Dense and well managed hedges
This gallery will show examples of dense and well managed hedges, from healthy dense hedges that are regularly managed to dense hedges that may have been in a minimum or non intervention period. Heights mentioned are just an indicator, and other structural features are more important when deciding the structure of a hedge.
H5 Healthy dense hedgerow, which have obviously been trimmed in the fairly recent past. They have frequent healthy stems, are dense amongst most of their length, with dense vegetation extending to their base. Typically 2m or more in height, but can be much larger - structure is a more important measure than size.
H6 Healthy dense hedgerow not recently trimmed, so may have ‘straggly’ appearance with protruding woody branches. They may be in a non-intervention stage of management or may be on a longer trim rotation, e.g. three year cut . Often about 3m or more in height.
H7 Hedges tend to have a straggly appearance with numerous long woody branches protruding from the main body. They are usually still quite dense, but increasing volume may start to shade the lower branches. They still have frequent healthy stems, and can be about 4m high. This is an unmanaged, overgrown version of H6
Dense and managed hedgerows
This hedge was planted 25 years ago, you can still see the remnants of the tree guards. The vegetation is dense, and it looks like this hedge has been cut with incremental height and width gains to encourage that complex structure. This photo was taken just as the leaves were coming out.
H5 A regularly trimmed hedge that is still dense and thick. It shows no signs of gappiness, nor a knuckle at the trim line. It looks like a species rich hedge with several woody species making up the main structure.
H5 This hedge is trimmed quite low and trimmed regularly but at the moment it is still thick and dense all the way to the base. The hedge is on a hedge bank. It has regular hedgerow trees.
H5 This hedge is a mixed species hedge on a hedge bank (typical in Devon) Although it is trimmed quite low, it is still thick and dense all the way to the base. The hedgerow trees are oaks that have been planted, hence the very regular spacing.
H5 this is a thick and dense hedgerow, it looks like it is regularly trimmed (maybe once per year) but there is not yet any sign that this is causing structural problems. Where possible we would suggest giving this hedge incremental size increases with each trim. This looks like a diverse hedgerow with many woody species making up the shrub structure of the hedge, as well as a number of climber/scrambler plants.
H5 This hawthorn hedge is only 18 years old. It looks like it is regularly trimmed, but is still relatively dense. It looks like the base of the hedge is a little bit leggy, this could be from leaving the tree guards on the stems too long, preventing branches growing in the lower foot of the stems. If this gets more leggy then letting it up for laying will rejuvenate this hedge allowing thick growth from the base.
H5 This hedge, incredibly, is only 18 years old. It is 4m high and classed as an H5 hedge as it is trimmed regularly, but is thick and in good shape. It is trimmed incrementally larger at each cut which has given it this fantastic dense structure.
H5 This is the same 18 year old, 4m hedge up close. It is a mixed species hedge with 7 woody species making up the main structure. A fantastic hedge.
H5 this hawthorn hedge is about 20 years old. It is trimmed regularly, still has regular healthy stems but vegetation is thin at the base because the tree guards it was planted with were left on, resulting in this high base canopy. It would also benefit from laying which would thicken it up the base.
H5 this is a thick and dense H5 hedge. Although it is winter and does not have leaves, the thickness still enables it to provide good shelter for the lambs in spring. This hedge has a number of mature hedgerow trees, and is fenced to prevent grazing damage from the sheep.
H6 This hedge is about 10 years old, and has not been cut since planting. It is an H6 hedge with the classic straggly appearance of untrimmed growth providing blossom and fruit. It is in good shape and has not started to lose base vegetation. Laying a young hedge at this stage will only improve its structure, creating a thicker hedge in a couple of years.
H6 This hedge is large and dense but not frequently or recently trimmed. It still has frequent healthy stems and dense vegetation all the way to the base. At some point this hedge will need to be trimmed to prevent it out shading its lower structure.
H6 This hedge is healthy and dense. It isn't cut regularly, which you can see from the slightly straggly edges. This means it will provide both blossom and fruit. It was actually layed 6 years before this photo was taken, showing how well this can rejuvenate a hedge from the base up. When laying, a young tree was selected and spared to grow as a new hedgerow tree.
H7 This hedge is on the upper limits of the healthy cycle. It is very tall and obviously hasn't been cut at the top for several years, though the sides are trimmed regularly for road access. At some point it will shade out the base, at which point it would be a good hedge to lay. At the moment, however, the base is still well vegetated.
H7 This hedge has been in a period of non-intervention, and has got quite bushy and wild. There are signs that it is thinning at the base, but it is dense enough to still be H7 rather than H8. This hedge has not been trimmed in many years, and is covered in fruit. It would be a good candidate to lay if and when the base vegetation thins further
H7 This fantastic big hedge has been in a period of non intervention and has not been cut in many years. It is a mixed species hedge and has ballooned out of its original shape but is still thick at the base and healthy looking.
H7 This is another hedge that is in a non intervention stage. It has also ballooned out of its trimmed shape, but still offers thick vegetation and looks dense and healthy. This hedge has blackthorn which has a tendency to sucker out, as can be seen here.
H7 This is a healthy looking hedge that has been in a non intervention stage for a number of years. It is still thick and healthy, with only a little thinning at the base. It is not obvious what has caused the gap in this hedge.