Hedges are usually divided into two classes : . Outward fences, planted either with hawthorn or black-thorn, of which we have already treated under the article Fence; and, 2. Those intended, for gardens, which are planted according to the fancy of the possessor, with holly, yew, or other evergreens.
In forming outside hedges, the plants ought to be as nearly as possible of the same size. The sets should be about one-third of an inch in diameter, freshly taken up, straight, smooth, and well rooted. The best season for planting them out, is late in the autumn; and the young hedge ought particularly to be attended to during the first two years ; because, if it be then neglected, no future care can recover it. The top-shoots must not be shortened, but the sides regularly pruned for some years, while the inclosure is young; for, only by adhering to this practice, the hedge will attain a' proper degree of closeness and strength.
The late Mr. Bakewell was remarkably curious in his fences : he used to plant one row at the distance of a foot from set to set; and, after making the ditch, to lay the earth dug out of it, so as to form a bank on the side opposite to the quick. In other parts of England, the bank is made on the side of the quick above it. The advantage of Mr. B.'s method is, that the plants grow only in the surface-earth, not secluded from the atmosphere; whereas, in the common practice, the best earth is generally loaded by a thick covering of mud taken from the ditch, and placed obliquely on the bank. There is, however, a considerable waste of .land in the former method: for, after the whole was thus formed, he usually added a double post and rail; one on the outside of such bank, and the other on the outside of the quick.
Hedges designed for ornament in gardens, are sometimes planted with evergreens, among which the holly is preferable to any other; next in rank is the yew, but the dead colour of its leaves render such hedges less agreeable*. The* laurel is another plant that may be employed as a fence for gardens; as it is one of the most beautiful evergreens; but it shoots forth with such luxuriance, that it is very difficult to confine it to any shape:, its leaves, too, are very large, and, if cut through with the sheers, present a very disagreeable appearance: hence they ought to be pruned with a knife, and the shoots exactly cut down to each leaf.
In the 3d vol. of the Transac-tions of the Society for the Encouragement of'Arts, etc. Mr. LEa-tham, of Barton, gives an account of his method of planting quick-set hedges on dry, gravelly, or thin soils. He considers the causes which render such hedges very indifferent, to be - 1, That they are set too low or flat on the surface, to allow the roots to strike deeply into the soil. 2. That, when planted higher, they are generally too near the slope of the bank, and thus cannot receive the benefit of the rain. To remedy these inconveniencies, two lines are marked out, 12 feet apart; the upper part of the soil is taken from three feet within each line, and thrown into the centre of the space, so as to form a flat bed, three feet in breadth, in the midst of which the quicks are planted ; the remaining space of 18 inches on each side is tilled up with the earth, gravel, or sand taken out of the ditches on both sides, by which means the bed is extended to rive feet, allowing six inches for the slope of the bank. Quicks, thus planted, will find sufficient nourishment in the soil, before the tap-roof reaches the barren gravel-ly bottom; and the earth thus placed, will retain moisture enough to nourish the plants ; so that they will in a short time form an excellent fence, which, by elevating the bank on each side at pleasure, may be protected at a small ex-pence from the ill effects of sharp winds, or the air of the sea. Mr. Leatham observes, that the space, on such low-priced, ground, is but small; and, as a good, thriving fence is obtained, it amply compensates the expences. A hedge, constructed according to the .di-mensions above stated, cost him fifteen-pence per red of seven yards in length.
In the 1st vol. of the Letters and Papers of the Bath and West of England Society, we meet with a communication, in which elms are recommended for fences. When elm-timber is felled in the spring, the chips made in trimming the trees are to be sown on a piece of newly-ploughed land, and harrows ed in, as is practised with corn. Every chip, that has an eye or bud, will speedily shoot like the cuttings of potatoes ; and, as such plants have no tap-roots, but strike their fibres horizontally in the richest part of the soil, they will be more vigorous, and may be more easily transplanted, than if they had been raised from seeds, or in any other manner. They possess this farther advantage, that five or six stems will generally rise from the same chip ; and, after being cut down to within three inches of the ground, they will multiply their side-shoots in proportion, and form a thicker hedge, without running to naked wood, than by any other method hitherto practised : Lastly, if they be kept carefully clipped for the first three or four years, they are "said to become almost impenetrable.
In the second volume of the same instructive work, we find another communication on the subject of hedges; and the great advantages, that might be derived from them, by planting cyder-fruit-trees. If a judicious mixture of such trees were set in hedges, the profit they afford would amply compensate the ex-pences incurred, without any loss of ground. And, as the best kinds of this fruit are so extremely sour at the proper season of gathering, that even hogs will scarcely touch them, depredations are not to be apprehended.
Having already treated on Fences, we shall only add, that those of our readers, who wish to acquire a more complete information on the subject, may with advantage peruse the first and second volumes of Dr. Anderson's "Es-says on Agriculture" in which it is fully discussed, and the plants best calculated for making hedges are judiciously pointed out.