Establishment of new hedgerows

Bringing hedgerows back into the farm business (Agricology, English only)

Many hedgerows are hundreds of years old, with some examples being thousands of years old. It is important to get the design right to start with to avoid problems for many years to come.

When choosing the location of your hedge it is important to consider the access needed to be able to manage the hedge in the future. If you are planning on trimming your hedge then you will need vehicle access to both sides of the hedge. It is best practice to leave space for a grass margin alongside a hedgerow to maximise the available habitat for beneficial insects.

The best time to plant a new hedgerow is between mid-November and mid-December. Ground preparation needs to start the summer before planting by spraying a 1-1.5m wide corridor with herbicide or use mulch to control weed competition while the hedgerow is established


The composition of the hedge species needs careful consideration and selection. The species selected will be determined by the purpose for establishing the hedge and the local growing conditions. The best indicator of what will grow well in your area is to look in nearby hedges and woodlands.

If the main purpose of the hedge is to coppice for wood fuel then consider species such as hazel, sweet chestnut, willow, ash, sycamore, alder, birch and elm. If the main purpose of the hedge is for stock control then consider including species such as hawthorn, blackthorn, field maple, oak and hornbeam.

For best results the trees selected should be 2 year old transplants with either bare roots or cell grown plants.

More information can be found here:

Choice of species Auxil'haie (Chambres d'Agriculture, French)


Newly planted trees may need to be protected with either plastic tubes or spirals. The type of tree protection needed depends on the pests, such as rabbit, hares or deer, that you have present on your farm and the slope of the land.

The newly planted trees will need to be kept free of weeds in the first year of establishment. This can be achieved through either mulching or spraying with an appropriate herbicide.

It is important to trim the newly planted hedge for the first 2-5 years to encourage bushy growth, allowing the hedge to become taller and wider at each cut.

Once the trees are strong and well established, normally 2-3 years, then the tree protection will need to be removed.