Cut Down to Size


Image via Wikipedia

No, not me, but I could use a little off my butt!

As you can see by the gorgeous picture to my right, pleaching is a very formal look, and I love it!

It is basically a hedge on legs, this gives you a division quite high up in the air, but is a more interesting look than a hedge.

They are very common in English and European gardens. When I loved in London, I saw tons of them, boy I wish I had my digital camera then! Another form of this is a stilt hedge. From what I understand, (and I could be wrong), pleaching is trained on wires, and fairly narrow, where a stilt hedge is trained freehand, and wider on top.

I (I should say we) put the posts up last summer, and the wire was attached this spring. Now it is time to start the pleaching, yay!

Ian puts the wire up,

first one is 6 foot high off the ground.

After the next two levels are up, 8 and 10 feet,

I start tying the tree trunks to the wire.

On most of the trees the first layer of branches can start to be tied to the wire.

This is the only tree that is tall enough for the third layer to be tied to the wire.

I just bent the leader of the tree and tied it horizontally along the wire.  When branches shoot up vertically along the top, I will prune them back to either the second or third bud.

Here you can see the trees

before I started in crazy pruning mode,

 and after.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to start on this,

 I certainly do not know what I am doing, but it is a lot of fun.


29 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Takes awhile, but it will be worth it. I love the look too.

  2. 3

    Laurrie said,

    While this look is not for me, I do admire and am fascinated by your whole project. You are taking on a highly skilled technique and learning every step of the way. I love how you are investing your efforts in something that will take nature’s long time to evolve into what you see in your mind now!

  3. 7

    amanda said,

    Great article. I’d love to have a go at this but it is yet another project in a never-ending list of things to do that I will probably never get around to. Be interested to see how yours turn out.


  4. 9

    There’s a lovely old pleached hedge on one of the estates near me. I’m trying to remember the species they used, but I forget. It’s got dark purple leaves- maybe beech. Anyhow, your post reminded me of how much work and proficiency goes into making great garden bones like this. Keep up the good work!

  5. 11

    Nell Jean said,

    Ambitious project. It will be fun to see it evolve.

    If I had a full-time gardener, we would pleach and pollard and prune and do all those things seen in books, a marvelous thing to dream of on rainy days.

  6. 13

    Jean said,

    It’s already looking impressive, Deborah. It will be fun to see how far along it is by the time you move back to Canada from Barbados.

  7. 15

    Cathy said,

    Ditto what Jean said…. I’m VERY impressed. I have never heard of this technique before but I am itching to try it!

  8. 17

    Marguerite said,

    This will be very exciting to see on your next trip back. I can’t see if you mentioned this but what kind of trees are they? I’m trying to imagine if there will be flowers, fruit, large leaves or small. I know nothing about this process. Can any tree be used?

    • 18

      The trees are Lindens, or they call them lime trees in the UK, so that is why I named it the lime walk. I know that hornbeam is also used for pleaching, but I am sure that other trees can be used as well. I think that it has to be a tree that can take a lot of pruning.

  9. 19

    You are very brave to start a long term project like this. I can’t wait to see the progress.

  10. 21

    Hmmm, not sure how I ended up inside someone’s post, oh well! 🙂

  11. 23

    Nancy said,

    If I hadn’t committed to Dutchman’s Pipe vines and their supports, pleaching would have been an interesting option for me. Your trees will look wonderful in a couple years!!!

  12. 25

    […] Training Techniques: PleachingPleaching is a technique that is used to train trees into a raised hedge! Some tips how to start: […]

  13. 26

    Shyrlene said,

    So cool! (It’s posts like this that remind me – I have a lot to learn!)

  14. 28

    If you can find some photos of the Ellipse at Dumbarton Oaks you will see a superb example of pleached hornbeams, very mature. I had a few in my posts on “Dougherty at Dumbarton Oaks” and again in one I did on hornbeams a while back. Good luck in watching yours grow in!

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