How to Plant Hedges


Planting hedges requires careful positioning of each plant to create a seamless privacy screen. Hedges serve as an essential tool in the landscape to block unwanted views, hide equipment and reduce traffic noise around property edges. Hedges aren't always solid walls of plants to block a view. Gardeners use low-growing hedges as border plants and to designate walkways through a property. You must must consider the mature growth of the plant to have a successful hedge. This promotes thick growth throughout the plant to create a beautiful hedge in the home landscape.

Step 1

Determine the correct location to place the hedge and purchase plants suitable for that site. Consider light availability by watching the sunlight in that area. Tailor your hedge choices to suit the light availability, soil conditions and amount of maintenance needed. All hedges require some maintenance pruning to maintain shape and plant health.

Step 2

Prepare the hedge garden plot by removing all grass from the area using a shovel. Dig at least 10 to 12 inches deep into the soil, remove grass clods, and dispose of the grass in another portion of the yard. Turn over the soil completely to loosen underlying dirt. The effort of turning over the soil produces a better environment for hedge roots to spread into the soil.

Step 3

Pour 2 or 3 inches of peat moss across the top of the hedge plot. Distribute the peat moss throughout the garden by turning over the soil a second time. Mixing organic materials into the garden plot increases nutrients, improves soil quality and drainage to provide the optimum planting environment for new plants.

Step 4

Create a planting plan by spacing the hedge plants in their pots about 1 to 2 feet apart, depending on the planting requirements of the plant. Wide hedges should have two layers of plants. Carefully check the label provided from the nursery to determine mature size of the plant. Adhere closely to their recommendations for spacing. The hedge may seem spacious but it will fill in nicely as the plants mature. Stagger plantings at recommended spacing to create a wider hedge for dense coverage and increased noise reduction.

Step 5

Dig individual holes for each hedge plant deep enough to position the top of the root ball 1 inch below the surrounding soil surface. Throw three to four handfuls of peat moss into the bottom of each planting hole.

Step 6

Position each plant in the hole and fill in halfway around the roots with loose soil. Add water to the hole, allow the water to percolate into the soil and fill up the rest of the hole. Firm the soil around the plant gently by pressing down evenly with your palms.

Step 7

Apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch to protect roots from excessive heat and cold. Water each plant immediately after planting near the base of the main stem to ensure deep water absorption of the soil.

Step 8

Prune deciduous shrubs soon after planting to 8 to 10 inches from the soil surface. This severe pruning promotes vigorous growth during the establishment period of the plant during its first growing season. Prune evergreen shrubs in the second or third year after planting. Place all pruning cuts at a 45-degree angle to a bud (small green growth on a limb), the nearest branch or the main trunk of the hedge.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Peat moss
  • Hedge plants
  • Mulch
  • Pruning clippers
  • Pruning loppers


  • Purdue University: Hedges
  • Iowa State University Extension: Selecting and Planting Hedges
Keywords: hedges, plant hedges, hedge planting, how to plant hedges, planting hedges

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.