Spring has truly sprung, with birdsong and light now accompanying our mornings. With a few weeks left of prime planting time and with local wildlife out of hibernation, how can you best support those living on your land with native hedges?
The benefits of hedgerows – for wildlife and land
In farmland or large areas of land, the natural barrier provided by native hedgerows are not only essential in keeping livestock where they need to be, but also an opportunity to support and nurture the local wildlife. For many species of birds, insects and small mammals, hedgerows are essential to survival, providing habitat and a natural ‘corridor’ for animals to travel safely.
There are numerous benefits to nurturing wildlife populations on your land too, as increased biodiversity results in improved agriculture productivity and regulation of ecosystem processes. In the face of environmental change, creating a strong and diverse environment is key to stability.
Choosing your plants
Native trees and shrubs are best for sustaining wildlife and creating habitats. The aim is to create a thick and bushy hedge with a mix of shrubs that provide flowers and berries. Species like hawthorn, blackthorn and hazel will create a thick hedge, while field maple, holly, wild privet, dog rose and buckthorn will add variety to your hedgerow.
The best way to start is by finding out what hedges grow naturally on your local landscape and complementing these with your own additions.
Finding the sweet spot
Considering your surroundings is vital – for your own land and the wildlife you are supporting. It’s important to take into account proximity to other habits and practicality when planting a hedgerow. And not all hedgerows have a positive impact by nature, ensuring you aren’t encroaching on or damaging other habitat in the planting is crucial.
Carrying out a survey of the land, taking local wildlife, livestock, planting and how the land is typically used into consideration will ensure you get the most out of your native hedgerow.