Cutting Native Farm Hedging is neither arduous nor difficult – it is inherently low-maintenance. It does not even have to be undertaken every year…
Cutting Native Farm Hedging
When: The best time for cutting Native Farm Hedging is in January or February. If ground conditions make this difficult, dangerous or impossible, then cut as late as possible in autumn. At both these times, wildlife will not be active in the hedge – and if you wait until winter, wildlife will have had the opportunity to make use of the nuts and berries.
Equipment: As to what you use to cut – the varieties have been selected in part for their ability to withstand the shock of being cut with flails – so they will certainly take electric garden sheers in their stride.
Low-Maintenance: Farm Hedging, though, is extremely low-maintenance and does not have to be trimmed every year – you can trim every two or even every three years if you are happy with the consequential spread and greater informality. But what some may call ‘untidy’ will greatly benefit wildlife and, in any case, Farm Hedging is primarily practical and its attractiveness comes from its natural appearance, not imposed geometrical precision. We have Yew, Hornbeam and Privet etc. for that.
NB: HEDGE CUTTING ON AGRICULTURE LAND
Strict restrictions apply to the cutting and trimming of hedges and trees on designated agricultural land. For 2016 the ban extends from 1st March to 1st September, though “The NFU worked with Defra and the RPA to clarify the process of obtaining a derogation to cut hedges in the month of August, which is allowed within this standard. This flexibility was achieved following strong NFU lobbying.” More information can be found on the NFU website.
These rules do not apply to gardens, private paddocks and other non-agricultural land, though it remains an offence for anyone to disturb nesting birds in any situation. No hedge should be cut between March and August.