Pleaching is the technique in which trees are grown with straight, clear stems upon which a clear framework of branches are trained to grow parallel, producing a screen of foliage. The most popular trees used for pleaching are Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Lime (Tilia europaea Pallida) however there are other types of pleached trees available.
Pleached trees are measured by their clear stem, head size and girth.
With deep roots in Europe, the technique of pleaching can be traced as far back as Julius Caesar and was even used as a method of defense against attacking cavalries. As time went on, pleaching or plashing became a popular garden practice during medieval times and continued to be used all the way through to the 18th century when shaded paths and seating areas were all the rage.
The popularity of Pleached trees fell slightly after this but pleaching regained its popularity in the 19th century and became an integral part of European garden architecture, especially in France and Italy. A favourite amongst the European elite, pleached trees were planted to create shaded avenues and grand allées.
With a modern spin, pleached trees or hedging on stilts have made a strong comeback and have been featured in The Chelsea Flower Show for the last few years. Pleached hedging units are great for screening and privacy and add a sense of regal charm to any outdoor space.