Mixed species hedge laying in pictures

Hedge laying takes place in winter, when the trees are dormant and also it's outside birds' nesting season.

Before a hedge can be laid, it has to be prepared. First, the trees are reduced, by sawing off some minor and lower branches (left). This gives easier access to the trunks for cutting into prior to laying them.

The cuts made into the base of the trunks (below) can look quite brutal, but the tree has enough of its transport structures (for water, nutrition and waste) left intact to enable it to survive. It takes skill and a good dose of courage to cut into a tree's trunk: the angle of the cut has to be deep enough to cut most of the way through the trunk, and the knack, of course, is to do this without severing the trunk completely.

The cuts will heal over and, stimulated by the cutting, the trees will generate a lot of new growth the following spring. The branches are laid sloping upwards to allow sap to rise.

Immediately above, the same section of hedge prior to and after laying.

As you can see, we were blessed with perfect autumnal weather for our two days of work: a low sun which showed off the last of this year's beautiful autumnal colours, and not a hint of rain!

Laying a hedge generates a substantial amount of brash and we are grateful to Bristol City Council who chipped the substantial amount of brash generated and delivered it to the nearby Metford Road allotments the following day. The chippings - much appreciated by allotmenteers - will be used on paths and in compost bins. In the latter case they will biodegrade slowly to provide nutritious supplements to fruit and vegetable beds in future years.

The Council also provided RGCG with material to fence off the working area, and with hi-vis vests, safety goggles, ear plugs and thick gloves.

RGCG is also extremely grateful to Redland and Cotham Amenities Society, who provided funding for this work.