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Author Topic: What hedge to help block out road noise?  (Read 561 times)

JedM

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • East Anglia
What hedge to help block out road noise?
« on: December 20, 2018, 07:37:05 am »
Hi,
I am wanting to plant a new hedge this winter in front of a 5 foot close board fence.  I want to let the hedge grow to about 8 foot and to act as sound barrier to the road noise.
Laurel has been suggested to me as good option to go for, the ground is heavy clay, but I like the idea of a willow hedge.  I understand willow  will grow fast - will it make a thick hedge?  I prefer the look of willow which is why I've been attracted to it, but is this a sensible option?
Voss Electric Fence

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2018, 09:02:56 am »
One thing... willow is deciduous, so there will be no leaves in winter, and hence less road noise damping.  Laurel is evergreen.

Other traditional options are beech and hornbeam.  Both deciduous, but if the hedge is close cropped every summer, the leaves will stay on through the winter - especially as yours is protected by a fence.

One other point - laurel is poisonous to livestock, although it doesn’t sound as though that’s an issue in this location.

We won’t mention the other evergreen hedging plant which begins with ‘l’ ...  :innocent:

Edited to add.... Ooh, but if livestock isn’t an issue, what about yew?  Slower growing but evergreen, pretty berries, lots of surface area...
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

JedM

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • East Anglia
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2018, 12:28:19 pm »
Oh, I hadn't thought about willow losing its leaves  :roflanim:

Livestock isn't a problem (unless my sheep escape their field  :thinking:)

I think Laurel is the best option then - yew looks good if its trimmed neatly!

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2018, 06:18:14 pm »
Holly?

Holly and beech mixed looks good too.

henchard

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Carmarthenshire
    • Two Retirees Start a New Life in Wales
    • Facebook
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2018, 01:37:19 pm »
Sorry to say that genarally a hedge won't block out much noise. It may have a physiological effect if you can't see the source of the noise but unless very tall and very thick will have little effect on the measured noise; particularly the lower frequencies

Bunds and solid fences are the most effective but they must be tall enough to block a line of sight from the highest point of the receiver and the source of the noise,
There is a pdf download on the subject here that may prove useful

https://www.trees.org.uk/Trees.org.uk/files/8c/8c69f212-a82e-424b-96d1-c8ff6dc02403.pdf

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2018, 02:23:04 pm »
I like the 'willow wall' idea Henchard, but I think for cost and speed offset rows of Laurel would work well. Saw a house a few years back and they had a Laurel hedge 5 metres wide and tall- but I bet it was 20 years old, so it's not going to be a quick solution. We are surrounded by oak woodland here, perhaps 100 metres wide. As soon as the leaves drop we can hear traffic, otherwise it is completely silent, so the leaves make a huge difference.

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2018, 11:27:31 pm »
Hi,
I am wanting to plant a new hedge this winter in front of a 5 foot close board fence.  I want to let the hedge grow to about 8 foot and to act as sound barrier to the road noise.
Laurel has been suggested to me as good option to go for, the ground is heavy clay, but I like the idea of a willow hedge.  I understand willow  will grow fast - will it make a thick hedge?  I prefer the look of willow which is why I've been attracted to it, but is this a sensible option?
I'd definitely recommend laurels for a clay ground as clay has all the nutrients they need
 You can take cuttings of soft wood right now  cut just below where this years growth turns to a light reddish brown just below the next leaf bud  grow in cheap plastic buckets with drilled drainage holes after dipping in rooting compound  make cutting about 15 inches long . strip of leaves below the 7 inch depth and snip across the top of the cutting so 5 inches is above the ground .  when they are 2 foot tall  gently cut the bucket off and slip the balled rooted plant in a pre dug wetted & manured hole .
 Plant the shrubs about 4 feet apart and use a hedge trimmer to build the wall . If you want a really thick hedge stagger two rows four feet apart if you have the room

Note
Laurels can grown to 30 foot tall or so if left to their own devices over 15 years . Laurel leaves that fall are far easier to rake up than wet soggy deciduous leaves or pine needle fall .
 

