How to Plant a Hedge

Hedges can provide background to an area, fence in an area, protect property from trespassers, or serve as a divider, screen, or windbreak. There are many flowering and non-flowering shrubs that are suitable for hedging. Cotoneaster is Calgary’s most popular hedging plant because it is affordable, hardy and dense, takes on a pleasing colour in the fall, establishes quickly, and it is easily maintained with pruning shears. Hedges should be allowed to grow for 2-3 seasons and become established before they are pruned.

Materials Required:

  • Compost/manure
  • Transplant fertilizer (10-52-10 formula)
  • Mulch
  • Shrubs
  • Shovel
  • Measuring tape


  1. Measure the area and plan the spacing of each shrub plant so that it is in accordance with plant growth requirements. 
    (For example, Cotoneasters should be spaced 12-15 inches apart, depending on how full you want the hedge to be, so a 20 foot section of Cotoneasters will contain 16-20 plants.
  2. Dig a trench that will accommodate the root ball of each plant (approximately 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep). 
  3. Mix a 2-3 inch layer of compost or manure into the trench.
  4. Insert plants into the trench and fill with backfill, lightly firming the soil. 
  5. When the trench is half full, thoroughly water plants with transplant fertilizer to remove air pockets in the soil. Water again once the trench is completely filled.
  6. Spread mulch around the base of the plants and water the plants well to keep the soil moist during the establishment period.