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.
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