BN5: Hedgerow laying

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

How much will be paid

£9.40 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
  • formed 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.

Requirement

  • 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
  • partially cut through stems near ground level, laying the pleachers (cut stems) over at an angle from horizontal to form a stock-proof barrier
  • remove the uncut heel from each pleacher
  • keep pleachers in position by crooking, staking, or staking and binding
  • keep all existing hedgerow trees
  • remove all cut material 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 laying, allowing the hedge to become taller and wider at each cut

Do not:

  • lay hedges downhill
  • 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 laying
  • the dates of post-laying 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:

  • photographs of 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 items and supplements:

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:

  • has few gaps and enough stems to lay to achieve a continuous length of hedge
  • has stems between 5cm to 15cm in diameter - however, it is possible to cut larger stems with a chainsaw
  • is tall enough to lay (at least 2.5m, and ideally 4m)

Hedge laying

To undertake hedge laying successfully:

  • only cut using hand-tools (including chainsaws)
  • lay the hedge in the regional style
  • cut each stem as low as possible (no more than 10cm from the ground)
  • choose stems which when laid do not leave large gaps
  • protect the newly laid hedge from damage by grazing animals - rabbit fencing may be needed if local populations are high
  • leave as much side growth on the branches as possible
  • lay stems at an angle of about 35 to 45 degrees from horizontal
  • keep any existing trees and leave the occasional ‘standard’ hawthorn or other species if this fits in with the local landscape
  • keep deadwood where possible
  • plant up gaps using native species to improve the continuity of the hedge

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 laid stems by competing for soil moisture, nutrients and light.

Encourage dense bushy growth of the newly laid hedge by:

  • trimming lightly for 3 years
  • never cutting back to the same point, but 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 laying or coppicing, or be managed by trimming.  

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