Georg Müller’s book “Europe’s Field Enclosures” is a monumental work that has received worldwide recognition and has been sold in over 30 countries.

It serves as a comprehensive reference work for field enclosures throughout Europe, covering topics such as rampart hedges (Knicks), hedges, dry stone walls, dry alluvial woods, wattle hedges, wattle fences, and traditional fences. The two-volume edition is 1280 pages long and contains 5514 illustrations, including 4433 color photographs. It is a comprehensive documentation of various types of field boundaries in Europe, the result of over 30 years of research. The book has received praise from experts, researchers and institutions worldwide for its depth, thoroughness and contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage and ecological knowledge.

Georg Müller was born in Ganderkesee in 1950 and was involved in the fields of rampart hedges, mushrooms, Schlatts, nature conservation, environmental protection and social issues for more than 35 years. From 1980 he mapped the rampart hedges of the municipality of Ganderkesee and published an essay on “Destruction of rampart hedges” in 1986. For his work he received the Bremen prize for local history research in 1988.

He became known for his 1989 book “Wallhecken: Entstehung-Pflege-Neuanlage,” a 256-page publication that gained recognition in professional circles and nature conservation laws and established him as a recognized expert in the field.

He also remained politically active, serving as a local council member from 1990 to 1991 and publishing articles on the cooperation between official and voluntary nature conservation.

Müller also devoted himself to mushrooms and published “Pilze im Tal der Hunte” in 1995. In addition to Wallhecken, he wrote name explanations, volumes of poetry and songs. A significant initiative of his was the Tsunamii flood relief initiative “Help for Koggala / Habaraduwa” for Sri Lanka in 2005.

In the following years he worked intensively on the book “Europas Feldeinfriedigungen” and finally published it in 2013 in two volumes with a total of 1280 pages, both in German and English.

His work and publications have made a significant contribution to the conservation of nature and the environment, and his knowledge and research continue to be present and appreciated in professional publications and conservation circles even after his death in 2019

“Europe’s Field Enclosures” – a gift from the National Hedge Laying Society – by George Müller to King Charles III at his Duchy “Home Farm” in Tetbury on February 21, 2015.

Awarded the Golden Medlar (Gouden Mispel) 2014 by the Verenigung Nederlands Culturlandschap.
for the extremely precise survey and definition of a formative pan-European cultural expression: the demarcation of land (field enclosures).


„”Encyclopedia of the Hedges and Field Walls of Europe…Overall, an all-around extremely comprehensive basic work that misses hardly any aspect and provides accurate definitions, descriptions, data, cultural history, and experience for all issues. Greatest respect for this comprehensive work in a hitherto stepmotherly treated field of landscape analysis!”

Dr. rer. nat. Andreas Zehm, Deutschland

“Georg Müller has written a fabulous book that will be used as a standard reference work for years to come. Research for the book began as early as 1983 and allows insight into the results of personal visits to more than 20,000 kilometers of field enclosures in 32 European countries.”

Professor John W. Dover BSc, PhD, FRES, FSB, Großbritannien

“The indexing available for all European countries not only represents an invaluable contribution to comparative cultural landscape research, but at the same time provides valuable impulses for raising public awareness of a common piece of European cultural history.”

Prof. Dr. Uwe Meiners, Deutschland

“Under this title G. Müller presents the most comprehensive work ever presented on Europe’s hedges, rampart hedges, field walls and other manifold types of field enclosures. Through its rich illustrations, it reveals a previously unimagined diversity of hedges and other field boundaries, most of which characterize the landscape.”

Prof. em. Drs. Dr. h.c. Heinrich E. Weber, Deutschland

“I have cataloged your extraordinary book on Europe’s field enclosures for our collection… Congratulations on your remarkable publication!”

Sandra Lee Parker, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, USA

“The subject certainly needs German precision, which they have brought to bear. I bought the volumes because of the stone walls, but I discovered that many other types of enclosures exist in Europe. Congratulations on this wonderfully accomplished task. The volumes are a tribute to you and a memorial to those who created so many rich landscapes before us. I am very happy that you have documented our cultural heritage so well, but on the other hand I am very sad to see it disappear. Everything is just a moment in time.”

John B Henry, USA

“I congratulate you on this extraordinary work!!! Fantastic!”

Dr. Francesco Bellù, Italien

“Thank you very much for your wonderful book that arrived this week. Enjoying reading it very much and congratulations on your excellent work.”

Sally and Marcus Vergette, Großbritannien

“Thank you, I am very impressed with the edition of your book and it exceeds my expectations. Brilliant! You can be very proud. And I agree with the written introductions by Professors Dover, Meiners and Weber.
If I were “Camilla” I would give it to Prince Charles for his birthday, he is a great advocate of organic farming and his fields are surrounded by traditional hedgerows. Happy birthday.”

