Jump to content
Marches

Having some trouble laying a hedge

Recommended Posts

So I decided to lay a hedge adjoining my house today.

The hedge is very tall because it's full of sycamore and elder. Quite nice for privacy but it's happy around the bottom and my dogs keep going into the farmer's field next door and have been on the road from there.

So wanting to improve the hedge anyway and being too tight to buy wire netting I decided I'd have a go at laying it.

 

I did some hedge laying about 10 years ago at agricultural college and did some reading.

It's not looking good though. I've done about 3 meters of it and don't know whether to continue or not.

 

Here are the problems -

 

•It's that overgrown on my side (I've been here a year, I wouldn't have let it get like that) that it's nearly two hedges running beside each other. 

Farmer's side is gnarled up hawthorn that's on its last legs from machine cutting. Upon starting to lay the hedge I realised my side is about 80% sycamore in the process of becoming trees. Lots of elder in it too that I've removed.

 

•My plan was to just lay my side and leave the farm side of it but I don't think that's going to work.

 

•Farm side has a rickety old barb wire fence that won't keep cows out if the hedge isn't layed properly and I didn't really want to go offering to put them a new fence in (which I'm good at and know the farmer well enough, but I didn't want the cost).

 

I'm not sure if I can just lay one side and have it turn out good. 

And in just laying sycamore, ideally most of that needs to be out and hawthorn layed and some new plants put in.

 

I'm wondering now whether I'm better just cutting the sycamore down to the actual level of the hedge, cutting off the pleachers I've layed and letting them coppice.

Maybe I could plant some Blackthorn and let it sucker a bit to fill the gaps along with the coppiced stools.

 

If both sides of the hedge were mine I wouldn't worry too much but I think I'm going to wreck the hedge if I carry on trying to lay just one side which is mostly trees.

 

It's dark now so can't get pictures until tomorrow.

I'm sure I could do an ok job of it if I was a bit more confident and was prepared to do both sides and fence it off. I don't think how I've gone about it though is going to work.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Post as many pics as you can tomorrow. What you've done so far and the rest of it. 

 

Personally I'd avoid planting too much blackthorn. It produces a lot of deadwood and the root has a habit of killing off stems that aren't getting enough light and shoving others up somewhere else, usually where you don't want them.

 

A bit of sycamore isn't a bad hedge species mixed in with other things but I wouldn't want a whole hedge of it and big stuff gets very stiff and can be tricky to lay. 

 

Whereabouts are you?

Edited by Gimlet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Gimlet said:

Post as many pics as you can tomorrow. What you've done so far and the rest of it. 

 

Personally I'd avoid planting too much blackthorn. It produces a lot of deadwood and the root has a habit of killing off stems that aren't getting enough light and shoving others up somewhere else, usually where you don't want them.

 

A bit of sycamore isn't a bad hedge species mixed in with other things but I wouldn't want a whole hedge of it and big stuff gets very stiff and can be tricky to lay. 

 

Whereabouts are you?

Thanks for the advice on Blackthorn. I was aware it would sucker and can throw them out quite far into a field, it didn't occur to me that shoots inside a hedge would die but that makes sense.

 

I guess I could cut out most of the sycamore and elder on my side then just plant hawthorn in the gaps or maybe a row of it.

It's not laying it but it might be in better health if anyone ever does.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming at it from a non-hedgelayer standpoint I would have thought Step 1 was to get farmer to the hedge and have a detailed discussion with him.

 

They're not all bad; he may be onside with suggestions for improvement.

Edited by nepia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sycamore lays fine but doesn't leave the densest of hedges. I will take a picture of one a did a few years ago on my morning dog walk so you can see what it looks like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So firstly I am no pro hedge layer just a farmer managing our banks so they remain stock proof. From my experience the regrowth will be much the same if you coppice or lay so if the laid stems add some useful protection I would do that. They all tend to die back to around 6'-8' long so bare that in mind and make sure they are well staked down with crooks as the sycamore loves to bend up to the light. These are not pretty but keep the sheep out. 

IMG_20200223_081701.jpg

IMG_20200223_075603.jpg

IMG_20200223_075536.jpg

Edited by Woodworks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Effectively, laying is coppicing. It the pleachers are cut right and the heel trimmed correctly you create a coppice stool and a hedge at the same time. 

 

Have you infilled with other species there Woodworks? 

You're doing the right thing. Without your maintenance I reckon a lot of that bank in the bottom pic would be gone by now. 

I'd plant loads more hazel in there. For knitting together a crumbly bank it's more useful and better behaved than sycamore. 

 

I had trouble with upward bending sycamore in a scruffy old hedge I did recently at my mother's house. The village gardener had a go at laying it 20 years ago and didn't do it right. He made his cuts with a saw leaving loads of back splits and didn't make heel cuts so there was no new leader growth. The sycamore was laid flat, often downhill and had only survived because it had curled upwards, but there wasn't much new side growth so it was very hard to make a hedge put of it. I'd have notched the bark of the pleachers at regular intervals to encourage more growth. 

If you're able to peg sycamore down tight it would be worth trying to get them to root layer. I often notch hazel to encourage layering where it has to be laid flat to span a gap. But hazel doesn't need much encouragement to self-root. Haven't tried it with sycamore.  

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Gimlet said:

 

Have you infilled with other species there Woodworks? 

You're doing the right thing. Without your maintenance I reckon a lot of that bank in the bottom pic would be gone by now. 

I'd plant loads more hazel in there. For knitting together a crumbly bank it's more useful and better behaved than sycamore. 

 

 

No we just leave it to its own devices. Its only a small farm but we have 3km of banks like this so the cost of adding ideal species to them would be high.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Featured Adverts

About

Arbtalk.co.uk is a hub for the arboriculture industry in the UK.  
If you're just starting out and you need business, equipment, tech or training support you're in the right place.  If you've done it, made it, got a van load of oily t-shirts and have decided to give something back by sharing your knowledge or wisdom,  then you're welcome too.
If you would like to contribute to making this industry more effective and safe then welcome.
Just like a living tree, it'll always be a work in progress.
Please have a look around, sign up, share and contribute the best you have.

See you inside.

The Arbtalk Team

Follow us

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.