Willow is frowned upon when it comes to selling your house as it dries out the ground  so much ..     I think it is looked on as a no no if less than 60 feet from the dwelling as it will damage the foundations if you are not careful.
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2018, 11:40:11 pm »
I like the 'willow wall' idea Henchard, but I think for cost and speed offset rows of Laurel would work well. Saw a house a few years back and they had a Laurel hedge 5 metres wide and tall- but I bet it was 20 years old, so it's not going to be a quick solution. We are surrounded by oak woodland here, perhaps 100 metres wide. As soon as the leaves drop we can hear traffic, otherwise it is completely silent, so the leaves make a huge difference.

 In four years a single stolen bucket grown cutting is well over 7  feet tall in my back garden and almost as wide . Re the noise angle  I stayed at a caravan CL in Breadsall Derbyshire on & off for six weeks ( had to move off site at 28 days for 24 hrs ) . It had a simple wrought iron stock fence and inside that were 18 foot tall laurels planted about one every eight feet ( culled out from four feet spacings perhaps )  no banking / bunds  .

On the other side of the laurels is the main dual carriage way into Derby .. you could hardly hear it as individual vehicle save for the odd blues & twos  on its errand of urgency ,  it was much more like a long muted gentle snore sound  . It didn't bother me nor my lass or the couple sleeping out in our awning ….  it was so quiet.
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2018, 12:31:34 pm »
Sorry to say that genarally a hedge won't block out much noise. It may have a physiological effect if you can't see the source of the noise but unless very tall and very thick will have little effect on the measured noise; particularly the lower frequencies

Bunds and solid fences are the most effective but they must be tall enough to block a line of sight from the highest point of the receiver and the source of the noise,
There is a pdf download on the subject here that may prove useful

https://www.trees.org.uk/Trees.org.uk/files/8c/8c69f212-a82e-424b-96d1-c8ff6dc02403.pdf
Sorry to disagree but it definitely does!!  I have leylandii down both sides of my property and if they weren't there the bypass road and heavy goods train railway noise on either side would be intolerable. There is a considerable difference between the front of the house where there is only a fence, and the back with the trees.  Some of them have been trimmed to 15 feet with the effect of allowing more light in but no reduced effect on noise.. 
And it isn't psychological .  We have had Network Rail here with sound monitors.

I would suggest leylands as being fast growing but make sure you stop them at the required height.  They will thicken up below that.  We did that in a previous house, but here they were already too tall to manage and are now at their maximum height of 40 feet.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 12:33:13 pm by doganjo »
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2018, 05:59:46 pm »
I’d thought we’d said...


We won’t mention the other evergreen hedging plant which begins with ‘l’ ...  :innocent:


Lol


Personally I’d always use a native species if I possibly can, but that’s a personal preference. 

I’ve lived with neighbours’ Leylandii hedges creating a barren wasteland behind them and couldn’t ever bring myself to plant one, but I do agree they’re fast growing and therefore will damp the noise quicker than other options.  But you’ll have to live with the hedge for many decades, so if it were me, I’d accept a bit longer of a wait for the full hedge but then have a thing of beauty to love for the rest of my days.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

JedM

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • East Anglia
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2018, 08:39:57 am »
Thanks for all the replies.

I'd have to agree too, that leaves do help dampen road noise.  In our old house, we lived on an A road, but had beech hedge and a number of trees between us and the road.  We would never notice the road in the summer, but it was a lot louder in the winter.

Isn't leylandii and yew similar?

I think 2 rows of laurel would work well to create a thick hedge in a few years!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2018, 09:14:15 am »


Isn't leylandii and yew similar?



In that they have needles, so a large surface area of leaf to help dampen noise, yes.   And both are evergreen. And I guess there’s no a lot grows under a yew either.  But they’re very slow growing and take very well to shaping / topiary (especially the Irish yew, I think), so can be made into a very dense hedge over a period of years.  And they’re native. ;)

In our old house, we lived on an A road, but had beech hedge and a number of trees between us and the road.  We would never notice the road in the summer, but it was a lot louder in the winter.