Dr. Melania Elias Abad, Spanien

“The books are beautiful and are a wonderful reference tool for this topic. For all to enjoy of our landscape before some of it disappears from our landscape forever.
These volumes are a very valuable collection because of the detailed content and will be treasured by all of us who have been fortunate enough to own them. . It is especially nice to know that the wonderful author who worked so hard has collected and saved this information for future generations. For this, your work, I have deep respect.”

Jackie Gilligan, Großbritannien

“Your work is probably the most comprehensive documentation of cultural monuments made of natural, partly perishable materials that exists!
Incredible and fascinating what a wealth of forms the wicker hedges have. It is very important that you have documented these techniques so accurately, because it would be a shame if this art would be forgotten once and for all.

Martina Gorny, Deutschland

In the context of an institute meeting of the Professorship for Landscape Management (Uni Freiburg), Professor Konold briefly introduced your two new works… to us. Thereby I could briefly leaf through the two volumes …
First of all, congratulations for the comprehensive and profound treatment of the subject. A standard work on Europe’s cultural landscapes, which will deserve wider attention outside the German-speaking world.”

Dr. Benoît Sittler, Deutschland, (Landespflege Universität Freiburg)

“First of all, I want to compliment you on this amazing work that you have done over the years. It’s great that this study was done on enclosures and the hedgerows for Europe. We know what heritage we have and we know what we have to protect. Education is the basis of all this, and I think your books are brilliant for that purpose.”

Roelof Jan Koops, Niederlande

“You deserve the Wall Hedge Gold Medal with your work. You stand scientifically at the top of the wall stairs. Erika and I congratulate you very much for this huge work. We admire you for having the strength and endurance to complete this monumental work. We in the J.E.C. are also proud of you and your work.”

Jim Jones, Großbritannien

“On the publication of what is truly the most comprehensive standard European work on Europe’s field cemeteries currently available, I heartily congratulate you. It is difficult for me to describe the importance of this great work.”

Jef Gielen, Niederlande

“This looks like a great piece of work, thanks Pat for highlighting this. Going on the book wish list for sure.”

Sunny Wieler

“Sounds like a monumental achievement Pat. It is a gift to many countries all over Europe that George visited over the 30 years it took to produce the book.
Nick Aitken and I have talked about this book on a number of occasions and we thought while investing in it. I think it’s time to put our money on the table for it.
I don’t think it’s cheap, but what else can you expect from such a massive document and such a wonderful work.”

Ken Curran

“The books look very nice and I enjoy reading in them very much. The photos and illustrations…. look great . With so much very useful information, the books will always be a treasure and I am very proud to be associated with your work in some small way.”

Dr. Robert J. Wolton, Großbritannien

“I have the book – it looks fantastic!”

Emily Ledder, Großbritannien

“The books arrived safely today! I am very excited to read them and very proud to have been a small part of their development. Congratulations on this excellent achievement.”

Nigel Adams, Großbritannien

“Great overview of important aspects of the cultural landscape”

Henk Baas, Niederlande

„”Fantastic book”

Kristianne van der Put, Niederlande

“Although I was pre-informed, totally blown away. This is not an “opus magnum” as the Delmenhorster Kurier writes, but an “opus maximum”.
The binding is impeccable, and the abundance of well reproduced photos and drawings alone is overwhelming. This is truly a lifetime’s work, the likes of which I have never seen before in this scope and presentation. In doing so, you have rendered an invaluable service to the cause and created a monument to yourself….”

Prof. em. Drs. Dr. h.c. Heinrich E. Weber, Deutschland

“Today I received your two very impressive volumes of Europe’s field cemeteries. Congratulations on this milestone! It will be a great help for my lectures in landscape history at the University of Groningen.”

Prof. Theo Spek, Niederlande

“Georg Müller …. one of those experts, if not the expert, in the field of fence research. His 1,280-page book, Europe’s Field Fences, is considered a standard work among European vegetation scientists and geobiologists. Müller has written the most comprehensive documentation on Europe’s hedgerows, rampart hedges, field walls and other field enclosures. The book is the result of his research: for almost 40 years, Müller has been categorizing fences and landscape boundaries…”

TAZ, Die Tagezeitung, Deutschland

“I own the 2 volumes “Europe’s Field Enclosures”, and am very enthusiastic.
As a reference work for technology, building styles, craftsmanship and cultural landscapes, there is nothing comparable on the market. For the areas of landscape planning, architecture, garden design, art, culture, these volumes are suitable for teachers and learners

Helmut Schieder, Gartenbauschule Langenlois Österreich

Wall hedges, bends, öwer or över are wide, straight or uneven strips of ground covered with woody plants, usually artificially built earth, stone or peat walls, which usually indicate boundaries. Some of them are older than 5,000 years. They are independent landscape-forming elements of our home and cultural landscape. The heights of the walls and their vegetation are different and not fixed. In special cases, wood-free ramparts with border function are also classified as wall hedges. The average height of the earth walls is about 1.2 m and the average foot width of earth walls is 2 m.


with trees or bushes  overgrown earth, stone or peat walls

Over. 5000 years old and belong to our oldest cultural landscape components.

Landscape elements, which are formative and indispensable for our cultural landscape and our recreation.

