Costs and financial benefits

The costs of hedgerow management are related to:

  • Planting
  • Maintenance
  • Harvesting wood chips

The benefits are:

  • Harvesting wood and fruit
  • Enrichment of the soil via leaf fall (carbon and minerals), carbon storage
  • Reduce water erosion
  • Reduce wind speed (wind erosion and damage of crops)
  • Ecological functions - other wildlife
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Shade for livestock
  • Impact on crop yield
  • Landscape building

For more information on the benefits, see 'Interactions and effects'


The costs of creating a new hedgerow varies significantly depending on a wide range of factors. The most important costs that you will need to consider are:

  • Trees – the density, tree species and the size and form of the tree will varying the cost significantly.
  • Tree protection – the type of protection that you will need will depend on the predators that you have in the local area. It is also important to include the costs of the cane or stake that will support the tree protection itself. The tree protection costs will often be greater than the costs of the tree itself.
  • Weed control – this will be either spraying or mulching the line of the hedge.
  • Labour – tree planting can involve a lot of labour and the choice whether to plant the trees with existing labour or contractors will have a significant impact on the overall cost.
  • Fencing – it may be necessary to fence alongside the hedge to separate the new hedge from livestock while the hedge is establishing.


The 2021 John Nix Pocketbook estimates that UK contractors charge £38.97/hr for hedge cutting with a flail and £50.67 for a cutting with a saw-blade. The costs for delivering these services in-hand are estimated to be slightly hirer but offer much greater flexibility. Contractor rates for hedge laying are estimated to be £16.25/metre, however the condition of the hedge will means that this varies significantly.

Harvesting wood chips

There are significant variations in costs and prices for products from region to region and depending on the machinery used, costs of labour and type wood chip. Generally the costs of the woodchip production exceed the revenue from the woodchip production as shown in the example from Flanders from 2022:

  • costs to harvest woodchip were +- 46 EUR/ton and the selling price of wet wood chips is 20 EU/ton resulting in a loss of +- 26 EUR/ton
  • costs to produce dry wood chips: 130-138 EUR/ton and a selling price of dry chips is 80 EUR/ton resulting in a loss of 50-58 EUR/ton

Though the value of wood chips is increasing and if the farm uses woodfuel then there is the opportunity to significantly reduce energy costs.

Interesting links: 

Harvesting woodfuel from hedges (Agricology) (English)