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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Shrubs in Ireland ... Hedging in Ireland

Add topsoil to border to make it deep enough for hedge?


 
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Ele
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:25 pm    Post subject: Add topsoil to border to make it deep enough for hedge? Reply with quote

Can I add topsoil to my border to make it deep enough to plant a hedge? Is this a bad idea?

I have a very small garden, I dug an 18inch border and realised it's only 6inches to a foot deep at the most in places, can I add a foot of topsoil to the border in order to plant a hedge?

If this isn't a good idea - could I go ahead and plant the hedge in the shallow soil or is this too a bad idea?

I want to plant common laurel and red robin but suggestions for other evergreen hedge plants (that maybe grow in shallow soil) are welcome Smile

I'm a beginner gardener and desperately need a hedge for privacy so any help is appreciated! Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most medium sized hedges would require about 2 foot depth in topsoil. To improve your soil for planting a hedge I would recommend that you dig out the topsoil and store to the side. Next you should continue to dig your trench 2ft wide and 2ft deep and dispose of the subsoil.

Its a big job and you'l need to get rid of the subsoil (or use to build a raised bed or rockery else where in the garden)

Once you have dug out your trench, loosen the bottom and sides with a garden fork.

You'll need to import new topsoil and a good helping of farm yard manure. Its hard to know how much you'll need without knowing the length of the hedge

Laurel and Red robin are larger hedging plants. with a limited root space you'l want to keep the hedge from growing too large. Alternatives include: cotoneaster lacteus, Elaeagnus ebbingii or privet

For a low hedge consider lavender, box hedging (buxus) or escallonia or berberis
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Ele
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for your reply! I really like the plants you suggested - do they have a smaller/shallower root system?

The problem I'm having is that under the foot of soil that I have there is concrete/stone and so I can't dig any deeper. What I was wondering was - can I pile a foot of topsoil on top of the foot of soil I already have, so I can plant a hedge? or would it die? or fall over?

or could I just plant a hedge in a foot of soil?
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kindredspirit
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Escallonia will survive in a foot of soil, no problem.

It might be a nice hedge for you if your place is small.

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Ele
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:52 pm    Post subject: Pretty! Reply with quote

That looks like it will make a very pretty hedge Smile Thank you so much for the help! The lawn is only about 30 x 20 feet - the hedge is needed for privacy but I want it to be pretty and have a bit of colour too so your suggestion is perfect!
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Sive
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to rain on your parade as it were, but keep in mind that escallonia is currently being hit by a fungal disease. It doesn't kill it, but you could lose all the leaves in the winter ( they get black spots on them, go yellow and fall off )
I have a hedge ( usual pink flowers ) that has been affected and yet I also have a single escallonia shrub ( white flower ) elsewhere in my garden that seems fine, so I really can't make sense of it.
Just thought I'd warn you.
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Ele
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh no! Thank you for the warning - sorry about your hedge being affected -back to the drawing board?

Ok new question! What hedge can I plant in a foot of soil that will give privacy? (i.e. tall and evergreen) in a garden 30x20 feet?
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tippben
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have that little soil sitting on concrete, you might be better off making a raised bed there. Any hedge that has to reach 6' will really struggle as the soil won't sustain it; the concrete means that normal soil processes can't occur.
Have you considered a fence of posts and wires, with evergreen climbers? They would fare much better, and give you 6' of low maintenance privacy fairly quickly. The other advantage is that the width won't be too great (18" rather an 3-4') which means that you'll have more garden space.
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:


The problem I'm having is that under the foot of soil that I have there is concrete/stone and so I can't dig any deeper. What I was wondering was - can I pile a foot of topsoil on top of the foot of soil I already have, so I can plant a hedge? or would it die? or fall over?


As mentioned earlier you could go with a raised border or a soil bank.
Just turn over and break up the existing soil, and then bring in topsoil, mixing in peat moss or rotted leaves and well-rotted manure or compost. There is no need to edge borders of of a foot or so in height if the sides are banked, but you can edge with decorative stone or treated boards if you want them to be deeper, more vertical, or pleasing to the eye.
Be aware that an elevated border will require much more watering and watchful eyes as the upper section is well above the existing soil water table, and as such is prone to drying out rapidly.

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Ele
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tippben - your idea of a fence for climbers is genius! it is the perfect solution for all my problems (space, shallow soil, privacy) but I just have my heart set on a lovely hedge!
I'm going to give the hedge a go but if it fails then I will definitely try the fence idea - I feel alot less anxious having that in my back pocket so thank you so much for your reply Smile
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Ele
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James Kilkelly - Thank you for your reply! I'm going to keep pushing my luck and ask some more questions Smile

How exactally do I make a soil bank? Is there a particular method/shape? (I googled and forum searched but can't find exact instructions)

Thank you for the warning me about the soil drying out! I'll keep an eye on it Smile

p.s. I just found your how to plant a hedge instructions THANK YOU! lol Smile
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:


How exactally do I make a soil bank? Is there a particular method/shape? (I googled and forum searched but can't find exact instructions)


Is your hedge to back on to a block wall?

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Ele
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The hedge will be U shaped and so two of the three sides will back onto a two foot wall and the third side has nothing to support it/the soil
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