Cultural monuments,  because they are part of our cultural landscape history.

Witnesses the origin and development of our cultural landscape in which we live.

Bee pasture, that means pollen and nectar source for bees, bumblebees and moths.

Catch bush location for insect pests, which their enemies often chase here.


Winter feed storage chambers for all kinds of animals (rose hips, elderberries, parsonets and other fruits and seeds of fruit-bearing hedge plants)

Biotopes, landscape networking of complex biotic communities. These promote the biological balance and reduce “pests” of neighboring fields and grassland.

Living space numerous animal, plant and fungal species. Approx. 7000 animal species, such as small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects can be found in undisturbed wall hedge areas and 1800 species in an intact wall hedge, as well as approx. 1000 plant species and at least as many mushroom species.

Grazing (buds, leaves, fruits) for game that can be hunted, thus reducing damage to fields.

weed seed barriers.&nbspThey reduce unwanted weed colonization of arable land by seed flight.



Retreats for many endangered animal, plant and fungal species.

Cover possibility and escape castle for numerous animal species. They are protection against human disturbance and predators.

Weather protection. They protect animals and plants against adverse weather conditions (storm, rain, snow, hail). They reduce  snowdrifts, sandstorms and other extreme weather effects.

immission control. They reduce the pollution of the air (filter effect).

erosion protection. They counteract ground slides and soil drifts.

Screen and noise protection between streets and residential areas.

Wood supplier for mechanical engineering, tools, construction and firewood.

Additional yield provider. The yield increase of all crops is about 15%.

natural enclosure of arable and grazing land for livestock. In the past, hedgerows surrounding arable land also served to keep cattle and game away.

Boundary symbol,  which are therefore still protected by law today.

endangered landscape components. About 100,000 km of wall hedges have been destroyed in northern Germany since the 19th century. That is why wall hedges are under special legal protection today. They may no longer be removed or  damaged.

In order to secure wall hedges and their habitat and their importance for nature, landscape, home and recreation, wall hedges are newly created, restored and maintained.


The first wall hedges developed from the wattle fence and the dry shrub hedge more than five thousand years B.C. as primitive defences against wild animals and plundering hordes. The so-called Heinrichsburgen (Henry’s castles) were also built during this period (around the 8th to 9th century AD). These are large ring walls, which were built to defend against warlike hordes, with a height of about 8 to 10 metres (Heidenwall Delthun, municipality of Ganderkesee).
Wall hedges, which were planted around the valuable farmland, the so-called Esch, are probably just as old. These wall hedges were used for the defense of cattle and game, as well as the Esch border to the common.

Around the 11th and 12th century the first Kämpe were created. This private property had to be surrounded by hedges as a fixed border. During this time the first generation of wall hedges was probably created on a large scale throughout the country, often only to separate noble estates.
In the following 13th to 15th century, wall hedges were created for defence and war policy reasons, but also to protect territorial borders, such as county borders, by land defences.
From the 16th to the 17th century, hedgerows were planted for economic reasons, after the forests had been largely cleared, the fields exhausted, the heathlands torn down and completely overgrazed. The hedgerows were used as sand traps, as protective walls for the rearing of forest goods and for timber production without fixed boundaries to combat soil erosion and timber shortages.

From 1639 onwards, no tree could be felled in the state of Oldenburg without express ducal permission. Every state and private forest had to be surrounded by walls to protect it from the grazing cattle of the commonality.
From 1677 onwards, “Baumaufzuchtskämpe” with a surrounding hedge was to be planted in the Oldenburg manorial forest, in the communal woods, in private woods and in the gardens around the house. This measure was intended to guarantee areas protected against erosion with young plantings (protection).
At the same time and earlier, wall hedges were also built at the courtyard entrances, which could be more than 100 metres long, and although they delimited the path on both sides, they had no border function. In order to avoid the access of higher places, all private farms were surrounded by ramparts. For only what was surrounded by walls did not become princely property.

Due to the agricultural reform of the 19th century, the division of the common land in the Duchy of Oldenburg in 1804/1806, the Edict of Reclamation of 1765 in the Kingdom of Prussia (for East Frisia), a multitude of new wall hedges were created in the second generation. These wall hedges were mainly created as property boundaries, but also for cattle fencing, as wind protection (erosion control) and for the renewal of wood for all kinds of equipment in “straight” lines.
In the last century, especially in the last ten years, wall hedges have been replanted for other reasons. This was prompted by ecological considerations, but in the horticultural sector also by design, noise protection and nature conservation planning. Finally, they are created on a case-by-case basis as a visual expression of a fixed property boundary.


1. Wall hedges serve as natural fencing of land such as fields and pastures for livestock and game rejection.

2. They store rainwater better than the cultivated land, which is usually poorer in humus and pores, and reduce soil evaporation, which shortens dry periods and extends grazing.

3. Wall hedges on dry sandy areas increase dew formation and fog fixation at night, thus increasing the water supply for cultivated plants.

