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What’s being built at LA Growers?

Updated: Feb 13

Have you wondered what’s being created on the edge of the LAGS site?

(Long Ashton Growers community co-operative site, near Ashton Brook, Theynes Croft)

It’s a habitat hedge!

Often referred to as a dead hedge - but so full of the rich cycles of living, decaying and becoming - that I think it’s time to give it a new name.

Although it’s a structure made of twigs, branches and prunings, it’s very much full of life.

As soon as a branch is cut, other life forms become active in the decomposition process. This is an intensely dynamic process, involving microorganisms, mychorrizal fungi, and bacteria. As the habitat hedge becomes established, invertebrates create homes and, in turn, are eaten by birds and amphibians. Later, small mammals might move in, and are a food source for owls.

At all stages of its development, a habitat hedge is teaming with life, much of it unseen by the naked eye. But habitats like these are vital to the life cycle of our planet. This process is in a constant state of transformation and becoming. In understanding and working with these life cycles, we facilitate the inter-connectedness and interdependence that sustains us all.

What are the benefits of a habitat hedge?

It’s a quick, creative and beautiful way of creating a rich habitat and feeding station for birds, mammals, insects, invertebrates and amphibians.

These creative structures have many benefits and can be used in your garden to divide areas, create screening, provide a wind-break, reduce waste going to recycling and reduce burning which releases carbon, it’s a useful way to deal with material like brassica stems that don’t compost easily. Habitat hedges can be planted alongside climbers if you want use them as a support for plants like clematis and honeysuckle. And you don’t have to create them in one go. Instead, they can be added to month by month, year on year.

What materials will you need to build a habitat hedge?

  • Approx 8x Hazel uprights are needed for 3m of hedge

  • You’ll need a mallet to bang them into the ground

  • The method will also require gloves, loppers, secateurs and lots of prunings

  • And about 3 hours of time!

With thanks to...

These two culprits, I mean creators! And other LAGS members who will be adding to it as the weeks and months progress.

The hazel uprights were donated from the Keeds Wood coppicing group.

Learn more about habitat hedges

Click here for more information on how to make habitat hedges and all their benefits.

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