Hedging plants for alkaline soil

Alkaline soils, also known as “sweet” soil, are those with a pH of greater than 7. A soil with a pH of 7 is neutral. Anything below 7 is acidic or “sour” and anything above 7 is alkaline or “sweet”. Alkaline soils tend to be those with some chalk content which increases the pH and makes them naturally free draining. They tend to have more moderate to low fertility compared to neutral soils and the depth of soil over chalk can vary considerably. Soil pH directly affects the solubility of soil minerals and therefore how much nutrients is available to the plants themselves. The best hedging plants for alkaline soils are berberis, box plants, cotoneaster and cherry laurel. Berberis plants are dense, upright shrubs with sturdy branches, spiny margined leaves and thorny stems. Boasting a range of ornamental features including beautiful flowers, glossy berries and seasonal foliage colour, they're the perfect low maintenance shrub for beginner gardeners and make a great impenetrable, intruder-proof hedge - just be sure to use a good pair of protective gloves when handling them!

Box is a dense evergreen shrub with small, oval, dark green foliage that’s slow growing yet very long lived. It’s well suited to being kept tightly clipped as formal hedging and also works well to form topiary shapes, perhaps interspersing the hedge line along the perimeter of your property. Cotoneaster plants comprise a group of both evergreen and deciduous shrubs in a variety of shapes and sizes with the more upright forms being most suitable for hedging purposes. They make a valuable shrub for any garden, bearing an abundance of showy berries and rich autumnal foliage colours. Cotoneaster are cold hardy, unfussy about soil type and produce pink buds opening into masses of white flowers in May and June. Cherry laurel is a reliable staple in the hedging department, suitable for a variety of different sites and situations with large, glossy green leaves. Cherry laurel produce spikes of white flowers in spring, followed by black autumn berries and are one of the most popular Prunus varieties available.

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