BE1: Protection of in-field trees on arable land

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the protection of in-field trees on arable land option.

How much will be paid

£420 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Part parcel

Only on:

  • arable land
  • temporary grassland
  • trees (dead or alive) at least 30cm diameter at breast height (dbh)

Where this option cannot be used

On a group or line of 4 or more trees whose canopies overlap.

How this option will benefit the environment

If successful, trees will be protected from agricultural operations and kept as important features in the local landscape. Tree roots will be protected from damage by cultivations with a fertiliser-free grass buffer. Undisturbed standing and fallen deadwood will provide habitat for invertebrates.


  • protect trees from damage by livestock and wild animals
  • make sure tree guards do not damage growing trees
  • keep all fallen branches within the option area
  • if trees die or fall, leave them in place and continue with the management requirements

In year 1 maintain or allow a grass sward to develop around each tree by natural regeneration.

Tree diameter at breast height (dbh) Sward radius Area per tree
30cm to 99cm 10m 0.03ha
100cm to 199cm 20m 0.12ha
200cm or more 30m 0.28ha

Once established, manage the sward:

  • ensure that no more than 5% is covered in weeds or bare ground
  • only cut to control woody growth

Do not:

  • apply any fertilisers or manures
  • apply any lime
  • plough, cultivate or re-seed
  • use supplementary feed
  • harrow or roll
  • use pesticides, except for herbicides to spot-treat or weed-wipe to control nettles, bracken, injurious weeds or invasive non-natives
  • remove any tree limbs, including lower limbs, or mature ivy growth
  • carry out any drainage works, including modifying existing drainage, without Natural England’s written permission before any work takes place

Keeping records

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

  • field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you haven’t carried out any activities prohibited by the option requirements.

You should also be aware that at the start of each claim year, a percentage of agreement holders will be asked to take and submit the following photographic records:

  • photographs of each tree entered into the option
  • photographs of the sward buffer

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

  • a photograph of each tree
  • the diameter at breast height (dbh) for each tree
  • a map of existing land drainage in each parcel

The following options and supplements can be located on the same area as this option:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option

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

Storing fallen branches

Fallen branches should not be cut into pieces but stacked in piles:

  • with one pile in a sunny spot and one in a shady spot
  • not too high, to stop the timber drying out
  • with as much timber as possible in contact with the ground

Setting tree guards

Do not attach tree guards to the trees as this can damage the trees.

Using pesticides

Avoid damaging the trees when spot-treating or weed-wiping. Using chemicals should be a last resort, as they can damage root fungi in the soil. Trees depend on fungi for future good health.

Controlling livestock damage

To prevent livestock damage:

  • provide alternative shelter with water to attract animals away from trees
  • fence off trees to stop animals rubbing and stripping bark or trampling the base

If fences are used they should be placed at the edge of the option area.

Further information

See the Mid Tier manual or Higher Tier 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.