Devon field boundaries: restoration standards for agri-environment schemes (TIN039)

Hedge trimming


Hedges managed by trimming should be trimmed no more than twice in every five years and this should be rotated to avoid cutting all the hedges in the same year. (If necessary, road-side hedges may be trimmed every year). This is because most trees and shrubs in hedgerows only produce flowers, nuts and berries on year old twigs meaning that cutting every year will deplete food and nectar supplies for insects, birds and mammals. A mixture of heights and widths will provide the best range of habitat.

Hedges should be trimmed to maintain a minimum height of 1 metre of shrubby growth where the hedge is on top of a bank (unless your agreement prescriptions specify otherwise). Never trim to exactly the same height each year as this removes all new shoots and results in the old stems becoming woody and brittle with little thickness at the base of the hedge. Instead, allow the hedge to become incrementally larger at each trim.

A percentage of hedges on each holding should be managed traditionally in preparation for laying. This involves allowing the tops to grow up, side trimming them only as necessary until they are at a suitable height and stem size to lay. For those hedges containing fast growing species (such as ash or sycamore) or where the hedge has been left untrimmed for more than three years, it is advisable to trim using a circular saw or cutter bar machine rather than a flail trimmer.

Trimming should ideally take place during January or February whenever possible, otherwise between October and February. Never cut during the bird nesting season, generally early March to end of July.


Figure 19 Hedge trimming in preparation for laying

Trimming should ideally take place during January or February whenever possible, otherwise between October and February. Never cut during the bird nesting season, generally early March to end of July.

Please note: hedgerows in the Higher Level Stewardship option 'Maintenance of hedgerows of very high environmental value (HB12)' should follow the trimming requirements in the agreement document. These will have been agreed with your local adviser, and set to suit the particular needs of an identified target species or to suit local landscape requirements.

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