Hedges are an important feature of our landscape. Well managed hedges provide food and shelter for wildlife and a barrier to livestock. Hedges also help stop the spread of disease and provide shelter for livestock. However, many hedges are in poor condition or may have gaps due to damage or neglect. A positive programme of replanting or interplanting will help restore a hedge and improve its value to wildlife and the landscape. Agri-environment scheme participants can receive funding for field boundary restoration.
The best time to plant and restore field boundary hedgerows on the farm is from November to March, so there is still time to plant a hedge. If you are replanting a field boundary this year careful planning will help you the establish hedge plants and make sure you comply with your scheme requirements.
If you are a participant in the Countryside Management Scheme or Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme with start dates before 2008 check your agreement to find out how much planting to carry out. If you are in the NI Countryside Management Scheme (NICMS) check your scheme agreement for your maximum allowance. NICMS participants claim for field boundary restoration work on the Single Application Form and it is important you only claim for the length of hedgerow restored during this claim year.
The hedge should be composed of 75% hawthorn, the remaining 25 percent of hedge should be a mix of at least five other native woody species such as hazel, guelder rose, holly, dog rose, or blackthorn randomly planted along the full length of the hedge. Each metre of newly planted hedge should contain approximately eight plants.