The art of plaiting: the art of braiding hedges

plessage et trogne

An ancestral peasant practice, the folding of country hedges consists in notching the young branches to fold and intertwine them around stakes planted at regular intervals.

The objective: to make a living barrier.

By C. Levesque

The plessing, a know-how that is back in vogue

Abandoned in France with the arrival of barbed wire and electric fences, this know-how is now back in fashion, thanks in particular to the Botanical House of Boursay (, in the Loir-et-Cher, which organises every year, in February, training workshops in plessage with a day of demonstrations and numerous activities around the hedge.

In Mondoubleau, for example, there are folded hedges along a housing estate. In the Mauges (Anjou), Sarthe or Deux-Sèvres, municipalities use them in car parks and picnic areas, but also in private homes.

An alternative to “green concrete”.

Very aesthetic, the pleated hedge is an interesting alternative to the “green concrete” constituted by hedges of cedar or laurel palms, which are not very conducive to biodiversity.

It avoids gaps that tend to form on unpruned hedges, limits the shade cast on the garden thanks to its low height and provides firewood when pruning. It is also very effective in protecting a body of water.

When to pluck his hedge?

This operation is carried out from November to April (except on frost-free days) on any field hedge reaching at least two metres in height with strands (stems) at least 3 cm in diameter.

An annual pruning is then required.

The stages of the folding process

– Hedge cleaning, which is carried out using a handle pruning shears and a crescent The purpose of the “Bird’s eye” is to cut the waste, clean the dead wood, the brambles… and to select the strands that will be bent (5 cm in diameter).plessage A.Pottin e Gault du Perche

– Every 30 to 40 cm, stakes 5 cm in diameter and 1 metre high are planted at 1.5 m intervals.

– The base of the strand is slashed obliquely with a clamp or chainsaw to allow for bending, and the heel remaining near the stump is removed. Then they are steered horizontally and interlaced on either side of the posts.

– Finally, hazelnut saplings or soft thorn stems are braided at the top of the hedge in the opposite direction to the folding.