Neat Hedges

Northdowns Martin

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Snodland kent
I think all hedges should be cut hard every year, better healthier growth, leaving it over one year is to long. Birds like tightly cut hedges better.
Disagree, our farm policy was as you describe, operator cut hedges same height, same width, same time, year on year. The quick growing species thrived on that approach, hedges became dominated by brambles, elder, and especially old mans beard which destroyed the hedge. We now have replanted hedges, gapped up holes, cut out the fast growers, and cut far less often. Farm staff have learnt how to hedge lay. Small birds love their thicker habitat now as they offer more protection from their predators.
 

BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer
Disagree, our farm policy was as you describe, operator cut hedges same height, same width, same time, year on year. The quick growing species thrived on that approach, hedges became dominated by brambles, elder, and especially old mans beard which destroyed the hedge. We now have replanted hedges, gapped up holes, cut out the fast growers, and cut far less often. Farm staff have learnt how to hedge lay. Small birds love their thicker habitat now as they offer more protection from their predators.
Again very much depends on your type of farming, no size fits all, we as sheep farmers as well as cattle struggle when lambs come off the moor as the very first thing they do is wind their wool up in brambles which seem to have grown like mad this year & get themselves well & truly trapped, for this reason we try & trim as many grass fields as soon as we are able.
To my mind it is a terrible mistake to legally put trimming back so late in the year just in case of a few imaginary birds, trimming in late July used to give the hedges time to recover before winter where as now they are bare all winter, yet again we are being controlled by people who know the theory but not the practicalities!!
We have kids on bikes & horses on their summer holidays trying to get out of the way of cars in narrow roads that are well over grown in August, where is the sense in that do they really believe any bird is stupid enough to nest in a road hedge constantly being thrashed by vehicles wing mirrors.
 

Northdowns Martin

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Snodland kent
Again very much depends on your type of farming, no size fits all, we as sheep farmers as well as cattle struggle when lambs come off the moor as the very first thing they do is wind their wool up in brambles which seem to have grown like mad this year & get themselves well & truly trapped, for this reason we try & trim as many grass fields as soon as we are able.
To my mind it is a terrible mistake to legally put trimming back so late in the year just in case of a few imaginary birds, trimming in late July used to give the hedges time to recover before winter where as now they are bare all winter, yet again we are being controlled by people who know the theory but not the practicalities!!
We have kids on bikes & horses on their summer holidays trying to get out of the way of cars in narrow roads that are well over grown in August, where is the sense in that do they really believe any bird is stupid enough to nest in a road hedge constantly being thrashed by vehicles wing mirrors.
Totally agree that all situations are different, my reply was to feilding's statement that all hedges should be cut back hard every year. Road side hedges need cutting for safety reasons.
 

s line

Member
My hedge trimming for a customer. All done with a petrol hedge trimmer and a ladder.
Better money than farming. Did this in the middle part of the day.
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Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
Glad we have big tall hedges here, laid every 25 years or so, plenty of fire wood, good for livestock when we get the snow etc.
Exmoors covered in big tall beach hedges, managed like this for hundreds of years.
mind you whoever ,trims that long one along by Raleghs Cross does it nicely,theres a fair skill involved in annual beech trimming as you want to leave the leaves on not get sucked in to make holes, its pretty unforgiving.
 
Last edited:

beardface

Member
Location
East Yorkshire
To my mind it is a terrible mistake to legally put trimming back so late in the year just in case of a few imaginary birds, trimming in late July used to give the hedges time to recover before winter where as now they are bare all winter, yet again we are being controlled by people who know the theory but not the practicalities!!

The big problem in my opinion is we are now encouraged into hammering hedges when there full of food. When we could cut them in summer there was a better chance of a second flowering and so potential food for winter. But hey we're just a bunch of country bumpkins, what could we possibly know.......
 

steveR

Member
Mixed Farmer
Tricky balance. I have a lot of hedge in proportion to land area and have come to the conclusion that regular yearly trimming works best for me.
It has been suggested that I ought to leave some uncut each year to allow the fruit to form a winter bird food supply. The problem is to achieve that would require leaving a hedge uncut for 3 growing seasons. The result of that, I find, leaves a more open hedge and more smashed and damaged following that 3rd season flail. I also find that my old machine suffers less wear and tear on light growth. In the spring hedge regrowth is rapid when the autumn flail is less severe.
The hedges seem to provide good bird summer habitat and are more stock proof. I have left some large hawthorns to run into large tree-like bushes, particularly where there are not any other trees. Just my opinion.

The ideal, is to allow the birdies access to all the fruit and berries etc over the 2nd winter of growth, THEN cut the hedge, around mid March is ideal...

Leaving until after a 3rd winter is too much IME, and then requires serious work, I agree.
 

robs1

Member
The ideal, is to allow the birdies access to all the fruit and berries etc over the 2nd winter of growth, THEN cut the hedge, around mid March is ideal...

Leaving until after a 3rd winter is too much IME, and then requires serious work, I agree.
On our big hedges I take one swipe a side per year over a three year cycle so always fruit for the birds, big hedges dont grow much but if you leave a annual trimmed one to two years here they grow a huge amount and it runs them if you cut back to previous level.
 

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The AHDB Planting and Variety Survey provides the earliest view of the planted area for the upcoming harvest in the United Kingdom (UK).​


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