Fence or boundary formed by a dense row of shrubs or low trees. Hedgerows enclose or separate fields, protect the soil from wind erosion, and serve to keep cattle and other livestock enclosed. To lay a hedge, the trunks of closely planted saplings of species suitable for hedgerows (e.g., hawthorn) are cut a good portion of the way through and the sapling laid down on the ground. New growth rises vertically, forming an impenetrable mesh of branches. In Britain, hedgerows have been a feature of the countryside since the enclosure movement and provide a habitat for numerous songbirds and small animals. As large-scale mechanized farming has become dominant, hedgerows are being removed to combine small fields into larger ones.
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