Here's how to plant a hedge. It's most economical to start with young plants about two feet tall; these are often called whips.
1. Dig a trench as long as the hedge will be, about twice the width of the containers (or root wrapping) in which your hedging plants came, and about as deep as the containers. If you want a wide hedge (more than three feet), make the width double the above recommendation.
2. Place the plants in the trench at about half their recommended spacing. This will help create a full look more quickly. For a wide hedge, stagger the plants so that there's a back row and a front row. (Altogether, they'll create a zig-zag line.) Backfill the trench so that they sit at or just slightly above the level they sat in their containers.
3. If the plants are deciduous, cut them back to six to eight inches tall immediately after planting. This will create fuller growth. Evergreens do not need to be cut back, though you can lightly shape them if desired.
4. Water well, and top off with three inches of mulch. Keep the plants watered throughout their first growing season.
5. For every new foot of growth that the stems put on, cut them back six inches. This will make the hedge well branched from the ground up.
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