Hedge, a fence formed of living bushes or small trees planted close together and used in agriculture and gardening, both as a means of protection and as a method of decoration. In some countries hedges are in general use; in others - e.g. France, Germany, and America - they are almost unknown. They are probably commoner in Great Britain, especially England, than in any other part of the world. Before the 17th century, however, they were not much used in agriculture, for under the old system of tillage, called the "three-field system," a "township" was divided into three strips, one of which lay fallow, while in each of the others a different crop was grown, and the land assigned to each individual consisted of plots distributed indiscriminately among the three strips; these small plots were separated only by balks, and it was not till the common-fields gave way to j the practice of enclosing land that hedges became j common. A very interesting summary of the advantages of "quicksettynge, dychynge, and' hedgyng," is given in Fitzherbert's Book of Sur-i veying (1539). In England hedges are usually made of hawthorn, excepting in lofty and exposeeta situations, where the elder and mountain ash thrive better. These afford the required shelter, but are" less serviceable as a means of repelling intruded.
The other plants used include the beech, crabapple, and blackthorn; while ornamental hedges are made of holly, yew, privet, arbor vitse, barberry, etc.