DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A section of a field hedge in Norfolk UK, in late May. The picture shows a recently laid hedge comprised of plants of hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna. It was laid two months before the picture was taken. The diagonal stems in the picture were formerly the upright trunks of the hawthorn. They have been partly cut through at the base, and laid to be more horizontal. The upright post to right serves to stabilise the hedge. The picture illustrates the benefits of hedge-laying; a labour intensive and skiiled manual operation. The hedge provides a thick stock-proof barrier, and within weeks of being laid has many flowers in bloom (white); these will provide nectar and pollen for invertebrates, and later, berries for birds and small mammals. Hedge-laying is a traditional craft; modern agriculture more commonly uses tractor-mounted flails or rotary saws to reduce hedge heights.
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