BN6: Hedgerow coppicing

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the hedgerow coppicing item.

How much will be paid

£4 per metre (m).

Where to use this item

Available for Mid Tier, Higher Tier and hedgerows and boundaries grant

Only on planted boundary lines of shrubs that are:

  • over 20m long
  • less than 5m wide between major woody stems at the base
  • composed of at least 80% native shrubs

How this item will benefit the environment

If successful there will be lengths of hedgerow rejuvenated with new growth to form a continuous hedge.

Requirements

  • carry out work between 30 September and 31 March when the hedge is still dormant
  • remove old fencing and wire
  • cut and pull out bramble, clematis or other scrambling plants
  • cut out elder plants and prevent re-growth of stumps
  • encourage vigorous re-growth from the base of the plant by cutting the stems down to ground level (less than 10cm)
  • angle cuts so that water can easily run off
  • keep all existing hedgerow trees
  • cuttings can be placed over newly coppiced stools to prevent browsing by livestock or wild animals, or to leave dead wood for wildlife; however, they must not prevent new growth
  • remove all unused cut branches from the immediate site after completion of the work
  • control weeds during the first growing season after laying
  • prevent livestock and grazing animals from damaging the hedge by setting fencing at least 1.2m from the centre of the hedge, or, if there is a bank, as close to the base of the bank as possible
  • trim the hedge for 3 years after coppicing, allowing the hedge to become taller and wider at each cut

Do not:

  • obstruct or block access to open access land
  • disturb breeding birds

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • any consents or permissions connected with the work
  • receipted invoices, or bank statements where a receipted invoice is unavailable
  • the date, location and method of any weed control undertaken
  • the dates of preparation works and coppicing
  • the dates of post-coppicing trimming
  • please see the record keeping and inspection requirements as set out in the Mid Tier manual for more detail

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them with the claim:

  • photographs of the completed work

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

  • a photograph of the each length of hedge entered into the item
  • a map showing the location of existing hedgerow trees in each length of hedge (this can be the FER)

This item can be used on the same length as the following supplement:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out the item successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this item.

Pick the right hedge

Use the hedgerow management cycle to help decide what management is needed.

Choose a hedge which:

  • is gappy and has too few stems to lay
  • has stems too large to lay (more than 15cm diameter)
  • is too short to lay (less than 2.5m tall) Most woody species coppice well, stimulating dense growth from the cut stems, apart from:
  • holly
  • mature beech
  • mature hawthorn which is showing signs of rot

Hedge coppicing

To undertake hedge coppicing successfully:

  • keep any existing trees and leave the occasional ‘standard’ hawthorn or other species when this fits in with the local landscape
  • keep deadwood where possible
  • plant up gaps at the same time as coppicing to improve the continuity of the hedge - plant native species that already occur in hedgerows in the local area
  • protect the newly coppiced hedge from damage by grazing animals - rabbit fencing may be needed if local populations are high

Fencing may only need to be temporary and in place for as long as it takes the hedge to grow sufficiently.

Hedge management

Control competitive weeds (including brambles, nettles and grasses) during the first growing season. These weeds reduce the re-growth rate of the coppiced stems by competing for soil moisture, nutrients and light.

Encourage dense bushy growth of the newly coppiced hedge by:

  • trimming lightly for 3 years
  • never cutting back to the same point, instead allowing the hedge to gradually increase in height and width by several centimetres at each cut.

In following years the hedge can either be left to grow unchecked until it requires coppicing or laying, or be managed by trimming.   *[FER]: Farm Environment Record

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