A guide to bare root hedging

planting a hedge


Bare root hedges are plants with exposed roots rather than roots surrounded by soil. They are a fantastic option for achieving a new, cost-effective hedge and are the most efficient way to grow a hedge. Read our guide: “What is Bare Root Hedging?” today.

Our Bare root hedges come from field-grown plants lifted from the ground when they are dormant, this is between November and April. During this period the plants are resting and so they can be lifted, transported, stored and replanted without damaging their roots. It is therefore during this period that we sell bare root hedging. The ground is naturally damp between November and April so when you replant your bare root hedge it can establish itself successfully without having to be continuously watered.

The root mass of bare root hedges is larger than that of root ball or potted hedging. Having a greater root mass means that more nutrients and minerals can be absorbed, which typically gives you a more vibrant hedge. Bare root hedges are quicker to establish as their roots are in direct contact with the soil. They also require fewer resources, such as fertilisers, water and packaging, and once planted they can be left to grow rather than having to be re-potted each year; furthermore this root type is lightweight, so it is easy to plant.

When planting bare root hedging, it is important to ensure that the soil is well prepared so that there is good drainage and the ability for its roots to find oxygen.  Find out more about how to plant bare root hedging by reading our ‘How to plant bare root hedging’ advice.

At Hopes Grove Nurseries, we offer a variety of bare root hedging plants. Some produce colourful flowers and will add vibrancy to your garden, while others are more formal and low-key. All are grown on our 70-acre, family-run nursery and are individually cared for so that you get the best possible quality plant. We offer the following species of bare root hedges:  


Green Privet

Green privet is a semi-evergreen plant with oval-shaped, medium-sized pale green leaves when young, that get darker as they mature. Fragrant clusters of creamy white flowers, attractive to insects, are produced during the summer. In the winter black berries are produced which are popular with birds. Green privet grows in full shade to full sun in most soil types. It is fast growing and creates a dense, neat form ideal for screening, windproofing and noise reduction. An excellent choice for a formal boundary hedge, green privet is easy to grow and maintain, which also makes it perfect for topiary. Furthermore it is pollution tolerant, making it a great choice for built-up, urban areas.

green bush with red berries

Golden Privet

Golden privet is a semi-evergreen plant and the most colourful type of privet, with its oval-shaped, golden-yellow leaves and central green marking. Like the green privet, it produces creamy white flowers in the summer and black berries in the winter. It also grows in most soil types in full sun to full shade but achieves its best colour when planted in full sun. Golden privet is an excellent, more colourful alternative to the standard green privet, providing a bright yellow contrast to the many greens of the garden. Like the green privet, it is fast-growing and ideal for screening, wind proofing and noise reduction.

English Yew

English yew, also known as common yew or European yew, is an evergreen plant with small, linear, dark green leaves, with new growth being lighter. It produces red fruits that are popular with birds and its bark is reddish-brown and flaky. It is a slow-growing conifer, tolerant of full sun and full shade and easy to grow in most soil conditions. Yew is one of the most popular choices for a formal hedge. It is suitable for all sizes of hedges from low, decorative hedges to screens of several metres and can be trimmed to any shape, making it well suited to topiary.

Purple Beech

Purple beech, also known as copper beech, is a semi-evergreen plant with glossy foliage in shades of purple and darkest green. When grown in full sun its leaves are vibrant purple, while in the shade they are a more muddy-purple dark green. Its purple leaves darken in late summer and then turn copper in the autumn. Purple beech is an excellent choice as a formal hedge in an exposed position due to its tolerance, it also forms a nice dense screen that attracts wildlife.

Green Beech

Green beech is a semi-evergreen plant. It produces medium-sized bright, fluttery, green leaves in spring which turn copper in the autumn. It is low-maintenance but not suitable for very cold areas. It prefers well-drained, chalky soils and is adverse to waterlogged and heavy clay soils. Like purple beech it makes an ideal formal hedge for exposed areas and is the perfect hedging plant for providing effective screening to the garden all year round. 

From time to time you’ll need to maintain your Beech Hedge so that it retains the shape you want. Find out When To Trim Your Beech Hedge with our helpful guide

Common Box

Common box is an evergreen plant with small, glossy dark green fragrant leaves. Small yellowish flowers appear in the spring which attract bees. It grows best in well-drained soil in partial shade, is very hardy and can survive the harshest of winters. Common box is slow growing and low maintenance, its density makes it ideal for screening, is well suited for a low hedge and widely used as an edging plant around flower beds and pathways.  

box hedging cone tree

Common Laurel

Common laurel, also known as cherry laurel, is an evergreen plant with large, glossy bright green leaves. In summer it produces tall, white, flowers that attract bees and butterflies, and in autumn it produces large, shiny black berries that are popular with birds. Common laurel is hardy and grows in full sun or full shade in any soil that is not waterlogged. It is both easy to grow and fast-growing, and it acts as a great screen and windbreaker. Read our guides on How To Make Your Laurel Grow Faster and Common Pests Diseases and Problems with Laurel Hedge Plants for more information on getting the best out of your Laurel Hedging Plants

Getting the look you want

Hedges don’t necessarily have to be planted in straight lines, they can twist and bend to your liking. What is important is getting the height right in relation to the space that it contains. Taller hedges tend to make a garden look bigger, and the larger a hedge the more birdlife you will have in your garden. Nevertheless, some of our bare root hedges are more suited to low hedging, such as common box. In the garden hedges can create their own micro-climates when they act as windbreakers, they also provide beautiful backdrops to flowering plants and protection to flower beds.

If you are planting a large hedge or need very tall plants, bare root works out cheaper than the equivalent in other root types, and also cost less to transport as they do not carry a large weight of soil with them. In addition, they are environmentally friendlier as they are shipped without plastic containers.   


compact hedge

Whether you decide to buy one bare root hedge species or several types, you can be assured that you are getting high-quality plants that have been taken care of meticulously by our knowledgeable team. At Hopes Grove Nurseries we have over 200 years of combined experience so you are secure in knowing that we offer the best possible advice for growing and taking care of your plants.

We stock a variety of bare root hedges, and if you have any questions about these or any other plant type then please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team.

About the Author

Morris Hankinson is the founder and MD of Hopes Grove Nurseries, the largest grower-retailer of hedging plants in the country. He started the business in July 1992, the day after completing his last exam of a BSc. Horticulture course at Writtle College in Essex. Morris has had a fascination and love of growing things since childhood when he was a keen exhibitor at his local Horticultural Society. Over the years the nursery has developed from a one person operation to an employer of 25 staff and so his interest is put to very good use, keeping an experienced eye on all operations across the 125 acres of nursery production.

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