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How are your hedgerows?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,092 ✭✭✭✭ Base price
    Registered User


    We are happy enough with the majority of ours which are within the farm except for one that borders a neighbour and it could do with a little tlc. The problem is that most of the hedge grows on their side with the ditch/gripe/sheugh on our side. Over the years most of the whitethorn and elder has fallen over to our side (due to prevailing winds) onto the electric fence. We don't worry about it as the farmer is a older batchelor man and doesn't like to cut any of the fairy/ancient trees.

    We don't cut our hedgerows but I do trim behind the electric fence with a old Bamford flail more so to control briars encroaching on the electric fence. I've previously posted pics in the GLAS thread showing some of our internal hedgerows.

    I enjoyed reading the article that you linked and noted that Britain boasts about 700,000 klms of hedgerows which really pales into insignificance when you realise that we in Ireland have 689,000 klms of hedgerows - https://www.teagasc.ie/news--events/daily/environment/mapping-irish-hedgerows.php



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,729 ✭✭✭ funkey_monkey
    Registered User


    Good point there @Bass Reeves. Maybe it's not too late for them to officially form part of each farms contribution. There has to be benefit to it in some way.



  • Registered Users Posts: 826 ✭✭✭ The Nutty M
    Registered User


    I'm in the process of trying to get the hedgerows to thicken up low down. Most have been overgrown for a long time and the trees have shot up and up with little protection at ground level.

    Took out a lot of high trees with the tree shear last month. The plan is to flail the hedges fairly bare and get them growing. Still waiting on the flail head to arrive though.



  • Registered Users Posts: 777 ✭✭✭ minerleague
    Registered User


    Saw does a better job if going bare as that, flail bashes ends too much. Everyone prob thinks the way they maintain their own hedges is the best but a lot are of little benefit to nature



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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,332 ✭✭✭✭ Bass Reeves
    Registered User



    B at jobs with mature hedges is to lay them. Did about 60 meters for last GLAS. A good man on a track machine is the job. Cut out excess wood and throw it to one side to cut up for timber. Then let it grow for2-3 years before hitting it with a flail

    Post edited by Bass Reeves on

    Slava Ukrainii



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,825 ✭✭✭✭ Danzy
    Registered User


    Where there are still old hedges they are fantastic, thick to 20 feet high and full of mature ashes, they have the sides strimmed as high as I can and deep wide base left every few years. The rare few.


    The rest are 4 feet but daily growing.


    A few years makes a difference.



  • Registered Users Posts: 826 ✭✭✭ The Nutty M
    Registered User


    When you say to lay them,do you mean to put in a new hedge or what?

    I'm the man on the digger and I'm neither good nor bad 😂,I'm just me. The shears is a great job for talking them out and cutting them up as you are going along.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,332 ✭✭✭✭ Bass Reeves
    Registered User


    Push them over with a digger. Ideally you should cut them 1/2 to 3/4 through with a chainsaw which is the GLAS instruction. Take out a bit of the heavy wood and branches. The complete trunk of the bush will sprout new growth. The hedge is virtually stock proof from day one but I still fenced the one I did with electric fence. It works very well where cattle have been in and out through a hedge and there is only mature whitethorn bushes ever 6-10 feet. You may have to interplant of there is gaps.

    Slava Ukrainii



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,881 ✭✭✭ Lime Tree Farm
    Registered User


    Another expression I have heard is "stretching the hedge". Smashing them down with a track machine, about 1.5 meters high, allowing individual trees to stand at intervals.

    I prefer full height hedges, sides trimmed in September every second year. Full of berries, much easier to maintain without lateral growth interfering with the el fence.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 826 ✭✭✭ The Nutty M
    Registered User


    Ah right I understand you now. I'm not in GLAS nor any other scheme other than BPS.

    I might try a bit of suitable hedgerow with that method and see how it works.

    I remember watching Countryfile a few years ago and there was a bit in it about planting and weaving some of the hedging. It looked fairly thick after they had finished which is always the aim.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,642 ✭✭✭ farawaygrass
    Registered User


    i planted a hedge for glas and have ear marked where a good bit of hedging will go for the next eco scheme.

    the last hedge I planted I sprayed off the ground, planted them with a spade in December and fenced off. The following winter I cut them back to about 6 inches above ground, and cut 4 inches higher very year after. Dunno am I doing it arseways or not but it’s nice and think at ground level.

    only think I should have done different Is to lay plastic. I spend a good 2 days for the first 3 years pulling grass from between the plants



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,332 ✭✭✭✭ Bass Reeves
    Registered User


    You can get a hood for a knapsack sprayer nozzle. This allows you to spray around the plants. I be slow to put down plastic around plants because you have to get rid of later. I used to spray it twice a year I think. However I had bought good strong quicks (18-24'' plants) and they were very strong at the start of the third year.

