Newly laid hawthorn hedge

Newly laid hawthorn hedge

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A section of a recently laid hedge, photographed in Norfolk UK in May. The picture shows the formerly upright stems of a neglected hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) hedge which have been laid horizontal after being partially cut through at the base. Also visible is a weed-suppressant membrane at the base of the hedge. Hedge-laying is a skilled manual operation, often now replaced by height reduction achieved by machine cutting with a flail or rotary blade. A laid hedge maintains a stock-proof barrier, and, as visible here, sprouts normal growth from retained branches, both thin and thick. The hedge in this picture produced flowers and fruit later in the same year. The value of the hedge as a wildlife refuge is not diminished by being laid. Mechanical hedge maintenance removes the top growth and may result in an open hedge bottom for several seasons, of less conservation value

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Keywords: agriculture, conservation, crataegus monogyna, farm hedge, farming, hawthorn, hedge, hedge maintenance, hedge-laying, laid hedge, plant, tree, wildlife refuge

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