One of the very best hedge plants provided you can supply its demanding requirements. It requires good fertile well limed soil and it prefers shelter from strong winds. It is sensitive to sea salt and intolerant of dug out sites and ‘ made up ‘ ground. Magnificent in May, its wine red leaves darken to purple-black in summer and colour to glorious oranges and russets in autumn. The russet coloured winter leaves are held on the plant until the new leaves unfold in late April. Space at 0.5 metre centres but sometimes planted for instant effect as a staggered double row with .75 metres between the plants and 0.4 metres between the rows. In exposed situations it grows very well if protected from harsh winds by shelter netting. Aphids will eat some leaves but generally the spiders and beneficial insects will win the battle and it is best not to spray. Mulch with lawn clippings or any other organic material to supress weeds and avoid strimming or mowing where the plant stems may be damaged.