Leave boundary hedges uncut
COUNTY Durham farmers are being urged to save cash and prolong the lives of their boundary hedges – by leaving them alone.
Durham county council is urging farmers not to cut hedges over the next few weeks, saying that research shows that annual cutting has a marked effect on the long-term survival of hedges as well as reducing their value for wildlife.
Bill Kirkup, the councils hedgerow project officer, believes many landowners could benefit from thinking again about hedgerow management.
"The irony is that it is frequently more expensive to cut on an annual basis than to follow good practice by cutting either every two or three years," he says.
"Realistically there will always be hedges which farmers will need to cut annually. But many hedges could be managed differently – for example those running on a north-south alignment do not cause serious crop shading problems, even if allowed to grow out for several years. "If necessary, they could be managed simply by cutting the sides and leaving the top uncut."
Durham county council can arrange to have free individual farm hedgerow management plans drawn up, he adds.