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I have just receive a request to submit a quote for planting a pyracantha firethawn hedge. The customer will supply the plants, I only need to quote for the labour. I have not planted a hedge before and would welcome some advice. The length will be about 20m. In order to quote, I am trying to work out how long it will take me to plant the hedge. Could anyone suggest the length of time it would take to plant each bush? I will simply multiply this by the number of bushes. Further, as each one is planted, what would you suggest I use within the soil to improve growth.

The customer also has a couple of fruit trees. It would appear that they are dying with branches coming loose and falling off. Does anyone have a suggestion what might be causing this and if any action can be taken to save them.


Many Thanks

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  • Only you can work this out. Go dig a couple of test holes on site to see what the ground is like and how hard the digging will be and how long it takes you, not us. 

    Re feed, if the soil is OK grow more or chicken manure will probably suffice. If its shite, you might want to back fill with some mushroom compost or similar  

    • That's sound advice, Glen. Thanks.

  • PRO

    I generally use manure for planting a hedge. As has been said you need to work out how long it will take, I can only guess for you! My only concern is make sure the plants are up to scratch first and are being looked after. I would have to see the fruit trees to comment on them otherwise it is just guesswork. On planting the hedge rather than explain on here I would look at a good RHS book.

  • PRO

    From a business propsective, I’d make sure you have clear T&Cs covering what is being done, responsibilities, aftercare plan etc.

    A client supplying plants would always raise ‘alarm bells’ to me .....

    • PRO

      In a way client supplying the plants lets you off the hook for any issues down the line. 

      You state from the get go that you cover the planting but you in no way cover the long term life of the hedge - you have to make that crystal clear. It can happen a lot these days where 'wholesale' nurseries let general public purcahse from them or dont bother vetting new customers. Either that or they have a 'mate' who can get them on the cheap. Garys right it does set alarm bells off so just cover yourself from the get go ! 

      Regarding planting bonemeal would be good or mycorrhizal fungi added at planting - the later being more expensive.. Do some test holes ! the difference between nice soil and heavy clay or brash stone is absolutely enormous. You may have to add top soil/ organic mulch etc if its brash or grit/sand or mushroom compost if its clay. 

      You have to have a good feeling and a open line of communication with the client on these jobs -- if anything else about them gives you concern 'be carefull' ! Solid terms and conditions 

      • PRO

        What size are the plants ? Are they potted / rootballed / bare root etc etc  Pyracantha is very spikey and sharp -- at medium size these can be a pain to handle - you do need to give extra care when handling very thorny plants 

  • James, there are some great little books around to help you, non more so than the D G Hessayon series, they have been around for many years and are relatively cheap. OK, so books may not be 'the thing' now, but honestly, you can not beat having easy to read reference books handy to give you basic knowledge or top up what you have.

    As regards 'how long', as has been mentioned, dig a test hole and remember the old saying "don't plant a £1 plant in a 50p hole!.

    • Imuch prefer reference books - have ordered a couple - thanks.

    • Yep, I always have the rhs / Christopher bicknell pruning and pests & diseases books in my van for reference  

  • Make sure you highlight in writing that normally you prefer to choose your own plants.  But are happy to use the clients BUT that they must be aware that responsibility for failure of these plants to grow is not yours in this case. 

    Thos plants could well be coming from a discount supermarket ot the like , and while they may very well have been looked after, the opposite could also be true.

    Best of luck...

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