Pleach if you please

pleach [pliːtʃ]vb (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Horticulture) Chiefly Brit to interlace the stems or boughs of (a tree or hedge) – also plash

Hervé attended a pratice session on pleaching two weeks ago, and he was willing to share this noble and valuable practice on this blog – many thanks to him !

” Not the best of weathers, but anyway… We had at heart to learn and get our hands onto the work !”

Pleaching comes from a very ancient time, they were used as hedges in the landscape of many regions in France. Pleaching consists in bending the branches into a hedge, so that farm animals wouldn’t leave their plot.”

“Pleaching is quite different from tree-weaving, which consists in weaving  cut branches around ‘dead’ stakes. We were initiated to the technique used in the Dunkirk area : the big branches are bent from the base and tied to stakes erected with a 1 meter gap between each one.”

“The ties are made of osier”

“The branches are cut 2/3 of their diameter, then bent at a 30° angle”

“Everything in this hedge is alive – even the stakes.

Today, the use of this technique enables to serve as an enclosure for farm animals, but also to protect them from the wind. We have noticed their value from an ecological viewpoint : they provide food and sheter for small and less small mammals, birds, amphibians, numerous insects… They also help maintaining biodiversity, keeping the soil in place, infiltrating rainwater…

That’s why it’s important to have more and more of this type of hedge, even in cities. They serve as landmarks for the landscape and provide a feeling of well-being.”

Dec 3, 2012

5 comments to Pleach if you please

  • Hi,
    The television programme in England that coincidentally we saw on this was called CountryFile.
    Apparently the mastery of this is not only to be able to do it quickly and to keep the “new” hedge to a uniform level and line but also to be able to cut and bend the live growth without breaking it off completely so it continues to live.
    A great old art which needs to be continued.
    And northern France needs above all hedges around its farmland to encourage wildlife and for visual beauty; as it is has been stripped bare with the monstrously large fields.
    Mike

  • Charlie G

    I have seen pleaching before but never realized what it was and how it is done. Thanks for sharing this article with us. It is a really informative and nice article.

  • Max Davies

    We need to think more about our nature and sustainable development. With such ideas it would be easier to catch soil erosion. Pleaching looks good also. You are doing your part in spreading awareness. Keep up the good work.

  • Katty C

    I have seen pleaching in farms and came to know about them from my uncle. But I never thought that it can be done in the cities. Actually this is a good idea. It does not take many resources and can be easily done to preserve biodiversity.

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