Hedging plants for chalky soil
Chalky soils are alkaline, free draining and ‘thin’, making them susceptible to drying out during periods of dry weather in the summer. In this section, we’ve selected the best hedging plants for chalky soils, including berberis, spotted laurel, lavender, lonicera Baggesen’s gold, pyracantha and Portuguese laurel. Chalk can make for difficult growing conditions as the top soil layer may be particularly thin. We would always recommend establishing how deep the soil is above the chalk as part of your planning, well before planting. If the depth of top soil in your garden is particularly shallow (some may have just 10cm or a few inches of soil before hitting solid chalk), additional top soil will need to be added on top of your ground to make planting viable. At the very least, you’ll want to break up the chalk to a depth of 75cm (30 inches) so the roots of your plants can spread out and establish. Build in plenty of well rotted organic matter and consider planting mature specimens, rather than smaller plants, which will establish more quickly. Organic matter will help conserve moisture, which is the biggest challenge when growing a hedge on chalk. It’s particularly important to water plants until they’ve become established if you’re growing on chalk given it is more prone to drying out.