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Second Pruning of a new hedge

Second Pruning of a new hedge

Catherine Keena, Teagasc takes us through the steps of how to successfully complete the Second pruning of a new hedge.This ensures dense growth from the base of the hedge, resulting in the best stockproof hedge. With a new hedge, it is not a race to the top, but rather letting it inch its way up

( Photo above Left: New hedge sapling cut at planting showing how shoots sprouted from beneath the cut and grew up during the first growing season

Right: Second pruning of the hedge showing the cutting of the cutting of the multiple stems an inch or so above the first cut)

When thinking of planting a new hedge, you must first decide if you want a hedge with a dense base that will be regularly topped OR if you want a line of trees that will never be topped. Best practice to achieve a stockproof hedge - dense at the base involves pruning plants down to an inch or so above ground level with a sloping cut to leave a sharp point and pushing a strip of used silage plastic down neatly over the cut stumps. New sprouts appear just below the cut stump resulting in approximately 5 stems growing up instead of one.

During the first growing season, these 5 stems will grow up maybe a half a metre. The next step is to carry out a second pruning after the first growing season during the dormant season in winter. This involves cutting each of the 5 stems back down to within an inch or so above the previous cut, which will result in the multiplication of the 5 stems into 25 stems close to the ground where we want the dense growth. With a new hedge, it is not a race to the top, but rather letting it inch its way up year by year. At planting, a number of thorn saplings should have never been identified for retention as trees and should have been protected with a tree guard and left uncut. It is important to look out for these future thorn trees at second pruning and again leave them uncut.

 All Hedgerow week information is available here