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Old Video on Hedge Laying

 
pollinator
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This popped up on my facebook feed today. A lovely gentle video of the craft of hedge laying. I even learned a few tricks, and have my eye on a few new tools.

In particular:

The slashing tool that they used first to remove brambles and the like. It makes so much sense to clean up the area properly before you start the detail work of laying. I have a decent billhook, but his axe looks like a useful addition.


 
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So is the idea to force the hedge into thinking it needs to send roots out by first slashing it then laying it down near the ground so it can put out runners?

What types of trees make hedges like this ?

Had to look up billhook ... never saw one before (or a slasher for that matter) ... who knew there were so many !



Looks like they are till being made today in the UK :D
 
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this is great, thanks for posting !
 
Michael Cox
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Burton - There is a huge variety of hedging plants in the UK. Hazel, blackthorn, hawthorn, holly, ash etc...

You describe bending branches down to force them to root - which is definitely used when trying to encourage gaps to fill - but for the most part the bent branches just continue to grow in their new position, sending up vertical shoots. The weaving process, followed by the regrowth, makes for a dense stock proof barrier right down to ground level.
 
Michael Cox
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Here in the UK when we see hedge laying these days it tends to look more like the image above. It looks absolutely beautiful to look at, and is definitely stock proof... but the labour required to construct that level accurate detail is a step up again beyond what is required to build a functional stock proof barrier. Hedge laying has become essentially a status symbol for the wealthy, rather than a practical system of boundary management. Growing labour costs are certainly a part of it, and the number of skilled practitioners has fallen as well. But typically here we see hedges backed up by wire fences. The need to be stock proof is gone, so the desire to maintain the hedges properly is lost. The end result is tall windbreaks, but not a stock proof barrier - and massive gaps at ground level.
 
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