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Marc Van Hummelen 's Profile
Marc Van Hummelen
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Waasmont, Belgium
Climate Zone:
Cool Temperate
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Rustling Knapweed Forest Garden PermaLot Katlaaed Living Systems Institute Gardening Team Het Voedselbos PRI New Zealand (Koanga Institute) Hangzhou Permaculture Education Center Ergens Anders Grape polyculture experiment (HU) Raingarden Hungary "Cense équi'voc" asbl
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Posted by Marc Van Hummelen over 12 years ago

A great way to rejuvenate an old or neglected hedge and adding functionality to it.

In permaculture we often revert to old techniques to be able to avoid the use of machinery or user- and environment unfriendly materials. One technique that I've learned this year is hedgelaying. This is a useful technique to restore old or neglected hedges, it keeps hedges compact and makes really good barriers out of them for animals, or in my case dogs and people! (I live right next to the forest entrance and many people come here to walk their dog)

I hadn't pruned this hedge of mine for years, it was difficult to keep it in good shape because the previous inhabitant had placed a wire fence very close to it. All the posts of the fence were beginning to rot, so I had to do something. This hedge laying technique is still commonly practiced in England, and you can even find old examples of it here in Belgium, but here it was completely forgotten. Luckily I have a friend who has specialised in ecological gardening and has learned the technique in England. I invited him to help me on my way this year in March. I've made an photo album in Picasa to show you the work and the result, of which I am very proud ;-)

Should I explain here how it is done? Just in a few words then: with a knighton billhook (that's a billhook without the hook) you cut through 90% of the trunk of each bush of the hedge, so that you can lay the bush down low without it breaking off of the root system. You lay down every bush in the same direction and you fix them with hazelnut rods stuck horizontally in the ground through them. The rods are connected at the top by willow rods woven around them. The bushes of the hedge will heal themselves at the base in a few years, and will make new shoots everywhere within months, at the base and all over the practically horizontal trunk, thus creating a new very dense hedge where nothing gets through. And it's pretty too. The pictures will make everything clearer. Here's the link. Feel free to comment.

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Aid worker
My Permaculture Qualifications
Full residential PDC course
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Aranya Austin
Location: Turku, Finland
Date: Aug 2011
Other course verified
Type: Other
Teacher: Koen Pans
Location: Hoeilaart
Date: Aug 2001
Other course unverified
Type: Other
Teacher: Koen Pans
Location: Brussels
Date: Jun 2004
Other course unverified
Compost mentor
Type: Soil Biology/Compost
Teacher: Gerrit Van Dale, Comité Jean Pain
Location: Brussels
Date: Mar 2001
Other course verified
Permaculture Educator's Course
Type: Teacher Training
Verifying teacher: Andy Goldring
Other Teachers: Cat Dolleris
Location: Friland, Denmark
Date: Oct 2014

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