The prep work…
Figure out where you want your hedge to be, keeping in mind a healthy hedge with proper maintenance is going to take up approximately 2-4 feet (Width wise). So make sure to plant the hedge at the very least two feet from any buildings, obstacles or property lines.
Also keep in mind that cedars need lots of sun light to grow nice and thick. If the cedar passes under any large trees it is a good idea to give the trees a good pruning to allow more light to make its way to the new cedars.
Set up a string line from where the hedge will begin to where the hedge will end. If the hedge must curve at all take a garden house and lay it out in the desired curve.
Dig a trench along the marked line approximately 1.5 feet wide and 1 foot deep. Sprinkle a bit of Cedar Hedge fertilizer and then fill the trench about 3 inches with a good quality triple mix (containing lots of peat moss and compost). To figure out how much triple mix you need use this calculator: www.customtopsoil.com/calculator.html.
Now you are ready for the Cedars. It is important to plant the right kind of Cedars, in Central Canada the native White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) is the go to choice for growing a hedge. Local nurseries and tree farms usually carry these cedars in bulk for around $2 for each vertical foot of height. So if you wanted Cedars say 5 feet tall they would be $10 each. Depending on how bushy and full the cedars are they should be planted 1-1.5 feet apart (rootball to rootball).
Now that you have your cedars in the trench and evenly spaced 1-1.5 feet apart, it is time to back fill the trench. We recommend using the soil that you removed to dig the trench along with 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost to add cruel nutrients to the soil. And we’re done!
For the 2-4 weeks it is very important to water the new hedge daily. The easiest way to do this is to use a soaker hose and let it run for 2 hours in the evening. Do not water the hedge in the middle of the day as the sun will absorb a lot of the water applied.
About 1 year after planting the hedge it should be given a light trim to get the shape started. If you want the hedge to grow taller simply cut a few inches off the top to promote new growth. We recommend hiring a professional hedge trimming company to take care of this for you as they will know exactly how much should be trimmed off.
Ideally the hedge should then be trimmed to the same spot on a yearly basis around the same time of year.
Hope this helped!
Tom Atkin – Owner and Hedge Artist at Hedge King Ottawa