One month to hedge cutting deadline – review findings due

It’s only one month until the hedge cutting season begins on August 31 and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys is expected to announce details of her working group review.

Some 188 submissions were made to the working group and the Minister is expected to make an announcement on its findings shortly.

The hedge cutting season runs from September 1 up until the March 1, as birds are still nesting during August.

When considering a hedgerow management plan, understanding the nature of hedgerow growth helps to get it right, Teagasc says.

Trimming prevents hedgerows growing up into a line of trees and Teagasc says that given time, thorn species will grow into small trees.

It says that appropriate management depends on which stage the hedge is at, so which type of hedgerow is on your farm?

Teagasc has some tips on the type of hedge you have and what the best management practice for it is:

Hedgerows with a dense base

Trim from a wide base with sides sloping to a triangular shape, leaving the peak as high as practical.

Leave mature trees and new saplings, including thorns at irregular intervals.

Escaped hedgerows

Through lack of management these have grown high and escaped, loosing their dense base, but not yet becoming a line of mature trees with full canopy.

These hedgerows are typically thin at the base with gaps and no longer stockproof. Allow these grow into relict hedgerows or rejuvenate by laying or coppicing.

Relict hedgerows

Here shrubs have grown into mature trees with a full canopy, while others have died out and not been replaced, leaving large gaps.

Leave these alone. The wildlife value of these relict hedgerows is in the canopy, which provides food, shelter, home and highway for bats, birds and other species.

It is too risky to rejuvenate by laying or coppicing. Fencing off stock from both sides prolongs their life by preventing stock tramping through gaps.

Earlier this year the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys established a consultation process to allow stakeholders to input their views on the operation of section 40 of the Acts which prohibits the cutting of hedgerows.

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