4. They provide protection against wind and storms over a distance of up to about 13 to 15 times the height of the hedge (example 65 to 100 metres at 5 to 7 metres height), which benefits leaves that are highly vulnerable to wind, such as those of root crops. Surrounded by hedges, the livestock is less exposed to adverse weather conditions, as there are no extreme conditions (visible from the straight hair).

5. They compensate for temperature fluctuations in spring and autumn by a continuous evaporation (transpiration). Frost damage caused by extreme winters is less frequent, and the wintering of seeds is less frequent here (“greenhouse climate”). As a result, the leaves turn yellow later and sugar compounds such as glucose are produced over a longer period of time.

6. They prevent erosion, landslides, clay leaching and humus erosion, especially as crossbars at the edge of sloping surfaces.

7. They improve the growth conditions of cultivated plants in lee site (LEE) by wind attenuation, lower mechanical stress and by preserving soil carbon dioxide.

8. They ensure longer light-dependent activities of the green leaves in adjacent crops, which promotes glucose production by photosynthesis. This results in better development possibilities of the stem and leaf structures in a windy environment. The productivity (yield formation) can be favourable if up to 50% above the result of hedge-free agricultural land.

9. They form a large reservoir of humus-building species of the soil-dwelling small animal world (mesofauna), which regularly visit or repopulate the field.

10. They house important elements of biological pest control, e.g. against mice and tipula.

11. They are catching bushes for insect pests, which enemies chase here more often.

12. They are important food sources for bees and insects in need of nectar, especially in lean transition periods outside the main flowering periods (with early and late bloomers).

13. They are often the last refuges for endangered species of the herbaceous layer, which, as fodder plants, can also be the development basis for animals that hunt harmful organisms in the fields.

14. They provide winter food for birds, mammals and insects (hedge fruits such as rosehip, blackthorn, rowanberry).

15. They form the retreat area for animals in the event of disturbances caused by field cultivation, and act as havens for pursued prey.

16. They provide cover against enemies (partridges/birds of prey), immission protection against pesticides and protection against being run over by agricultural machinery (pressure, cutting and crushing damage).

17. They intercept wind-blown weed seeds from the air and thus prevent larger unwanted settlements on cultivated areas, intensified by root competition of the woody plants standing on the rampart and by shading.

18. They reduce negative immissions elsewhere from dust (causes chloroplast darkening), tire abrasion, absorption of toxic harmful gases (stomatal paralysis and premature yellowing, absorption of metabolic toxins such as lead, etc.)

19. They shape the landscape and influence human activities and recreation.

20. Even today they are still de facto immovable protected landmarks.

21. They are home to up to about 7000 animal species in undisturbed wall hedge systems.

22. They are home to up to about 1800 animal species on individual wall hedges.

23. About 1000 plant and as many mushroom species are present on hedges.

In view of the wood-poor cultural landscape in the north-west German lowlands (forests in the Weser-Ems region account for about 8% of the total, with federal funding of 30%), the preservation of hedgerows is absolutely essential.


Wall hedges can be replanted everywhere (except on specially protected parts of the landscape), but especially where wall hedges have been removed in comparison to the local historical situation.
Any boundary lines of land or other land areas are suitable as a location.
Wall hedges can be created on the initiative of individual citizens, citizenships, forests, farmers, associations, water and soil associations, towns, municipalities, districts and the country.

The following points should be observed when creating new wall hedges.
The earth material for the rampart should come from the surrounding area for reasons of soil type and cost.
Along the future base of the rampart, the vegetation cover should be peeled off root-deep to ensure an optimal connection between the roots of the trees and the surface water.
The embankment should be built up to a height of 1.2 – 1.5 m, a foot width of approx. 2 – 2.5 m and a crown width of approx. 0.8 m (the embankment subsides in height by approx. 20 – 30%).

An irrigation channel (with a spade or by pushing it in with an excavator shovel) is placed in the middle, approx. 0.3 m wide and 0.3 m deep, along the top of the embankment to collect rainwater and pass it on to the trees and bushes. When planting, make sure that a recess of the planting hole remains around the tree or shrub for the same reason. In addition, the newly planted trees and shrubs can be easily watered by means of the gutter in persistent dry weather (summer).

In order to ensure optimal growth of the newly planted woody plants, the rampart must be protected from drying out and from currently undesirable weed growth when new plants are planted or replanted. Therefore, a small pioneer plant species such as clover or phacelia should be sown. However, it is also very effective to cover the wall permanently with wood chippings or coarse bark mulch before planting. Constant mowing or removing the herb would be too costly.


The care and maintenance of wall hedges is of particular importance. About 80% of the hedges in Lower Saxony are endangered in their substance by strong interventions, similarly it is in Schleswig-Holstein. While in Lower Saxony about 90% of the hedges are not maintained, it is different in Schleswig-Holstein where about 90% are “maintained”. The fact that (excessive) care often does not always represent something positive can be seen, among other things, in the fact that in Schleswig-Holstein one of the most common causes of damage is “care”. While in Lower Saxony about 80% of the hedges are damaged by overgrazing, the most frequent damage to the Knicks in Schleswig-Holstein is “improper care, mallets, stem crushing, clear cutting, “sitting on the stump” and ploughing”. Maintenance work is hardly or insufficiently carried out.

