Heart of England Hedge Laying

Binding a Midland Bullock hedge

The Midland Bullock hedge has a top binding of twisted stems, usually hazel or willow but sometimes other species. Each binder needs to be at least 2.5m long and preferably longer. The butt of the binders should be a maximum of 20mm. They should be reasonably straight and not have too many nodes.

The purpose of the binding is to strengthen the build and hold the hedge together. It prevents horned animals from lifting the pleachers out of the hedge. Of course it is also decorative, but this is a bonus rather than being the main function.



Start by tying the butts of four binders together and placing them, two in front of the first stake and two behind. The untied ends of the pair that are behind the first stake should be brought to the front of the second stake.

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Take the binders that are in front of the first stake and twist them together, always moving the front binder over the rear one. Then lift that twisted pair over the other pair around the back of the second stake, back in front of the third stake and tap them down slightly. It is tempting to weave them further along the stakes but resist this! Always leave the free ends sticking out the front of the hedge, not the back.

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Twist the other pair of binders together (which are coming out from behind the first stake), again passing the front binder over the other one.

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Keeping them in front of the second stake, pass them up and over the other pair, around the back of the third stake, and in front of the fourth stake. Remember, leave free ends to the front.

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Now introduce the butt of a new binder under the existing binders and behind the second stake.

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Twist this new binder with the other two that come from the back of the second stake.

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Lift this bundle over the other and behind the fourth stake, then in front of the fifth stake.

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Keep repeating this along the length of the hedge, introducing a new binder at the back of each stake, twisting it together with its buddies and taking them over the other bundle, around the back of the next stake and in front of the following one.

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Give the stakes a final knock to firm them. If necessary, they can be tapped left or right to get them vertical. Now knock the binders down to really level them off. There should not be a gap between the binders and the hedge.

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Then remove excess from the stake tops. They should be cut at an angle so that the face of the cut matches the face of the cut pleachers. Stakes can be cut off with a billhook, loppers or a saw and should all be the same height, a few centimetres above the binders.

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Job done! Stand back and admire! I hope you manage to make sense of the above and enjoy binding!

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