We started this work back in February it was an attempt to regain control and productivity of some of the old and now completely overgrown hedges towards the back end of our property, below you can see what the hedges look like after we started work but before we actually got round to the hedge itself.
You can see we have cleared our way in to the base of the hedge cutting down the brambles and digging up the suckers from the blackthorn. Suckering blackthorn is a problem which needs yearly attention, but as in all things permaculture the problem is the solution; for another problem. Laying our hedges and establishing new fences is all a part of our overall system and all the new fences are to be planted to hedges, this means we need new hedge plants which would cost us a small fortune, but by digging up the suckering blackthorn we can then plant them in to the new fence lines and they will become the future hedge we want; solving one problem with another problem.
Left you can see both the suckering blackthorn before its starts growing for this year, and then below a replanted sucker six weeks after it was moved to its new home. we have mulched the ground to preserve the moisture for the plant and surpress the plants around it to reduce competition. blow you can see what the hedge looks like after laying has been done.
In the photo above you can see to the left the hedge after its been laid and to the right along the fence line we have staked the brush wood from trimming the hedge, this is to protect the newly replanted suckers from the sheep who will graze the paddock next door. Below you can see the whole of the new paddock and its newly laid hedge, in the centre of the paddock you can see a small oak tree protected from browsing by the sheep with three posts and some old chicken wire. The tree will eventually offer shade and late autumn food by way of kilos of acorns year after year without further inputs.
Below is a picture of the cutting and re-growth of the laid hawthorn you can see that the base is re-growing and also the part cut tree is still growing. This will lead to a denser barrier to contain the stock and a lower hedge offering more forage at stock level, this increases the diversity of the stock diet and offer them the opportunity to self medicate on the more useful hedge plants.
Next you can see a small sapling ash tree planted in the corner of the new paddock, this will offer shade and fodder for sheep and cattle well in to the future.
Next you can see the contrasting difference the laid hedge makes, closer to you can see the light hitting the ground in the paddock next door, but further away the hedge is still yet to be laid and the shade of the trees is still several meter in to the paddock, this was taken around 11am.
So to conclude laying hedges serves several functions in our design improving the barrier containing stock, improving access for the stock to quality forage and plant medication, improving habitat for wildlife and improving the light penetration for neighbouring land.