Arrive on time!
Listen to the briefing and ensure you know where the brash (waste material) is to be put, the direction of lay, pay special attention for any specific safety notes.
The competition hedge will have been marked out in cants (lengths), one per competitor.
The cants will be numbered by PEGS along the length.
At the advertised time competitors in EACH CLASS will draw a number for their cant. Listen out for announcements, the stewards can’t be expected to come and find you.
You draw a number and the steward will allocate you a cant. Make sure you RETURN YOUR NUMBER! Locate your cant and take your tools, drinks, food and personal belongings with you.
Talk to the competitor whose cant will finish where you start, and agree on which stem will be their last pleacher. Mark the hedge (with tape or similar) where your cant will start. Also agree on which side you will lay-off to and to what extent it will be necessary to trim the side of their cant to facilitate this.
Talk to the competitor whose cant follows yours, agree on your last pleacher, laying off etc.
Ask for their laying-off to be on the side that leaves you with the best access to your last few pleachers, bearing in mind your favoured hand for axe or bill-hook. Sometimes laying off will be dictated by the conditions on site.
Stakes and Binders are usually placed with each cant, usually 20 of each. What you are given is what you use.
Check if the stakes are pointed, If they are not you will need to allow around 20 minutes of competition time to point them.
MOST COMPETITIONS GIVE 5 HOURS TO COMPLETE YOUR WORK, BUT DO CHECK
Try and finish pleaching in time to have 1½ hours to stake and bind (to sharpen stakes if necessary), trim and tidy up.
AT THE START SIGNAL – GET GOING
Trim your neighbours cant so that you can lay-off as agreed. It is in their interest that your layed-off pleachers are long, strong and well attached. They will need them to build their hedge.
Do not be tempted to shorten these pleachers but trim sides so they can be safely brought down.
Keep an eye on your other neighbour to see if they are trimming and laying-off as agreed.
Clear the brash as you work, putting it tidily in the area stated.
When your neighbour at your start end requests, help him to lift in your layed-off section. Do so straight away even if you have not finished your cant.
As soon as you lay your last pleacher ask that neighbour to assist you to lift in his layed-off section to complete that end of your cant.
When you have completed your cant and lifted in, start staking even if your other end is still not lifted in. If your start end has still to be lifted-in as the last 45 minutes approaches consider putting the binders in from the ‘wrong’ end of your cant so that you can finish stakes and binders as opportunities arise.
Binders are put in on individual cants. When you place your last few binders let them run beyond the back of the stakes of your neighbours cant. If you want you can tie your binders at each end of your cant with string or more traditionally with a thin withy.
The overlapping ends of neighbours’ binders may be cut off.
Be prepared with a (usually) 4 ft height stick to set the top of the binders height.
Do not be influenced by neighbour’s stake line and / or binders height; they may be wrong.
When trimming stake tops do not leave the cut-offs in the hedge.
Any minutes left as the end approaches can be used to check the line and spacing of stakes and the level and height of the binders. And finally rake up any mess to leave your section neat and tidy.
Slasher / Grass hook
Axe / Bill-hook
Pruning saw / bow saw
Maul for stake driving