Good hedgerow management will support an abundance of insects, provide habitat for a range of birds and mammals and provide a rich supply of food for some species throughout the year.
Below are some guide lines in a series of ‘DOs and DON’Ts’ on best practice for maintaining andcutting hedgerows. The aim of the guidelines is to protect habitat, particularly for nesting birds, as well as the landscape feature provided by hedgerows.
Hedgerow cutting DOs:
DO trim in January to February to avoid destruction of bird’s nests.
DO add more species if your hedge has only one, e.g. Ivy, Clematis or Wild Honeysuckle, or add some Hedge-Bottom plants.
DO maintain a thick, dense cover at the base of the hedge to protect birds from predation and to provide additional habitat for small mammals and insects.
DO grow a variety of plants along the hedge bottom, e.g. Dog’s Violet, Garlic Mustard and Hedge Woundwort. It will become a wildlife haven!
Hedgerow cutting DON’Ts:
DON’T trim all hedges in the same year.
DON’T tidy up too much – leave leaf litter and seed heads to attract hedgehogs, birds, small mammals and insects.
DON’T trim the same hedges annually; trim on a 2 or 3 year rotation to ensure that thick nesting cover is available every year.
DON’T trim hedges during the peak nesting season (March to August).
The RSPB has more information on their website about hedges, including information on hedgerows and the law. If you are unsure about anything or have a question please contact Sam Tarrant.