In Wiltshire, beech hedges are very common.  If they’re trimmed in summer, the leaves will stay on through the winter.  Unless they’re in a very exposed, windy situation, I guess.  Same goes for hornbeam.  We used to have a hornbeam hedge at a rented house in Wiltshire, and the landowner kept it well maintained.  You could never see through it.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

henchard

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Carmarthenshire
    • Two Retirees Start a New Life in Wales
    • Facebook
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2018, 01:09:00 pm »

 Sorry to disagree but it definitely does!!  I have leylandii down both sides of my property and if they weren't there the bypass road and heavy goods train railway noise on either side would be intolerable. There is a considerable difference between the front of the house where there is only a fence, and the back with the trees.  Some of them have been trimmed to 15 feet with the effect of allowing more light in but no reduced effect on noise.. 
And it isn't psychological .
Ah, what do I know. I only studied acoustics as part of my course at Liverpool Polytechnic and was Principal Environmental Health Officer responsible noise control at several UK local authorities.

What does Greg Watts, Professor of Transport Acoustics at the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire know either, who states

'To be effective as a barrier, planting has to consist of very dense evergreens, clothed right to the ground, and at least 25-30ft thick. Even then, you may get only a 25 per cent reduction in noise.'

See

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/4791590/Making-the-sound-barrier.html

or perhaps read his paper in Applied Acoustics Magazine in 1999
which can be downloaded here

https://www.academia.edu/20571346/The_effects_of_vegetation_on_the_perception_of_traffic_noise

The effects of vegetation on the perception of traffic noise

Greg Watts, Linda Chinn, Nigel Godfrey
Safety and Environment Resource Centre, Transport Research Laboratory
which in the conclusion states
The results suggest that narrow belts of trees and shrubs should not be used for noise screening purposes in the belief that although they provide little physical noise reduction they improve the perception of the noise through the mediating effect of improved visual appearance. The visual screening provided actually increases sensitivity to noise resulting in higher than expected subjective assessments of noisiness.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
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Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2018, 05:09:57 pm »
I’d thought we’d said...


We won’t mention the other evergreen hedging plant which begins with ‘l’ ...  :innocent:


Lol


Personally I’d always use a native species if I possibly can, but that’s a personal preference. 

I’ve lived with neighbours’ Leylandii hedges creating a barren wasteland behind them and couldn’t ever bring myself to plant one, but I do agree they’re fast growing and therefore will damp the noise quicker than other options.  But you’ll have to live with the hedge for many decades, so if it were me, I’d accept a bit longer of a wait for the full hedge but then have a thing of beauty to love for the rest of my days.
There again I have to disagree, I have a lovely display of yellow lilies beneath my leylands
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: What hedge to help block out road noise?
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2018, 05:13:55 pm »

 Sorry to disagree but it definitely does!!  I have leylandii down both sides of my property and if they weren't there the bypass road and heavy goods train railway noise on either side would be intolerable. There is a considerable difference between the front of the house where there is only a fence, and the back with the trees.  Some of them have been trimmed to 15 feet with the effect of allowing more light in but no reduced effect on noise.. 
And it isn't psychological .
Ah, what do I know. I only studied acoustics as part of my course at Liverpool Polytechnic and was Principal Environmental Health Officer responsible noise control at several UK local authorities.

What does Greg Watts, Professor of Transport Acoustics at the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire know either, who states

'To be effective as a barrier, planting has to consist of very dense evergreens, clothed right to the ground, and at least 25-30ft thick. Even then, you may get only a 25 per cent reduction in noise.'

See

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/4791590/Making-the-sound-barrier.html

or perhaps read his paper in Applied Acoustics Magazine in 1999
which can be downloaded here

https://www.academia.edu/20571346/The_effects_of_vegetation_on_the_perception_of_traffic_noise

The effects of vegetation on the perception of traffic noise

Greg Watts, Linda Chinn, Nigel Godfrey
Safety and Environment Resource Centre, Transport Research Laboratory
which in the conclusion states
The results suggest that narrow belts of trees and shrubs should not be used for noise screening purposes in the belief that although they provide little physical noise reduction they improve the perception of the noise through the mediating effect of improved visual appearance. The visual screening provided actually increases sensitivity to noise resulting in higher than expected subjective assessments of noisiness.
Perhaps my clay soil and belief in miracles have changed all those rules - Happy Christmas to you too  :excited: :excited:  :roflanim:
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

 

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