|Thursday Techniques: Pleaching|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Thursday, 02 May 2013|
Pleaching is a horticultural technique that weaves branches together to form a raised hedge. Typically used along allees such as walkways or drives, pleaching is derived from the French word plechier (to pleach), and in English it translates into the verb “to braid”. Pleaching was very popular from medieval times through the 18th century. The technique was revived in the mid-19th century when romanticism in the landscape became a popular design theme.
Pleaching is a method of creating structure in the garden without the use of arbors, pergolas, or trellises. The effect is that of a living tunnel. Not every tree can be trained this way however, some like the lime trees (lindens to us here in the states) at Sissinghurst Castle Garden pictured above are ideal for this technique, as are hornbeams (Carpinus), beech, sycamores, and apple trees.
As with some of the other horticultural techniques, including espalier, pleaching can be maintenance intensive because of the regular pruning that is necessary, especially at the tops of the trees. Also of note is that a pleached allee consists of only one tree species in order to keep the look uniform.
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