Blackthorn suckers must be sedulously extirpated

“In Scotland, by tying the young shoots with bands of hay, they make the stems grow so very close together, as that it encloseth rabbets in warrens instead of pales: And for this robust use we shall prefer the blackthorn; the extravagant suckers which are apt to rise at distance from the hedge-line, being sedulously extirpated, that the rest may grow the stronger and thicker.”

John Evelyn, 1664

Evelyn records the practice in Scottish rabbit farms of using natural hedges instead of fencing to control the animals. He describes how the suckers that grow vigorously from blackthorn Prunus spinosa must be “sedulously extirpated”, meaning diligently removed, so that those in the hedge itself thrive.

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