Paul Blissett Hedgelaying

30 years hedging in Bucks, Beds & Herts
Twelve miles of hedge laid since 2000
The first and largest hedgelaying website

February 2013

Ascott House. 35 yards hawthorn and sycamore hedge, South of England style
A sparse hedge in need of laying with some tall sycamore which were topped first to facilitate laying. 

Hedge before laying.... ...and after laying - first tree              used as live stake
Before view from other end - the evergreen in the              hedge is yew - most unusual to find this as it is              poisonous to stock Same view, work in              progress


10 yards hawthorn, National Hedgelaying Society Patron's Competition, Tetbury, Midland style
A sparse and straggly maiden hedge, double planted, with the loss of a large number of plants making getting a decent finish a real challenge.  The venue was changed a the last minute due to flooding and maybe the other hedge was better.
My section before ...... Same view afterwards
Same view looking the other way

Welwyn Garden City.  17 yards plum hedge laid Midland style
A short length of garden hedge which made a fine laid hedge.  The original reinforced concrete boundary posts were too solid to easily remove and were left in place to further strengthen the laid hedge
Hedge before laying              ... ... and after

  Digswell Lake, Welwyn Garden City.  191 yards hawthorn hedge using live stakes
Mature hedge laid previously in at least three stages - the direction of lay changed twice along its length! 
This hedge used almost exclusively live stakes in conjunction with the existing reinforced concrete fence posts.
There were a large number of ash trees in this hedge and the poorer ones were removed and the remainder tidied as necessary by tree surgeons before hedgelaying commenced.
Work just started ... Just started, looking the other              way down the hedge
Use of living stakes shown here

In the picture to the left two living stakes, i.e. live stems with the tops cut off rather, are clearly visible with another one further back showing above the top of the laid hedge.

Here the hedge is being laid between the concrete posts on the verge side and the live stakes on this side, giving an extremely strong hedge that is not subject to the height restrictions that apply when using stakes and binders.  Where there is enough material to be able to use live stakes this is very effective, extremely strong and also gives a considerable cost saving over staking and binding.

The live stakes will eventually be cut off flush with the top of the hedge and will be quite unobtrusive.

The use of live stakes also works well with tall hazel hedges.
This first section of              hedge is very substantial Tall concrete posts at              front and live stakes at back give a more substantial              hedge than possible with stakes and binders
Live stakes at              back not visible but give a very solid hedge This hedge is five              to six foot tall!l
Start of the second section .... Start of the second              section laid.
Reverse laying, step              one

The stems shown in the picture on the left have been laid poorly- not only have they been laid in the wrong direction, i.e. down rather than up any gradient, but they have also not been cut through far enough - the result is not enough regrowth from the base and too much growth further up the laid stems. 

This hedge changed the direction of lay twice in its previous laying.  The objective was to relay it all in the same direction to make both subsequent trimming and the laying of the hedge next time much simpler.

Reverse laying, step              two  

The image to the left shows how this problem was tackled.

As much material as possible is laid to the left.  In some cases stems are laid a little higher than usual off the previously laid stems.  Sometimes this is done in conjunction with partially severing previously laid stems to make them sit a little lower.
In some cases, it may be necessary to cut out some stems completely to make room for others to be laid.

Here there is a concrete post on the far side of the hedge and a live stake has been left on this side to contain the next stems to be laid, but the laying would be done in exactly the same way if staking and binding conventionally.
Reverse laying,              step three  

The picture on the left shows how laying then continues as normal and also how unobtrusive the end result can be.

A good hedgelayer should aim to make the job of the next person to lay the hedge as straightforward as possible.

Before view from far end of hedge. Hedge complete. Not how much better all              the trees look with the hedge laid.