Hedges for Rejuvenation
On the subject of hedgerow rejuvenation the most important question is which hedge do you choose to rejuvenate. There are three broad categories of hedges in Ireland; Hedges with a dense base, Relict Hedges and Escaped hedges as Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist describes
Hedges with a dense base
Hedges with a dense base which are routinely cut by hedge cutters annually or every few years and hopefully is stockproof without wire, so doesn’t need rejuvenation
Relict Hedge where individual shrubs have grown up into single stem mature trees with full canopies and lots of gaps in between. It has lost its stockproof function and is of little value to wildlife at ground level. However this hedge is a fantastic landscape feature, full of flowers for bees and fruit for birds. It is still very valuable for wildlife but maybe on its way out. It is too risky to attempt rejuvenation as the hedge nay not survive. Leave alone and do not top.
Escaped hedge where the individual plants have grown up, become single stem mature trees with gaps in between and thin at the base, but has sufficient stems, one every metre or so. It can be very successfully be rejuvenated into a hedge with a dense base by either coppicing or laying. It is much preferable to have sufficient stems to generate a new hedge without gaps with no need for infilling or planting new whips into the gaps of the rejuvenated hedge which is very difficult in an old hedge.
All Hedgerow Week information is available here