So if I plant a hedgerow this summer, will it be a year, two, more, before I can take up hedgelaying? Hedgelaying season is basically right now which is a little hard to imagine, given that if I already had a hedgerow, I probably wouldn’t be able to see it under the 4+ feet of snow outside. But winter is hedgelaying season because the sap is down and that is the best time to cut the stems and lay the hedge in order to create a stock-poof barrier.
Hedgelaying, also known as plashing or pleaching, is a traditional English method of hedgerow management. The the hedgerow is first trimmed back and then next, each bush is partially cut through at the base. This allows the stem (pleacher) to be bent over while still attached. The pleacher is supported by stakes hammered into the ground. The process is repeated making a dense barrier about 4 feet high which, because each stem is still attached, springs into leaf in early spring.
I am fascinated by the process and want to learn how to do it. These hedges were all laid by Simon Fowler and his team at Peak Traditional Fencing. Simon offers courses in the technique and so does the National Hedge Laying Society. Unfortunately, these are both in England, so I am actively searching for a tutor Stateside — If you know of any, please leave it in the comments.