Friday, November 8, 2013


In the beginning......
Yes, we mean pleaching.  You may find when you 'google' pleaching you get an autocorrect with a result of either preaching or bleaching.  But, no, we mean pleaching.  So what is pleaching?

According to our Pleaching Guru, Carol:
"One winter a few years ago we started a shade garden in a narrow strip next to a wall only to find out that in summer it was not shady! A lesson in planning right there. At the end of the May plant sale we had several crape myrtles unsold so we decided to create our own shade by planting the same. The trees had to be pruned back to prevent them interfering with trucks going to the adjacent utility room. We decided on the ancient method of pleaching. This can create tunnels, arbors or our design to have a "hedge in the air". This fall we pruned away most of the lower branches and excess trunks. The trees were topped below where we want the top edge to be allowing for new growth in the spring. As some branches were still flexible we tied these firmly together laterally  so the bark touches, this will create the opportunity for pleaching. That is the bark will degrade and the wood will fuse together. This is something we always try to avoid in caring for trees but this time we want this to happen. Crape Myrtles seem ideal for this sculpting  as they often pleach themselves naturally. Our experiment is just starting. Next summer we will tie more new flexible branches together and include some temporary support poles to shape our shade hedge. When we have sufficient lateral branches the structure will be pruned in summer to reduce vigor and keep it's shape. Hopefully this will be the shady garden we imagined a few years ago."
Here you see the shorter, thinned out branches with a pole inserted to train them along.  The vine growing on the wall is Ficus pumila (creeping fig) and it is a bit hard to distinguish it from the pruned crape myrtles.  You'll have to come out and see it up close!