Managing Hedgerows

What Is A Hedgerow?

  • A hedgerow is a row of shrubs or bushes that provide a border or boundary, with or without trees.
  • Defra states that, “Hedgerows play an important role on farms.”

The Role Of Hedgerows On Farms

  • Help prevent soil erosion.
  • Help to prevent water run off.
  • Provide shelter.
  • Help to control livestock.
  • Protect crops.
  • Provide habitat for wildlife.

Management And Maintenance Of Hedgerows

  • Hedgerows should be trimmed no more than every two years.
  • Slow growing thorn hedgerows can be trimmed every three years.
  • Avoid trimming all hedgerows in the same year.
  • Use a rotational cutting timetable to manage hedgerows.
  • Trim up to a third of the farm’s hedgerows in a year.
  • Hedgerows alongside roads and farm access tracks may need to be trimmed annually to avoid obstruction.
  • Newly planted hedgerows need a light trim annually for about 10 years.
  • Trimming must be avoided between 1st March and 31st July, as this is the main nesting season for birds.
  • Trimming of hedgerows should take place at the end of Winter or early Winter if land conditions are unsuitable at the end of the season.
  • Ground cover at the base of the hedgerow should be retained over Winter for ground nesting birds.
  • Hedgerows should not be over-trimmed or over-managed.
  • Livestock should be fenced away from hedgerows.
  • Field margins of uncultivated or ungrazed land should be maintained between the hedge and the crop.
  • Managing a range of different types and sizes of hedgerow will help to support a wide variety of wildlife.
  • Old hedgerow trees provide a habitat for a wide variety of insects and other animals and require protection and a long-term plan for replacement.

Did you Know?

  • Hedgerows are protected by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997.
  • Permission is required before removing hedges that are at least 20m in length, over 30 years old and contain certain species of plant.
  • Some hedgerows are protected on the basis of their historic importance or wildlife value.

Visit the Defra website for more information about hedgerows.

No Tags