In the following, the respective care methods and care terms, which are interpreted differently, are described

Clear-felling “A hand’s breadth above the ground”, “Sit on the stump” and “Bend
Here, the terms must first be clarified. As clear-felling is the term used when all the shrubs and bushes are cut back over a certain area or over the entire length and width of a hedge. It is of secondary interest whether the shrubs are cut a hand’s breadth above the ground (“set on the stump”) or 60-90 cm above the ground (“set on the stick”). This kind of radical “Clearance maintenance” was already in the 18th century branded as wrong and for the “animal and plant world” as fatal.

That “Sit on the stick” und “Auf den Stubben setzen” is a not undisputed but in moderation performed, acceptable historical hedge care method, which was not used very often. The fencing effect of the hedge had to be preserved. Unfortunately, the term “putting on a stick” is often misinterpreted. Some people associate it with the cutting of all shrubs and bushes (clear cutting) to “a hand’s breadth above the ground” or cutting the shrubs down to about knee height. In Schleswig Holstein these terms are even mixed up.

Therefore both terms have to be clarified:
1. the term “On the stick” is a fixed measure, depending on regional affiliation, of 60 – 90 centimetres (knee height).

2. the term “a hand’s breadth across the floor” For example, it is clear that the wood is cut 5 – 20 cm above the ground.
A clearer term for this is “Sit on the stump”.

3. the term &nbsp“Fold” refers exclusively to a specific installation or maintenance method, namely the bending or bending of branches of thin branches or very young trees. The bending is not the cutting of woody plants. Only the cutting of the wood with a trunk diameter of more than 2 cm, in order to bend it afterwards, traditionally still belongs to the term “buckling”
The terms 1. and 2. do not include the cutting of all shrubs and bushes from the rampart (“clear cutting”), as some people think, but only the cutting of individual stems down to a certain height.

It is just as wrong as misleading when, especially in Schleswig-Holstein, the terms “Sit on a stick” or “sit on the stump” than the “Fold” can be output. That here different and very different care are meant, is in some places completely unknown. That led to the fact that these two so different ways of care in the § 15 b of the Schleswig-Holsteinischen nature conservation law and the Knickerlass of 1996 with each other were mixed inadmissibly. The buckling as buckling is obviously known in the “land of the buckling”, also no longer from the meaning. In Schleswig-Holstein, it is stated that “radical caps” (clear-cutting, impact economy) and “sit on the stump” of the woody plants as the “buckling” aus. Accordingly, the woods as well as the fauna and flora are severely damaged!
§ 15 b. Paragraph 2.

“….if possible, put the kink on the stick every 10 to 15 years (buckling), but he must not bend it at shorter intervals than 10 years.”



The hedge is completely preserved and very well maintained. The vegetation has a high proportion of shrubs (low hedge). The vegetation is not patchy, but forms a closed, possibly stepped mantle. If a hedge is newly planted, the vegetation may still be low and uneven. The hedge has a continuous minimum height of at least 70 cm, a crown width of 1 to 2 metres and a foot width of 2 to 3 metres. The fence stands at least 1.5 metres away from the foot of the hedge. It is not necessary to repair the rampart, remove or replace the fence. The hedge is maintained in a regular rhythm. Excellent condition, there is a keeper every 10 to 20 metres. The bushes are up to 3 metres high. The landscape looks rich in structure and attractive.


Every 8 to 10 years, alternately cut back the shrubbery to the cane every 30 metres (60 to 90 cm high). However, this method of total clearing in sections can have drastic negative consequences for flora and fauna due to the sudden change in the vegetation, shade and moisture conditions.
A better method, which is in line with current knowledge, is certainly to bend or cut out the bushes individually, whereby only a maximum of half of the trunks and branches are removed (single trunk removal). The other part follows only after new shoots have formed at the cutting points, 8 to 10 years later. Here a care rhythm is established which is also acceptable in terms of ecology and working time. This care should be prescribed. Trees are not to be removed as landscape-forming elements here. It is not necessary to use them to the full except for a necessary path profile. The shrub layer should not be cut back below 3 m width.


The hedge is completely preserved and well maintained, but shows some damage. The vegetation can already have the character of a tree hedge with a good proportion of shrubs (low hedge), but in contrast to (A), high hedges are more represented. The height of the embankment is similar to the one marked with (A) but already a little lower (sunken). The foot and crown widths are almost the same.
The fence stands at the foot of the hedge and this leads to grazing. The fence must be repositioned at a distance of at least 1.5m from the foot of the hedge. A building removal is not yet necessary. A care as described under (A) is necessary. A disengagement, except for a necessary path profile, is not necessary.


