pro landscaper magazine
pro landscaper magazine

Plant now to save – Mid-season King and Co planting advice

by | 17 Jan 24 | Commercial Landscaping, Landscape Architecture, Partner Content

There are only a few months left of the planting season to take advantage of cheaper bare root and rootballed planting stock. King and Co the Tree Nursery based in Rayne, are encouraging trade customers use transplanted stock before the end of February. This ensures high establishment rates, costing less than container grown stock which has required more cultivation.


Bare Root Hedging

Bare root hedging provides the best value, being favoured for long hedge lengths for their ease of transport and planting. King and Co’s selection of native hedge plants such as Hawthorn, Field Maple, Dogwood, Hazel and Spindleberry not only fit into every rural landscape, but also provide for the local wildlife and environment.

A hedgerow with a high percentage of Hawthorn creates an excellent, dense, defensive hedge, which can be fortified with Dog Rose and Buckthorn. This is ideal for clients in need of a spiky boundary for a security hedge.

Hedging whips, as they are also known, are however susceptible to rabbit and deer predation. It is important to understand the predators threatening the plants on a specific site before arranging a schedule for plant protection.

The Nursery stocks both plastic and biodegradable protective products from spiral rabbit and deer guards to fully biodegradable tree and shrub shelters.

You can boost establishment rates by using mycorrhizal fungi additives such as Rootgrow which has been endorsed by the RHS. 

Bare root plants are able to adapt faster to local conditions. As they are planted in dormancy, they also require less irrigation when compared to container grown plants.

The range of plants available is also significantly wider, with the plants themselves less sensitive to wetter and drier extremes.


Rootball Trees and Hedging

Rootballed trees and hedging can still also be planted until the end of February. You can buy field grown trees and hedging from King and Co, which work out cheaper than container grown equivalents. High quality rootballed plants create an immediate screen when planting new hedges or replacing old ones.

The Nursery mainly supplies rootballed Beech, Hornbeam, Holly, Thuja, Yew and Laurel to its trade customers, anywhere from 60-80cm up to 4m+ in height. Thuja has proven very popular this winter, often planted to replace an existing hedge. 

Rootballed plants are a more robust option when compared to bare rooted. The conditions of each site should be the cornerstone of deciding between types of plants. It can be very costly to use plants where success is unlikely, though using well-suited varieties can really make a scheme thrive.

Taxus notoriously struggles in wetter soils whereas Laurel would be more appropriate. Customers based on clay soils preferring Fagus sylvatica would in fact achieve a better hedge with Carpinus betulus.

King and Co’s trade enquiries and more frequently involving buxus hedge alternatives. Box caterpillar has wreaked havoc with Essex hedges in particular, clients are now opting full hedge replacements to maintain kerb appeal.

The Nursery has trialled and recommends Euonymus ‘Jean Hugues’ for low hedges. ‘Jean Hugues’ holds similar smaller oval-shaped glossy green leaves like Box, but importantly grows in the same habit and cuts the same.

For taller hedges, Ilex crenata ‘Caroline Upright’ is a robust option. ‘Caroline Upright’ is most popular for hedges 1-1.5m tall, with dense and narrow growth. These are both unaffected by box blight and box caterpillar. 


What trees are popular at the moment?

Wetter weather naturally breeds interest in Laurel hedging plants and screening trees. Laurels provide instant protection and privacy from noise pollution, unsightly views and neighbours! The need for bushy evergreen plants and trees has strongly increased in recent years as more new developments spring up around the UK.

The hardy nature of laurel makes it relatively easy to look after. This is becoming increasingly important as many are planted in sites where soil quality is poor.

Fast growing ilex castaneifolia is emerging as a favourite amongst landscapers, with large Sweet chestnut like leaves. This Holly is similar in habit to ‘Nellie Stevens’, with small white flowers emerging in late Spring which are followed by red berries in Autumn.

King and Co stock this chestnut-leaf Holly in standard and pleached form due to its excellent dense foliage. Leylandii still champions the taller hedging plant category due to its mature height and favourable price tag. The Nursery equally receives enquiries for more crowd pleasing screening alternatives following a Leylandii hedge extraction.

The Nursery is helping deliver planting schemes following the Christmas break, where Birch, Maple and Cherry trees feature consistently. Plant Healthy certification helps improve the quality of planting stock, and is now a requirement for many authority tenders.

King and Co are providing authorities with UK provenance bare root hedging plants and biodegradable protection to help meet tree planting targets across the country. 


What about architectural and specimen trees and plants?

Topiary shaped trees remain a classic choice when adding height to a planting area, or more simply as a pair either side of an entrance. Topiary favourites include spirals, pom poms and smaller 1/2 and 1/4 standard trees. 

Leylandii ‘Castewellan Gold’ and Ligustrum delavaynum are the most popular plants used for these shapes. Photinia ‘Red Robin’ and Ilex ‘Nellie Stevens’ are becoming increasingly fashionable in half standard form in particular. 

Multi-stem trees provide natural interest, even when not in leaf. As a result of cultivation, multi-stem trees add an architectural aspect in addition to an orb of foliage to a scheme. Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’ is the leading multi-stem tree on the market right now.

Himalayan Birch develops a dappled shade once in leaf, but also striking white stems to add Winter interest. Another favoured multi-stem tree is Amelanchier lamarckii with star-like flowers complemented by foliage starting bronze, maturing to green and eventually red during abscission.


How to order trees and plants from King and Co


Let King and Co know your requirements with copies of plans, photos of areas, an email, phone call or simply order online. The Nursery specialises in fast delivery, just let us know when you need our stock and we can arranged for it to be delivered on any given day, sometimes even same-day!

Ask for photos of stock or better still come into the store and pick your own.

King and Co can offer planting services to sites locally to the Nursery, which means we can advise specialist planting and staking advice for your project. Most importantly, our 40+ years of experience allows us to advise the best plants and trees to suit each purpose.

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