for a year or two.
For broad leaf varieties, use secateurs (the short-bladed pruning shears). For smaller leaf varieties, use hedge shears (the long-bladed shears).
By the third year, it will be necessary to start shaping the hedge. Prune slightly more narrow at the top than at the base to allow light to reach bottom of hedge.
Once established, prune twice a year for formal hedges. Generally spring and late summer/fall (after flowering if shrubs are the blooming type). Check with your nursery or consult a plant book for the particular species. Do not disregard your pruning as it is crucial to the quality of the hedge. Use garden or plum line if precision is needed, as in formal hedges.
Keep your plants watered, especially in the first year. Mulch with compost annually or fertilize accordingly.