The hedge is clearly degraded and uneven. The height of the embankment is on average 0.5 to 1 metre and varies. The fence stands on top of the rampart, which leads to overgrazing. The fence must be repositioned as described in (B). A wall repair is necessary. Earth is brought in on the gaps and if necessary the height of the rampart is increased. The vegetation is hardly or moderately maintained and has only a small proportion of low and high hedges. The tree hedge is predominant. The trees marked with a cross should be removed gradually. Cut the shrubbery as described at (A) and maintain it periodically in the same way. Some shrubs must be replanted in the gaps that have already been created. It is not necessary to prune out, except for a necessary path profile.


The hedge is clearly incomplete with late growth and occasional interruptions. The vegetation is already patchy and fragmentary. The tree hedges are predominant, there are hardly any low hedges. The height of the rampart is no longer constant and is in the range of 50 to 70 cm. The crown width is mainly 0.5 to 1 meter. The fence is usually already behind the wall, overgrazing occurs. The fence must be repositioned as described in (B). A wall repair is necessary, earth is brought in on the gaps and the height of the wall is increased. Existing trees and older bushes must be kept free of soil accumulation. The vegetation is not maintained and the tree hedge prevails with little or no shrubbery. The trees marked with a cross should be removed gradually. Shrubs must be replanted in the gaps that have already appeared.


The hedge is usually no longer completely preserved, e.g. due to tread erosion, and is very often only fragmentary and no longer or not significantly maintained. The vegetation is patchy, tree hedges and rows of trees are predominant, and very often more severe detrimental interventions have taken place. The rampart is severely damaged, the height of the rampart varies considerably and is between 30 and 70 cm. The crown width is often between 0.5 and 1 metre, the foot width almost evenly between 0.5 and 3 metres. The fence stands behind the rampart or is no longer there, there is overgrazing. The fence must be repositioned as described in (B). A wall repair is necessary, earth is brought in on the gaps and the height of the wall is increased. Existing trees and older shrubs must be kept free from the ground and, if necessary, trees must be replanted in the gaps that have already been created. For reasons of nature and landscape conservation, it is not necessary to remove trees. It is not necessary to cut out, except for a necessary path profile.


The wall hedge is no longer completely preserved and is often broken through here or below ground level, therefore very wavy. Also the vegetation is, as far as still existing, strongly stepped down, fragmentary and incomplete. Fragments of tree hedges are predominant. If at all, torn rows of trees and single trees as well as single bushes occur, which often show strong erosion and feeding damage. The height of the rampart is already highly variable in the individual hedge to ground level and is around 0 – 0.7 metres. The foot width is often 1.5 to 3 metres, the crown width 0.5 to 2.0 metres. The fence stands behind the rampart or is no longer there, which leads to overgrazing. The fence must be repositioned as described in (B). Extensive wall repairs must be carried out, earth is brought in on the gaps and the height of the wall is increased. Existing trees and older bushes must be kept free of the ground fill. The rampart may have to be re-profiled to the dimensions of rampart (A). A tree and bushes should be replanted at least every 20 metres along the entire length, and then the rampart should be maintained at 8 to 10 year intervals as described in (A). . For reasons of nature and landscape conservation, removal of trees and shrubs is neither necessary nor permitted.


1. Overgrazing, as a result of cattle treading and browsing by grazing animals, which damages the wall, roots and trunk;

2. grazing of the lower branch and leaf layers, so that hedges up to a height that can just about be reached by the cattle look as if they have been shaved off, “cow tongue height

3. Consolidation ( consolidation ) of pasture areas also within the same property, thus lifting the fence and opening it up combined with a complete overgrazing of the hedges;

4. Fencing on the foot of the hedge, in the middle of the wall or behind the wall (only one-sided fencing);

5. Cutting or fixing iron material such as barbed wire (often in 2-4 rows) to the trees (fixing fences, railings, raised hides, pasture gates)

6. Lowering of near-surface groundwater levels and open waters. This means that the older root structures are cut off from a necessary water supply and either take care of or dry out;

7. Overploughing, ploughing and complete ploughing, deep ploughing;

8. Scorching of the embankments from old grass, previous year’s perennials and wood debris;

9. Burning by means of brushwood heap fire, tires with diesel waste oil, stubble fire burning too close or Easter fire whose flames are pressed against the trees by the wind;

10. Pruning of trees on one or both side(s) up to a height of 10 metres and higher, thereby causing clogging and exposing cover and breeding sites without protection against the weather (Oldenburg district: “4m height, at most up to crown base”)

11. Reduction of the hedge profile through automatic ‘bush chipper’ (with numerous serious cracks) and trunk cutter (soil compaction, tyre track and breakage);

12. Radical deforestation of all woods;

13. Spraying the cut stumps with pesticides of all kinds ( poisoning ), especially with herbicides in overdose;

14. Deposition of trees, shrubs, branches, brushwood, heaps of leaves (overfertilisation);

15. Dumping of wild garbage, siloplanes, discarded agricultural machinery, rubble, silage and hay residues, sand, stones, excavated earth, manure heaps, rotting straw big bales, rubber tyres, chemical and oil residues;

