HEDGEROWS IN THE UK | See United Kingdom.

Hedgerows in the UK date from Anglo-Saxon times. They were planted to define boundaries, as fences for livestock (keeping them in or out), to create windbreaks, to prevent soil erosion, to establish beneficial microclimates, to afford privacy, to hide unsightly objects, and as a wildlife habitat (especially a mixed hedgerows which attract wild mammals, birds, insects as well as wild herbaceous plants). Native species include: hawthorn, field maple, holly, blackthorn, privet, dog rose, elm, hazel plus fruiting trees like crab apple, rowan and wild pear. Maintaining hedges keeps wild brambles in check. Trim annually in winter to stop the hedge becoming bare at the bottom, and to stop it overgrowing.

BEECH | Beech, or hornbeam grows on heavier soils, can be shaped into narrow, very tall hedges. Deciduous. Dead leaves are russet coloured, and often remain on the plants over winter.

HOLLY | Evergreen. Shiny, prickly leaves. Impenetrable. Works well with beech as a mixed hedge.

HAWTHORN | The major traditional constituent in field hedges. Vigorous, providing dense, thorny barriers. One of the earliest shrubs of the year to flower and break into leaf. Hedges which have become bare at the bottom can be restored by laying them.

YEW | Yew is relatively slow growing; grows in fine hedges; dark green; poisonous in all parts, so do not plant near livestock. Evergreen, which means it gives privacy all year.


Claudia Weiss., ‘Native hedges in the garden’, Star & Furrow 102 (Winter 2005), p.13-14