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An introduction to hedge work

Hedges are used to mark boundaries, retain live stock, provide shelter and food for wildlife and give privacy to gardens. They are also planted as wind breaks, screens, ornamental and sound barriers.

Hedge trimming
A hedge should ideally have sloping sides, so the sunlight reaches the bottom, and the tops should be trimmed as regularly as the sides if the hedge is square. Most coniferous species require trimming 2-3 times a year, this forms a tighter hedge and is less work than letting the hedge grow thick and then trimming A deciduous hedge can be trimmed 1-2 times a year. Careful planning needs to be aware of nesting birds during spring and early summer.

Topiary
Topiary is creating shapes and objects out of hedges and usually carried out on species like Yew and Box.

Pleating
Using species such as Lime, trees are grown side by side and the branches trained to grow from one tree to another, creating a continuous screen.

Topping
This should only ever be carried out on hedges. It requires the removal of the tops, often leaving large wounds (not good if the hedge is allowed to grow into trees). It should not need to be carried out if a hedge is properly maintained.

Planting
The choice of species depends on the desired effect of the hedge. Planting is usually staggered, using 4 trees to every metre to create a denser hedge when planting deciduous trees and 1-2 plants per metre for evergreens.

 
 
 
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