Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New way of "laying" hedges.

The old ways of "laying" hedges, much approved of by the early settlers of the Southern Highlands (and traditionalists in Britain), involved planting Hawthorn hedges, and regularly trimming them and or layering low branches to form a dense thicket, impenetrable to cattle and other farm animals. One of the former owners of Whitley, on Oldbury Road, Sutton Forest, employed an English-trained Hawthorn "Hedge Layer" specifically to help restore the original Hawthorn hedges which, over the years, had been allowed to "grow out" of shape and form.

This is a new and as yet unproven method of laying hedges. It is a "Leylandii Cypress" hedge, blown over in the storms of early July 2011.

This shot shows how tall the hedge was at first, before most of it blew over.
The cattle were in the paddock the day the hedge came down (not when I went back to photograph it) and they were busy trimming the tips of the hedge. Chewing on the lush new growth which normally they could not reach. Saves employing a "Hedge Layer".

Leylandii Hedge partially blown over.

The source of the problem, was of course, the secret of the success of the hedge in the first place. The rich red basalt soil, washed down from the nighbouring basalt hills above Burrawang, make this ground very fertile. The presence of a small but permannet stream (also fed by the springs in the neighbouring basalt ridge above Burrawang) meant that the soil here is constantly moist. The trees grew well for a number of years, but eventually a stronger than normal (a "one in twenty year" storm) tore the roots of most of the Leylandii hedge trees out of the ground.

The hedge came down (not just because of the wind) because of the permanently moist soil.

It remains to be seen whether the hedge will continue to grow. It might well do so, as probably about 30% the roots of the hedge trees are still in contact with the soil, and may well allow the trees to stay alive. They are sufficiently wide as to form a decent hedge, even when bent over flat. And if they do grow, the new growth will probably start to rise vertically anyway.

If it were my paddock, I would leave the trees there, and let them take their chances to regenerate. Besides, it is a reminder of the storm of July 2011.


mick said...

Those winds were certainly strong up your way. Fascinating that someone up your way used to 'lay' a hedge in the old way. I had no idea that was still practiced in Australia.

Flabmeister said...


Which style of hedge-laying did the storm favour? See

The birds of Britain will be cheering for the rekindling of interest in hedgerows suggested by this society.

This comment has generated an appropriate verification word: stable! I hope the horse hasn't bolted while I add these words!


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick and Martin
I couldn't resist drawing the parallel with proper hedge laying and what the wind did.
My facetious comments will no doubt annoy the grandees of Sutton Forest, but that's their problem.
Mick it is only the "specialists" who go in for that kind of detail.
Hawthorns are a weed here, as they were once planted widely and the birds love the seeds. Gang-gang Cockatoos in particular.

mick said...

Hi again, Denis, thanks to your friend for that very interesting link.