BN11: Planting new hedges

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the planting new hedges item.

How much will be paid

£22.97 per metre (m). The payment rate is for the total length of boundary under the option (not for each side of the boundary).

Where to use this item

It is available for Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier, Higher Tier and Capital Grants only on one of the following:

  • sites of former hedgerows - as shown on historic maps or other records
  • sites where creation would extend or link existing lengths of hedgerow
  • sites where creation will help reduce soil erosion and runoff
  • sites close to slurry or digestate stores, livestock housing or free-range areas for poultry or pigs where creation will help capture ammonia emissions
  • can only be used when the applicant has “management control” of both sides of the boundary.

How this item will benefit the environment

There will be new lengths of hedgerow planted with locally occurring native species.


You must:

  • carry out work between 1 November and 31 March
  • 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 450 millimetres (mm) to 600mm high
    • native species, with no one species making up more than 70% of the total
    • planted in a staggered double row 40 centimetres (cm) apart with a minimum of 6 plants per metre
    • kept clear of weeds until they are established
  • remove individual guards and tree shelters once the plants are established
  • replace all failures in the following planting season
  • trim the newly planted hedge in at least the first 2 years to encourage bushy growth, allowing the hedge to become taller and wider at each cut
  • 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

Do not:

Keeping records

You must send the following with your application:

  • historic map or other records to show that the proposed location of the hedge planting is on an original footprint or extends existing hedges or contributes to the reduction of soil erosion and run-off - this can be marked on any map including the Farm Environment Record (FER)

You must keep the following records and supply them with your payment claim:

  • photographs of the completed work

You must 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
  • photographs to show the planned location for each length of hedge planting

Please see the record keeping and inspection requirements as set out in the relevant Mid Tier, Higher Tier or Capital Grants guidance for more detail. You can find the latest guidance at Countryside Stewardship: get funding to protect and improve the land you manage.

You can use this item on the same length as the following supplement:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

The following advice is helpful, but they are not requirements for this item.

When to plant

The planting season typically runs from November to April, depending on weather events and local conditions. However, if you are planting into clay soils, wait until March. Do not plant in freezing weather or on waterlogged ground. If you are planting into a newly restored earth bank, plant the following autumn.


To plant a hedge 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

If the landscape is characterised by a single-species hedgerows then the planting mix should reflect this. If not, then one of the following species should make up at least 70% of the planting mix:

  • hawthorn
  • blackthorn
  • hazel

Use other native shrub species intermixed randomly with the main species, rather than planted in a block or blocks.

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.

If there is a known problem with rabbits or hares you may need rabbit netting, either on its own or with stock fencing.

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

Additional guidance and advice

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

This option can form part of an IPM approach to prevent the establishment of pests, weeds and diseases. If successful, appropriate and within proximity of cropped areas, these may limit the need for the use of Plant Protection Products and enhance wildlife and biodiversity on your holding. Read information on IPM at AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) Integrated Pest Management and LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming).


This item has been identified as being beneficial for biodiversity. All Countryside Stewardship habitat creation, restoration and management options are of great significance for biodiversity recovery, as are the wide range of arable options in the scheme. Capital items and supplements can support this habitat work depending on the holding’s situation and potential.

The connectivity of habitats is also very important and habitat options should be linked wherever possible. Better connectivity will allow wildlife to move/colonise freely to access water, food, shelter and breeding habitat, and will allow natural communities of both animals and plants to adapt in response to environmental and climate change.

Further information

New hedgerow planting can help control soil erosion and runoff. Hedgerows planted along contours will decrease slope length, reduce the force of surface flow, and encourage infiltration. Hedges planted alongside watercourses are also effective.

Look out for signs of soil damage and erosion such as capping, rilling and brown water runoff on long or steep slopes (particularly on sandy soils) and prioritise areas of high erosion risk, in particular areas adjacent to watercourses.

Read Countryside Stewardship: get funding to protect and improve the land you manage to find out more information about Mid Tier, Higher Tier and Capital Grants including how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 18 April 2024 + show all updates
  1. Update made to 'When to Plant' section.

  2. Removal of text confirming Planting new hedges availability under Countryside Stewardship Capital Grants (SFI pilot), as the SFI Capital offer is no longer available.

  3. 'Where to use this item' section updated to include detail on SFI pilot Hedgerows standard. 'Additional guidance and advice' section added to explain this option can form part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to prevent the establishment of pests, weeds and diseases.

  4. 'Air quality' added to Land use.

  5. Updated Where to use this item and how much will be paid.

  6. Added new bullet to 'Where to use this item'.

  7. The Requirements and Keeping records sections of this page have been updated.

  8. Updated for 2017 applications.

  9. Information updated for applications in 2016.

  10. First published.