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Laying hazel hedge?  RSS feed

 
Milan Broz
Posts: 87
Location: Croatia
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Around my property hazel hedge started to grow. Old owner cut this hazels to ground as often as he could, but I missed that last year. Now I have a screen of millions of young shoots, 1-2 year old hazels pointing straight to the sky. I want some protection here from wind, wild animals and maybe neighbors.

When to start to lay it, if ever? Can I do something while they are young and easy to bend with bare hands, or should I wait for couple of years and lay them like it is done most often, with an axe or chain saw?

Hedge is thick now, although young, maybe 2-3 ft. So I could theoretically bend to the ground one side of the hedge, forcing from the start every shoot to grow nearly horizontally, while leaving other side of hedge to grow normally. Hopefully "laid" side would eventually become thicker and taller every year, as branches are getting longer and longer while laying one on another. Then I would not need the other side, that can be cut to ground, or on same height as laid one.

Does it makes sense or am I creating more work then I need?
 
Justin Marsh
Posts: 2
Location: South Central, MI - Zone 5
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Typically, from what I understand, you would wait until the hedge is 8' to 12' tall before you lay it. I'm not sure if there is anything you can do while the plants are young to make less work for you. If you were to bend them over now, they might try to stand back up if they weren't secured in a way that would prevent them from doing so, which sounds like it could be more work. If it were me, I'd wait until the hedge was tall. It would be easier to lay and would look fantastic! There are a bunch of YouTube videos and .pdf docs that can help. I'd post them here, but I haven't my computer handy to get the links.

Cheers!
 
Sam White
Posts: 223
Location: Caerphilly, Wales, UK
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forest garden trees woodworking
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We laid our hazel hedge this winter although it had been poorly managed and the stools were overgrown by the time we bought the place.

Essentially you wait until the hazel has reached 8'-12' (or whatever height you want I guess). Because you're laying the pleachers/stems at a slight angle to the ground, the cumulative layers of hazel create the height. I don't think bending would produce the same results as traditional laying - the act of cutting through the stem starts the same regrowth that occurs in coppicing. The regrown stems provide you with the laying material in x number of years time.

You shouldn't need a chainsaw for hedge laying unless the stems have got too old/thick to lay with a billhook or axe. Between now and when you lay the hedge you might consider hedge 'brushing' which is the act of removing branches which may make laying awkward in the future.

I'm mainly quoting from memory here so I might be mistaken or slightly off on some points. If you can get hold of the BTCV manual on hedge laying I recommend it.
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