The Council Gardener - hedges and spring bulbs

In this vlog, The Council Gardener Danny Shand is helping you with your hedges and speaking about spring bulbs!

Below are the actions for successfully growing hedges including the best tools to use and different types of plants used for hedges, and a helpful hint for planting bulbs.

Remember, gardening is all about growing, so let's grow together!


Tool selection:

Tool selection is very important but only really differs when coming to the size of hedge you are dealing with.

Small hedge - more suitable to use hand shears and secateurs, especially if want a more detailed design.

Larger hedges - more than likely to use electric or petrol hedgecutters. If using electric remember to check the weather as will not be suitable on a damp day. When using petrol hedgecutters remember to use personal protective equipment such as gloves, ear defenders and Goggles or safety specs.

All tools must be sharpened and clean before each use. If tools are blunt you will snap or split stems making them more prone to disease or staining.

Cutting techniques:

When cutting a hedge always start on the sides. You want your hedge to be wider at the bottom than at the top this is to allow equal light in for it to grow. Also in Scotland with snowfall, this stops the snow splitting the hedge due to the snow collecting on top.

When cutting a top you may want to use sticks and tie string to get a good level.

If training a newly planted hedge and you want your hedge to be a certain height such as 5ft, cut the growth to around 4.8ft as you will train the young growth to 5ft.

Types of hedges:

Privet - most common of all hedges grown. This is for a good reason privet is really forgiving meaning you can trim it back very hard to give desired shape and it will still grow.

Conifer - if left unattended will grow out of control very fast. Also does not take well to a heavy trim. Best thing is to slowly reduce year after year until you get shape or size wanted. If you prune back hard and brown or grey patches emerge the hedge will not recover.

Beech - more forgiving than conifer but not as much as privet. Try to just trim yearly growth if you go past this you risk dieback and blight.


Planting bulbs for spring colour can be done from September to December depending on ground conditions.

Remember to always try and plant your bulbs at least twice the depth deeper than the size of the bulb itself.