Archive for April, 2015

High hedge disputes

Hedges can create privacy, boundaries and a fantastic garden feature, but they can also cause disputes. Issues of high hedges are a common occurrence, with neighbours falling out over the ‘right to light’ and invasive hedges growing into the wrong garden.

High hedge disputes can be easily avoided with careful planning prior to a hedge being planted and the Government website is a great source of information for all things related to the prevention and resolution of high hedge issues.

If it’s your hedge that’s the issue then this blog should help you to find the best way to go about fixing the problem, and if it’s your neighbour’s hedge that needs to be cut down to size, this blog can give you advice on the best way to approach the situation and avoid it growing into an argument.

 

What causes high hedge disputes?

The most common causes of hedging issues between neighbours are as follows:

Right to light

This issue arises when a hedge in a neighbouring garden grows so tall that it prevents natural light from reaching either the garden or a room in the house. There are Government guidelines in place to measure the extent to which light is being obstructed. These guidelines consider situations which may involve sunlight being constantly blocked from reaching a garden, or the need to use lights inside the house which would not otherwise be needed if the hedge was not present. Once the magnitude of the problem has been determined, the Local Council will step in and make a decision on whether the height of the hedge needs to be reduced. However, the Council will only become involved after evidence has been presented to prove considerable effort was made by all parties to rectify the problem, previous to them being contacted.

Overgrown foliage

This becomes a problem when the foliage of a hedge begins to impact neighbouring gardens, often growing over a fence or, if the neighbour’s side of the hedge has not been properly maintained by the hedge owner, it can make the garden look untidy and possibly even affect the other surrounding plants. The responsibly of keeping the hedge under control falls with the hedge owner; the hedge should be pruned regularly on all sides and on top to prevent this issue occurring. As above, there should be an attempt to fix any problems with overgrown foliage directly before the Local Council are notified of the issue.

 

How do I prevent/solve a high hedging issue?

It’s always better to try and prevent a problem from occurring rather than trying to fix it, however, sometimes it’s not that easy.

Preventing high hedge disputes

The best way to avoid hedging issues, according to the Government, is with the correct planning, design and information. By ensuring you have all the information about the hedging species you choose, including growth rate and the level of maintenance required to keep it neat, you can avoid being surprised by a fast-growing hedge that is un-manageable. Your planning and design should ensure that your hedge is planted in a position that will not restrict the amount of sunlight that reaches your neighbours garden or cause problems with overgrowth encroaching into their garden.

Resolving high hedge disputes

Before involving any outside parties, we first and foremost recommend trying to resolve the situation in the most polite but clear way possible, regardless of whether you are issuing a complaint or receiving one. In order to keep your relationship with your neighbour as amicable as possible, it’s a good idea to speak to them directly about the problem and offer a solution to rectify it. And, if your neighbour comes to you with an issue, always try to see things from their side of the fence – it’s much easier to deal with the situation without the involvement of the Local Council. If you do find that the issue cannot be resolved in this way, then your Local Council will be happy to help as long as you can prove significant effort has been made to fix the problem before they were contacted.

 

There may not be laws in place to restrict the height of your hedge, or the need to apply for planning permission to plant a hedge boundary, however in order to be thought of as a good neighbour you should always take into consideration the impacts that your new hedge can have on your neighbours’ gardens before planting.

Cold Storage

What is cold storage?

Cold storage is a technique used to extend the bare root season, which normally lasts until early April depending on the weather. Cold storage involves the use of large, cold containers, powered by solar panels in our case to reduce environmental impacts, and these stores trick plants into remaining dormant by simulating light conditions and temperature levels similar to those we experience in winter.

The store is kept dark and at a temperature of -3C, which keeps the plants in what is known in the horticultural industry as “suspended animation”. By creating artificial conditions, the plants remain dormant even as the weather outside begins to reach temperatures that would normally induce the growing season to begin.

This is a completely safe method of lengthening the bare root season. As the plants are placed into storage during the winter when they are completely dormant, and kept moist with occasional watering to the root systems, our hedging plants can remain in cold storage until the end of May.

Why do we use cold storage?

Traditionally, this technique was used by nurserymen to create ‘transplants’ with good, fibrous root systems and a strong, bushy framework of branches. This was done by storing one year old seedlings from the previous growing season and suspending them in dormancy until the ground was ready for them to be transplanted for their second year of growth. The same procedure is used to safely store hedge plants beyond what is considered the usual end of the bare root season so that they can be planted several weeks later (after Easter), resulting in a thriving hedge, equally as healthy as a hedge grown from plants that had not been cold stored.

The benefits of being able to plant bare roots slightly later in the year is that the air and soil temperatures rise in the spring, which stimulates quick growth and a wealth of foliage and flowers. We do advise planting cold stored bare root plants as soon as possible after delivery, within three to four days, as the plant begins to awaken from dormancy as soon as it is exposed to the light and temperatures outside of the cold store.

What plants can be cold stored?

Due to limited space in our cold stores and the dormancy habits of some species, it’s not possible to cold store all our hedging plants. Some of our taller plants would take up too much room in the store and evergreen species never enter full dormancy, so are not suited to cold storage.

Because of this, our evergreen hedging species and our taller plants are only available to order until mid-April, within the normal bare root season. After this they cannot be lifted from the fields until the following season, but can be pre-ordered from the autumn for delivery in November.

The quantity of bare root plants we place into cold storage each year is worked out using previous years’ sales data, which gives us a relatively accurate forecast. However, once our stores run out, bare root hedging plants are not available again until November, so make sure you don’t miss out!

Hornbeam bare root