16. Storage of silage and beet heaps on or near the hedge;

17. Creation of passages;

18. Removal of the embankment floor for backfilling of mudflats and ponds, raising of depressions or land-cleared coupling areas;

19. Digging up and levelling certain areas of the plot with heavy machinery (bulldozer, front loader, hydraulic excavator);

20. Complete or partial removal (grinding) of the hedges over the entire length for the construction of building plots, for road, water and other construction measures;

21. Incorrect urban land use planning

22. Incorrect decisions by the authorities

23. Planting of ornamental shrubs and other non-native plants;

24. Half-sided care measures ( put on the stick ).

25. Installation of riding hurdles

All the listed damage factors can be effectively countered – usually without great effort – by doing without them or by initiating dismantling and damping measures.


The adjacent drawing is helpful for assessing walls. The individual rampart gradients are shown in six steps.
a. very good wall;
b. good rampart, lightly grazed;
c. medium rampart, grazed and slightly overgrazed;
d. sufficient wall, grazed and overgrazed;
e. bad wall, heavily overgrazed;
f. very bad wall, completely overgrazed only earth fragments visible.
The left side of the cross-sectional drawing always faces the pasture area. The dimensions refer to hedges of the Oldenburg district.

Wall hedge key:

In order to determine Wallhecken reliably, I have developed the following Wallheckenbestimmungsklüssel as well as a new Wallhecken Erfassungsbogen which is computer-fairly arranged.
Wall hedges – Yes or No?
Is the hedge/ the location shown in one of the following maps:
• a. in the Vogteikarte of 1792?
• b. in a map of the division of common property between 1800 and 1845?
• c. in the original hand-drawn or parish maps for the first national survey between 1820 and 1860?
• d. in the first Prussian topographic survey of 1898/1900 (1:25,000)?
• e. in the topographic maps ( 1:25,000) of this century?
• f. in the German base map ( 1: 5000) of this century?

Is there a rampart with or without vegetation, no matter what the apex height and condition?

Is there a clearly visible rampart with trees or bushes (even only occasionally)? It should correspond as far as possible with at least one of the illustrations on the reverse side of the hedge hedge registration sheet marked “A-D” (page 7).

If fragments of a rampart with or without vegetation are present, there are individual trees or shrubs which indicate a former rampart.
If there is an elongated, up to approx. 4-metre wide elevation (rudimentary) and a few centimetres high, with or without trees and shrubs standing in a row (see Figure E. and F. on page 7)
Are the roots or root attachments (root necks, see page 147 ff. Wall hedge book) of older trees exposed (“stilt roots” visible), especially in oak, alder, birch, hornbeam, rarely also copper beech and pine, or are there still isolated bushes, e.g. blackthorn, hawthorn, holly, which can also be fierce, but a wall no longer exists?

Are there hedges (without rampart), even those that are only preserved in sections, with a minimum age of 60 years.

Are there still trunks of trees that have been cut down.

If the area in question is shown on one of the maps mentioned under (1 a-f) and a question of ( 2-8) is answered with “yes”, the hedge is definitely identified. The same applies if two questions from the complex (2-8) or only question (3) can be answered with “yes”. If only one of the questions (4-8) is correct, this is usually a reliable indication of an existing wall hedge. If a wall hedge is shown in the maps (1a-f), but none of the questions (2-8) can be answered in the affirmative, then this is also a reliable indication of a wall hedge that was once present there. If no question applies, then a wall hedge is not provable.

According to this key even the untrained employee is able to recognize and classify most of the wall hedges. Whoever works according to this key will very quickly notice how comparatively easy it is to recognize wall hedges. Nevertheless, field biological uncertainties cannot be excluded. They should be cleared up in conversation with experts in this type of biotope. This is better than passing on false information


Not only is the correct approach to wall hedges important, but also the mapping or evaluation of wall hedges in order to derive the need for protection. However, we should be careful not to consider wall hedges, which are only fragmentarily present in the landscape and therefore receive a poor evaluation, as inferior. This hedge is protected without restriction in the same way as a fully intact hedge. Only about 4 – 6% of the wall hedges occurring today are still completely intact. Expressed in figures, this is only 1,200 km in Lower Saxony. Not many of the 153,000 km of fully intact hedgerows that existed in the middle of the 19th century are left.

On the basis of my field-tested hedge registration sheet, I have developed a new sheet, which simplifies the registration of hedges considerably and allows more precise statements about the condition of the hedges. This recording sheet is based on a semi-quantitative evaluation principle and is divided into nine sections.

