Hedges provide privacy, lush foliage or attractive flowers in the landscape. Gardeners can choose a variety of hedged based upon the intended purpose for the hedge. Common hedge plants include juniper, yew, lilac, privet and gray dogwood, according to Iowa State University. Planting hedges takes one to two hours, depending on the number of plants you're handling and how difficult it is to work the ground.
Before planting your hedge, consider the needs of your garden space. You may want a shrub that provides attractive flowers or a hedge that works primarily as a privacy screen. Because many deciduous shrubs lose their leaves in fall, they aren't recommended for privacy shrubs. Finally, consider the space needs of the planting site and choose a hedge that won't grow too large for the space, requiring constant trimming.
If you live in an area that experiences winter frost, spring is the best time of year to plant hedges; the plants get established before winter. Those in temperate areas can plant in the spring or fall because winters are milder. Planting in the hot summer stresses out the plant and doing so in the winter is difficult since ground and air temperatures are much colder.
To properly plant your hedge, dig a trench twice as wide and just as deep as the plant's root ball. Remove rocks, sticks or weeds from the hole. Then, pull your hedge plant from its container and loosen the root ball with your hands. Place the hedge in the prepared hole so it sits at the same depth in the soil as it did in the container. Repeat this process with all other hedge plants, spacing them in the trench 1 to 2-1/2 feet apart. Hold the hedge plant vertical with one hand and cover over the roots with soil. Plant all hedge plants in this manner.
Training your deciduous shrub into a bushy shape begins at planting, according to Iowa State University. Clip plants back to a height of 6 to 8 inches above the ground. They will grow back full and thick. Plan to prune hedges once or twice each growing season every year to promote bushy growth and maintain plant size.
Newly planted shrubs need extra care to get established. After planting, water the hedge shrubs until the soil compresses around the base of the plant and the soil becomes saturated with water. Then apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the hedges to help the soil retain water moisture longer. Continue to water the hedge deeply once to twice a week for the first two weeks, then once a week for two more weeks to get the hedge properly established.