Planting a pleached hedge has been made much easier in recent years by the availability of ready-pleached trees.
Imported mainly from Italy, these are trees whose branches have already started to be trained and are tied to a bamboo frame.
Traditionally used to demarcate grand allées or to enclose intimate spaces, pleached trees had, until recently, fallen out of widespread use.
Now, following their appearance in Chelsea Flower Show gardens, often in the form of “hedges on stilts,” enthusiasm for pleached trees is filtering across the country.
Sooner or later all gardeners realise that there is nothing new under the sun.
Every trendy planting style, technique and design element is just a reinterpretation of what has gone before.
Cut back to a single bud any shoots that are growing the wrong way.
Pinch back leading stems to encourage shoots further down the stem.
The use of pleached trees to establish the architecture of a garden is one of the defining aspects of 17th and 18th-century design, particularly in France and Italy.Related forms of manipulation are also popular – tree “ceilings” and tunnels, for example, can be seen for sale in large garden centres.Pleaching is a style of growing trees in a line, usually straight, with the branches of the tree tied together and clipped to form a flat plane above the bare trunk.Don’t skip on the stakes because, as well as supporting the tree, they have also to support the framework that the branches will be trained against.The distance between the trees should be up to 4.5m (28ft) and never less than 2.5m (8ft).