What Is Hedgelaying?
Hedge laying is a country skill typically found in England and is used to achieve a number of goals:-
Below are various pictures that hopefully illustrate the theory behind laying a hedge and what it should look like when it's finished;
(Diagram 1 - Hedge laying basics)
The above diagram shows the four basic stages (the varies slightly with style) in laying a hedge, below i've described each stage, what's happening in the diagram and the purpose of doing it:
This (Top left image on diagram) is how the hedge is before you start, the first thing you need to do is sort out the parts you want to lay and the parts that aren't worth it. This is determined by a number of factors:
Once all the above is done you need to make sure the bottom of the hedge is clear - this is so it's clear for when you make your pleach (one in from top left diagram).
Once you've separated the stems it's time to start pleaching. This is shown in the top right of diagram 1 and below in diagram 2.
(Diagram 2 - Hedge pleaching techniques)
The basic idea behind pleaching is chop down the back side of the stem using a bill hook (see tools below) or a chainsaw depending on the size. The next stage is then effectively bending the stem over until it's resting either on the floor or the last stem to be laid Doing this keeps the tree alive, however once it has been layed it will throw up alot of shoots thus making a very thick hedge.
(Typical hedgelaying tools)
Finishing Off: The final finishing off touches are firstly to put bindings along the top of the hedge (see pic below), this is used to help hold the hedge in place and keep it compact, it's also done out of aesthetics, competitions have a large amount of marks given out on how straight and level the bindings are.
(Completed Hedge - Midland Style)