    Slava Ukrainii



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,642 ✭✭✭ farawaygrass
    Registered User


    Any fear you’d get some spray on the leaf of a plant though?

    I would have thought if I put plastic down it wouldn’t be coming up again



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,397 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler
    Registered User


    Yea, teh plastic disappears after a while, perishes etc and the grass grows up through it.

    whitethorn thrives on nitrogen so if you're someone that pelts the fertililiser into teh ditches they grow very well.

    I've a hood for a knapsack and I stiill seem to kill plants, maybe it hits the roots or the tender bark absorbs it



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,332 ✭✭✭✭ Bass Reeves
    Registered User


    No not if you have a hood on the sprayer. You will be operating close to the ground and the hood stops the spray from getting onto the leafs or softer growth on the plants. I have sprayed around young hedges and only used my Wellington to shield the plant. Something like below, you can make one up even and tape it onto your knapsack sprayer ance



    It can take plastics 20-500 years to fully decay depending on the plastic. Before that they become micro plastics. Microplastics are a pollutant. Google it below is just one link, by the way I have not read it but I am sure it will give you a flavour of the issues involved.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01143-3

    Slava Ukrainii



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,645 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1
    Registered User


    Either coppice it or lay it properly (with billhook, hatchet and/or saw , not with track machine) and fill in any gaps with new plants after.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,397 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler
    Registered User


    I did a few hedges, cut three plants at about 4 inches and laid the fourth plant across them great job



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,397 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler
    Registered User





  • Registered Users Posts: 2,645 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1
    Registered User


    Yeah, if you're going to do it may as well do it right



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,548 ✭✭✭ endainoz
    Registered User


    Hedge laying is an amazing skill to see done correctly. There are different styles of hedge laying in the UK. Some are laid to the side with hazel rods hammered in acting like posts with willow woven above them, a true art, would love to learn a bit more about it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,397 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler
    Registered User


    I used a little chainsaw, my hedgecutting contractor said he wouldn't like to to be cutting the laid ones every second year rather than every year, Would love to do more but sheepwire both sides so it'd be an awful job, I even had to put chicken wire as well both sides to stop the lambs and the rabbits killing the plants when i sowed them



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,645 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1
    Registered User


    Coppicing and filling in any gaps after is equally valid a method. The cycle of hedge renewal is neglected too much today. Doesn't have to be any way complex



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,397 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler
    Registered User


    Leaving them grow wild is not the answer anyway if you want a fence and shelter



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,645 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1
    Registered User


    You see it too in some areas where the whitethorn gets to the point of having no vigour left and just becomes overrun with ivy.

    But plenty of hedges destroyed by flails also



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,397 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler
    Registered User


    Probably battered by Poorly maintained blades, our's is thriving on being cut with sharp flails...... unfortunately



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,092 ✭✭✭✭ Base price
    Registered User


    What is wrong with that if you don't mind me asking. We don't cut the top of the hedges and let them grow on including ivy growing on trees, whitethorn and briars/dog roses/other stuff etc growing within the hedge. Ivy is an import food source for wild bees and other insects in Autumn/early Winter. We use electric fences both sides of the hedges/ditches to control livestock and we don't keep sheep.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,645 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1
    Registered User


    The ivy will take over and finish it off and lead to dead trees and gaps eventually.

    Ivy is no problem for a vigorous tree but there is a point where a tree would benefit from some form of renewal to reignite it's vigour where it would be good again for many more years.

    That exact point varies depending on the specific tree and it's growing conditions but blackthorn and whitethorn both reach it readily. It might take 30+ years but it will happen one day.

    A long rotation of 15-20 years of either coppicing or laying can keep it's youthful vigour while also allowing the potential for long periods of uninterrupted growth where they can flower/set fruit and maintain a balance with ivy.



  • Registered Users Posts: 32 matt.v


    I think the key there is eventually, it wont happen overnight or the one year it's not cut back. All in all I'd like to encourage ivy as much as I could, good nectar source for bees and good berries for birds.


    Would ye ever attempt hedge laying yereselves? A local man did it here a few years ago and destroyed the hedge altogether, it was copper beech, less than 10% of them survived after him



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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,825 ✭✭✭✭ Danzy
    Registered User


    Some trees are better to lay than others hazel and white thorn were the traditional ones here.



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