Hedge laying is a country skill, typically found in the UK and Ireland, which, through the creation and maintenance of hedges, achieves the:
- Formation of livestock-proof barriers;
- Rejuvenation of existing hedgerows, by encouraging them to put on new growth and helping to improve their overall structure and strength;
- Affording greater weather protection to crops and wildlife;
- Provision of aesthetically pleasing screens to fields and gardens
Before work begins on the hedge:
The aim is to reduce the thickness of the upright stems of the hedgerow trees by cutting away the wood on one side of the stem and in line with the course of the hedge. Each remaining stem is then laid down towards the horizontal, along the length of the hedge, known as Pleaching.
Stakes are placed along the line of the hedge, to give the finished hedge strength.
Stakes added to hedge
Woven whips known as “binders” hold the stakes and tops of the pleachers down securely. New regrowth is best trimmed by hand for the first season.
Within a couple of months of being layed a hazel hedge that has been layed could look like this.
After hedge laying