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I recently planted 30 purple beech trees (60/90cm size) in the hope of growing a hedge to the front of my house. This will be the second attempt as the winter killed off the treees I planted last year! I also, on advice of the nursery, used a product called RootGrow on the plants before I put them in the ground. He also told me to water them periodically if we went without rain for any length of time. My questions are this: will this spate of terrible weather likely to have killed them off again (they've been in only about 4 weeks)? If not should i be feeding them with any supplement(s)? Any what about trhe watering advice - how often and for how long? with thanks in advance.



Paula, you need to mulch round your sets to protect the area between roots and top growth. You have not said what your soil structure is, if light soil they will need more water than in heavy soil but only in mild weather, Dawnsaunt set 1,500 two years ago round their property with very good results.

12 Dec, 2010


The trouble with beech is that they aren't as good as many other trees at being planted bare root. I always plant beech before C*******s as they seem to do better than later on. Birch are similar. It may be the time they're in the suppliers' hands, but I think it's the trees' peculiarity. (I now lift mine myself anyway, so I know how long they've been out of the ground). Planted now they should be ok, despite the recent cold. They're hardy enough, and the soil hasn't been frozen too deep, I've found. As an aside, - if it's a damp site, then hornbeam are better to use. I hope yours will be alright. The fertiliser is (almost) useless at this time of year. Better the trees are properly planted than dosed with anything. But it'll do them no harm, and will add something to the soil. However, always bear in mind that good cultivation far outweighs in value any amount of feeding, because free root growth is aided by the preparation, and almost all soils have naturally occurring nutrients to a certain level anyway. Worthy

12 Dec, 2010


thankyou DB1, I should have said, I am a pretty useless gardener so would you fill out 'mulch around your sets' for me as I'm not familiar with the terminolgy. ty paula

12 Dec, 2010


As you're in the UK Paula, I'd have thought that your trees will be dormant at the moment, as it's so cold.

Don't feed anything in the garden until the spring, and don't feed the hedge until it's got its root system established - a couple of years at least. And it shouldn't need a whole lot of feeding then.

You will need to water the hedging plants when the weather warms up a bit if we go for more than about a week without rain. Little and often is the wrong approach here. You want the roots to find their way down deep into the soil, so when you water, make sure that you give each tree a really good soaking. I'd go along the row with a hose pipe or a bucket and give each plant a little bit of water to get the soil wetted, then go along the row again and pour on a bit more, then again, and again, and again and again.....
Each tree will need about a bucketful of water in total, but you pour it on about a cupful or two at a time, then it can soak in properly and not run away and be wasted.
30 plants = 15 trips to the tap with a bucket in each hand or the same amount of time spent with the hose, if you're lucky enough to have a hose pipe that will reach.

Mulching helps retain the water in the soil and suppresses weeds. I've used old carpet or underlay, cut into squares about 3 feet wide with a hole in the middle for the tree to pop out of. For a hedge you could use the carpet in strips and cut a "lollipop" slit to fit it round each plant.

I'd be surprised if the winter killed off the last lot of beeches as they're very hardy. I'd have thought it's more likely to have been the droughts we had last year. This is the right time of year (November to March) to plant the hedge provided it's not freezing when you do (did) it, but you will need to keep it watered carefully for a couple of years til the beeches are established.

I use this website -
Scroll down to the "hedging aftercare" section.

12 Dec, 2010


hello everyone. this is not an answer but you talking about beech trees reminds me of well a piece of art i guess . it was a load beech trees in the shape of a large house with windows etc . it was trained over wire and mesh i believe . it was brilliant and must of taken a while to grow . very smart thow .

12 Dec, 2010


I've just sent you a PM Paula which might help you.

12 Dec, 2010


When the ground thaws out from all this frozen weather, carefully, but firmly tread around the bases of the stems to resettle any loose soil that may have been lifted up by the frost. Although plants need oxygen for their roots they don't like large air pockets around the roots as this inhibits the uptake of water.

13 Dec, 2010

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