Ensure plants are well watered during dry spells , especially in the first 4 months you should consider watering every other day, after that once a week for the next year or two. Top-dress annually with a general-purpose fertiliser and mulch as required. Keep the hedge weed free, remove competing vegetation within 30cm (1ft) each side.
Avoid trimming during hot or dry weather or in the autumn, and never cut into old wood. Trim two or three times a year, in April, June and early August. Look out for bird nests especially early in the year as it is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act to damage and destroy them.
First and second year cut back overlong side shoots in April, trim the sides lightly in June, this will encourage growth. When your hedge is the required height you can start trimming the top. Then in the Spring, annually trim down 15cm (6 inches) below desired height. It best to slightly trim in towards the top of the plants, so the light can reach down and avoid brown or bare spots.
Bark mulches are best used around trees in beds where you won’t be doing a lot of digging. Woody mulches don’t mix well into the soil.
Compost and Composted Manure can be used as long as they are relatively well composted and weed free. You can use them as a coating of mulch or simply side dress plants with them during the growing season, to insulate and give a boost of slow released nutrients.
Newspaper as mulch is becoming more popular. Most black & white newspapers have switched over to organic dyes. Spread a layer of 4 – 8 sheets of newspaper around the plants. Moisten the sheets to keep them in place. Cover the newspaper with a 1-3 inch layer of another organic mulch and the weed protection should last throughout the growing season.
Shredded Leaves are a natural source and have the added bonus of being free.