Mind that Hedge

treewardensThere are some lovely and unusual trees in Geldeston: majestic Sweet Chestnuts, pollarded Oaks of uncertain age, Cedars, Beech and, even, a very young Sequoia near the old railway station.

Yet our attention as Tree Wardens has focused as often on the preservation and rejuvenation of the hedges in the parish. Hedge plants, after all, are trees that we make grow sideways. The hedgerows in East Anglia are part of a national network of wildlife corridors more important to our birds and small mammals than all the national parks put together.

So, if your hedge looks tired and straggly, don’t treat it like a shabby fence and replace it. Work with it, it’s a living thing. Cut it almost to the ground (coppice it), or get someone to lay it, and within a year or two it will regenerate amazingly. How long have it or its inhabitants been there? Who knows. An experienced woodman told us, the other day, it “takes fifty years for a hedge to get everything in it”.

John and Tanya Crowfoot

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