BN7: Hedgerow gapping-up

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the hedgerow gapping-up item.

How much will be paid

£9.50 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

Where this item cannot be used

On lengths of hedge managed under the BE3 - Management of hedgerows option.

How this item will benefit the environment

If successful there will be lengths of hedgerow with gaps planted up to create a continuous length of hedge.


  • carry out work between 1 November and 31 March when the hedge is still dormant
  • prepare the ground along a 1.5m wide strip to provide good soil conditions and as little competition from other vegetation as possible
  • apply any herbicide to the 1.5m strip in the August or September prior to planting only
  • Plants must be:
    • 2-year-old transplants
    • at least 450mm to 600mm high
    • native species, with no one species making up more than 70% of the total
    • planted in a staggered double row 40cm apart with a minimum of 6 plants per metre
    • kept clear of weeds until they are established
  • 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
  • remove individual guards and tree shelters once the plants are established
  • replace all failures in the following planting season

Do not:

  • obstruct or block access to open access land

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 planting
  • details of age, height and species planted
  • 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

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 this item successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this item.

When to plant

November is generally the best time to plant; however, if planting into clay soils wait until March. Planting should not be undertaken in freezing weather or waterlogged ground. If planting into a newly restored earth bank, plant the following autumn.


To undertake hedge gapping-up successfully:

  • prepare the ground so the soil becomes friable (has a crumbly texture) and is free of other growth
  • plant native species that already grow in the local area
  • take care of roots before planting by keeping them covered at all times, especially when it is sunny or windy
  • avoid opening more than one bag of plants at a time

Consider planting new hedgerow trees if they are characteristic of the local landscape.

Control weeds

Control competitive weeds (including brambles, nettles and grasses) during the first growing season. These weeds reduce the growth rate of the new plants by competing for soil moisture, nutrients and light. Avoid using a strimmer as these can damage the plants.

Protect the plants

Fence off the plants if sheep, cattle or horses graze the land. Keep fences far enough away so the hedgerow can grow at least 1.5m in width.

Rabbit netting may be needed, either on its own or with stock fencing, if there is a known problem with rabbits or hares.

Avoid using spiral guards as they limit the amount of dense growth at the base of each plant, are unsightly and difficult to remove.  

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information, eg your National Insurance number or credit card details.