Something we learned the hard way is that it’s great to let some things grow wild, but that others really do need managing. In particular, hedges. Our early years here were marked by a pretty militant approach to minimal intervention, which firstly went down badly with neighbours, and secondly resulted in us successfully blocking out the sun in all sorts of places where we needed it pretty badly.
So it was that two years ago we embarked on a pretty brutal game of hedge cutting catch up. At the time it looked like we’d done Terrible Things, but of course it all recovered just fine, and our crops did far better once the sun could get to them.
This year I’ve been round and pruned in plenty of time, as nesting season is nearly upon us, and all our willow hedges will grow at a phenomenal rate anyhow. If not cut, the willow gets big, fast, and by its third year is too big to cut with secateurs. Doing it all now means less work later in the year.
Next job is coppicing the Alder. I’m not cutting any birch, as those I did cut last year don’t seem to have regenerated, but we will see if they are just slow off the mark and get going this year. I really need to get 20 or 30 trees down, and I’ve a vague recollection that last year I did 8 or 10 on a good day. With just a week left, the pressure is on to get them down.