02 September 1999
‘Leave boundary hedges uncut’
By FWi staff
FARMERS in County Durham 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.
The council claims research shows 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.
Mr Kirkup acknowledged that there will always be hedges which farmers need to cut annually but said many could be managed differently.
Those running on a north-south alignment do not cause serious crop shading problems, even if allowed to grow out for several years, he said.
“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 added.