At the beginning are the general data date, photo, location etc. This is followed by the macroscopic recording. In paragraph 1 (wall recording) the rough recording is carried out.
In paragraph 2 (wall condition stages) the wall is recorded with regard to its condition (A-F), according to the drawing shown on page 7. In the third paragraph (Wall dimensions) the dimensions of the wall are entered. The fourth paragraph (wall vegetation/hedgerow type) allows the classification of the hedge type from A-F and the recording of trees and shrubs

In the 5th paragraph (ditch at the rampart available) a possibly existing ditch is entered.
One of the most important paragraphs is section 6 (Damage to hedges); here 31 possible damages are listed. Under Miscellaneous, an additional, not pre-conceived damage can be entered. The 7th paragraph (property condition / walled property areas) serves to record the respective property condition, always seen from the inner side of the rampart. In paragraph 8 the points evaluation and classification is carried out. Paragraph 9 (remarks) leaves enough space for other conditions not covered here.

On the back of the registration sheet, drawings are shown to help the mapper classify the rampart and its vegetation. It is useful because all data are coded and can be completely recorded and evaluated in a computer. Due to its point system, the condition of the hedge is objectively very well defined. In addition, it is possible to integrate older mapping results into the wall hedge recording sheet in order to be able to carry out a solid evaluation and analysis of a wall hedge stand. It is also interesting that also not particularly qualified employees are able to record hedgerows after a short briefing. Since the sheet contains all necessary criteria, these then only need to be ticked off. Time-consuming paperwork is thus minimized on site.
It is possible to enter various data such as district, owner, the course in DGK 1:5000 etc. at the desk in advance. In addition, the sheet is structured in such a way that the different data entry criteria are grouped in blocks to avoid time-consuming jumping back and forth while entering in the sheet. A practice-oriented data entry sheet helps to save a lot of time and must be designed in such a way that errors in data entry are excluded as far as possible. At the same time, it should be able to provide the evaluator with all necessary data quickly and clearly; the data must be retrievable quickly and reliably by data processing. I believe that this sheet meets these criteria. The recording of the wall hedge is carried out on a property-related basis. Without further ado, it can happen that if a property is completely surrounded by ramparts, a sheet has to be filled in for each side of the property. The aim is to achieve a uniform mapping, classification and evaluation of the hedges.


A “hedge” is a dense, linear, living and mostly planted plantation of trees and shrubs standing in a row (“living fence”), which very often serves as a property fence. The height and width of the hedge is not fixed. These are distinguished by the height of the hedge, the location, the type of wood, the type of planting and the wood treatment. The origin of the hedge goes back to probably 1.8 million years ago.

The ground level hedge is only called “hedge”, the hedge standing on a rampart is called “wall hedge”, the hedge standing on a wall is called “wall hedge” and the hedge consisting of branches (dead wood) or dry shrubs is called “dry shrub hedge” or “dead wood hedge”.

high hedge 2-6 m high

The hedge consisting only of shrubs is called “shrub hedge”, if the shrubs are bent, braided, bent or laid, they are “bent”, “braided”, “bent” or “laid hedges”. If the hedges are only 0.1-1 m high, they are called “low hedges”, they are 1.1-3 m high as “low hedges”, from a height of 3.1-6 m as “high hedges”, above that as “tree hedges”. Only trees or shrubs scattered in a row and standing alone are called “single trees” or “single shrubs”. “Clipped hedges”, “cross hedges” etc. belong to the plant styles. If the hedge consists mainly of e.g. red beech or hawthorn, it is called a “red beech” or “hawthorn hedge”, etc.

Hedges are divided into seven main categories
Live hedges Dead or dry shrub hedges
Ground level hedges
Earth wall hedges
Earthstone wall hedges
Wall or field wall hedges
Peat wall hedges
The dead or dry shrub hedge is again divided into at least 5 further categories.

Low hedge 0.3-1.0 m high

The living hedges are divided into at least 4 sub-categories (vegetation types), depending on the height of the trees and shrubs, and into more than 250 different hedge styles.
Growth types
Low hedges: The low hedge consists of shrubs cut back several times a year from above and the side, which are about 0.3-1 m high and up to 3 m wide. It is space-saving, but often requires very extensive care. The wind is hardly or not at all slowed down and the diversity of species is rather limited.

Hedging down: The low hedge is 1-2 m high and up to 3 m wide. It consists of shrubs and trees cut back annually. It is space-saving, but requires annual pruning, which is costly. The wind is hardly slowed down and the diversity of species is rather limited in hedges that are less than 1 m wide and only 1 m high. If the hedges are wider and higher than 1 m, species diversity increases proportionally with the hedge width.

Tree hedge over 6 m high

High hedges: They reach a height of 2-6 m, the width is about 5 m and more, depending on pruning measures. High hedges consist of shrubs and often of young or low trees. They slow down the wind, provide firewood and give a distinctive structure to the landscape. Depending on the type of shrub, pruning takes place at a rhythm of about 10-15 years. If, for example, hazelnut, hawthorn and elderberry are used, pruning is usually not carried out because these shrubs hardly ever grow higher than 6 metres. The biodiversity is very high.

Tree hedges with dense shrub cover: Tree hedges consist of rows of trees, the height and width of which depend on the respective tree and shrub cover. They have dense shrub vegetation and produce timber, are wind-breaking, can serve as a screen and structure the landscape. They have an exceptionally high biodiversity.

Low hedge 1.2 m high