Dead hedging in the forest garden
A dead hedge, made from posts and scrubby branches, is an ideal temporary windbreak and wildlife habitat.
They are also nice and easy to make—you bang some home-made posts in pre-made holes in the ground (6-8cm posts are easy to hammer in, smaller ones flex too much) and pile up the branches inbetween the posts. Use a big pointy metal stick (I don’t know the proper name) to make the holes.
We planted a Yushania anceps ‘Pitt White’ bamboo in the Ornamental Forest Garden but it’s been battered a bit by winds, as the windbreak hedges have yet to get established, and the Broom nurse trees aren’t in place yet. So a dead hedge is an ideal solution.
A top tip is to build the dead hedge near to where you are cutting the branches. Unfortunately I had wood chipped the brash from the hedge last week, so I had to drag up a few piles of branches a couple of hundred yards.
Another great tip I picked up from Facebook is to use existing stock fencing as one side of the dead hedge, it’s a quick way to create a windbreak.
The dead hedge will take a while to decompose, as the branches aren’t touching the ground. It provides ideal shelter for insects, small birds and small mammals, plus you can top the hedge with more cuttings when it starts to reduce in bulk.
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