Many homeowners and landscape designers plant privacy hedges in place of fences. These living walls of green provide both beauty and privacy when used as dividers along property lines. Hedges comprise numerous, individual shrubs. Planted close together, these shrubs block the view from the other side. Many gardening centers reduce the price of shrubs during the fall, making this season an economical time for planting hedges.
Mark the planting line for your desired hedge with spray chalk. Most hardware stores carry this type of chalk in aerosol cans. Apply the spray chalk on a dry, calm day. Measure the distance of your planned hedge with a tape measure. Use this measurement to determine the number of individual shrubs required for your hedge.
Select healthy, deciduous shrubs in the fall. Select shrubs and bushes before winter dormancy. Look for healthy specimens with uniform growth and healthy root systems. Avoid purchasing shrubs that display signs of disease or pests, such as spotted leaves and moldy stems. Steer clear of shrubs with roots extending from the top of the root ball. When planting privacy hedges in the fall, choose only container grown shrubs or ones with large root balls bagged in burlap.
Dig a trench along your chalk line to place your shrubs. Make trench wide enough to allow adequate room for hedge's root systems. For thick hedges, make two trenches to provide a deep, double row of shrubs. Make the trenches deep enough to align the surface of the root balls with the surrounding soil. Place all the shrubs into the trenches before backfilling. Measure the distance between each shrub to ensure even placement throughout your privacy hedge. Fill in the area around the roots of your shrubs with enough soil to level the area of planting. Avoid over-filling the trench with soil.
Firm the soil around the roots with a thorough soaking of water. Avoid tamping the soil with your foot when planting shrubs in the fall. Allow the weight of the water to press the soil around the new roots.
Prune your privacy hedge after planting in the fall to remove sections of dead growth or broken branches before winter arrives. Add a layer of mulch over the roots to retain moisture during the winter. Water your fall planted shrubs during very dry periods throughout the first winter.