February 1, 2011

hedgelaying simon fowler

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 in england by simon fowler

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.

hedgelaying by simon fowler

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.

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  1. merrydithy says:

    I like the stick wall. It is cool.

  2. Kari Lonning says:

    A week ago, my twitter friend @farmerpaula talked about “burning up on a hedge” they were laying.” i asked her about it and she wrote back saying that “I do the ‘wood-monkey’ bit” and directed me to a fun post she wrote, with photos:

    I’d be interested in learning how to do this as well (almost like weaving living baskets). Please let me know if you find somewhere teaching these techniques.

  3. Liz Manugian says:

    Did you ever find anywhere stateside to learn the technique? I would love to do a workshop. I would also love to know what US natives lend themselves to this technique. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks so much.

    • Rochelle says:

      Hi Liz – No – I haven’t seen anything (recently – though years ago I think I saw something in Vermont — trying to recall the name of the place…) I will be on the lookout though… and will post about it if I find something – Sorry I can’t be of greater help.

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