A typical clipped European Beech hedge in the Eifel, Germany. A hedge or hedgerow is a line of closely spaced shrubs and sometimes trees, planted and trained speed dating palo alto form a barrier or to mark the boundary of an area, such as between neighbouring properties. Hedges used to separate a road from adjoining fields or one field from another, and of sufficient age to incorporate larger trees, are known as hedgerows.
The development of hedges over the centuries is preserved in their structure. Many hedgerows separating fields from lanes in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Low Countries are estimated to have been in existence for more than seven hundred years, originating in the medieval period. In parts of Britain, early hedges were destroyed to make way for the manorial open-field system. Many were replaced after the Enclosure Acts, then removed again during modern agricultural intensification, and now some are being replanted for wildlife. A hedge may consist of a single species or several, typically mixed at random.
The hedgerow is a fence, half earth, half hedge. The wall at the base is a dirt parapet that varies in thickness from one to four or more feet and in height from three to twelve feet. Growing out of the wall is a hedge of hawthorn, brambles, vines, and trees, in thickness from one to three feet. Originally property demarcations, hedgerows protect crops and cattle from the ocean winds that sweep across the land. The hedgerows of Normandy became barriers that slowed the advance of Allied troops following the D-Day invasion of WWII. Hedgerow trees are trees that grow in hedgerows but have been allowed to reach their full height and width. There are thought to be around 1.
The most common species are oak and ash, though in the past elm would also have been common. Around 20 million elm trees, most of them hedgerow trees, were felled or died through Dutch elm disease in the late 1960s. The age structure of British hedgerow trees is old because the number of new trees is not sufficient to replace the number of trees that are lost through age or disease. New trees can be established by planting but it is generally more successful to leave standard trees behind when laying hedges.
The distance allows the young trees to develop full crowns without competing or producing too much shade. It is suggested that hedgerow trees cause gaps in hedges but it has been found that cutting some lower branches off lets sufficient light through to the hedge below to allow it to grow. Hedges are recognised as part of a cultural heritage and historical record and for their great value to wildlife and the landscape. Increasingly, they are valued too for the major role they have to play in preventing soil loss and reducing pollution, and for their potential to regulate water supply and to reduce flooding. In addition to maintaining the health of the environment, hedgerows also play a huge role in providing shelter for smaller animals like birds and insects. Recent study by Emma Coulthard mentioned the possibility that hedgerows may act as guides for moths, like A.
Historically, hedges were used as a source of firewood, and for providing shelter from wind, rain and sun for crops, farm animals and people. Today, mature hedges’ uses include screening unsightly developments. In England and Wales agricultural hedgerow removal is controlled by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997, administered by the local planning authority. Hedges that have existed for hundreds of years are colonised by additional species. This may be useful to determine the age of the hedge. Hooper’s rule based on ecological data obtained from hedges of known age suggests that the age of a hedge can be roughly estimated by counting the number of woody species counted in a thirty-yard distance and multiplying by 110 years. Max Hooper published his original formula in the book Hedges in 1974.
Department of the Environment, based on age and other factors. This section does not cite any sources. Hedgerow removal is part of the transition of arable land from low-intensity to high-intensity farming. The removal of hedgerows gives larger fields making the sowing and harvesting of crops easier, faster and cheaper, and giving a larger area to grow the crops, increasing yield and profits. Hedgerows serve as important wildlife corridors, especially in the United Kingdom where they link the country’s fractured ancient woodland. They also serve as a habitat for birds and other animals. In the United Kingdom hedgerow removal has been occurring since World War I as technology made intensive farming possible, and the increasing population demanded more food from the land.