BN11: Planting new hedges

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

How much will be paid

£11.60 per metre (m).

Where to use this item

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Only on:

  • sites of former hedgerows - as evidenced by historic maps or other records, or
  • sites where creation would extend or link existing lengths of hedgerow, or
  • sites where creation will help reduce soil erosion and runoff

How this item will benefit the environment

If successful there will be new lengths of hedgerow planted with locally occurring native species.


  • 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 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
  • 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

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:

  • photographs to show the planned location for each length of hedge planting
  • historic map or other records to evidence 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 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. Planting

To undertake hedge planting 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

Other native shrub species used should be 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.

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 are difficult to remove.

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.

See the Mid Tier manual or Higher Tier manual or hedgerows and boundaries grant manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 10 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated for 2017 applications.
  2. Information updated for applications in 2016.
  3. First published.