Hedgerow Management Guidelines Ireland

Some options to consider in Ireland for different hedge rows on your farm.

view of a lush hedgerow behind and electric wire fence

Hedgerow Management Guidelines: some options to consider for different hedges on your farm

  1. Annual light cutting to an 'A' shape with a wide base, increasing the height of the cut by a few centimetres every year, and leaving hedge plants at intervals to grow into trees.

  2. Have a rotation of cutting on your farm with some hedges cut on an alternate year basis or at 2, 3, 4 or 5 yearly intervals.  Annual side cutting or 'breasting' these hedges may be needed to keep electric fences working. This intermittent cutting allows for flowers, fruit, berries and nuts to support wildlife and also allows for much more carbon storage.

  3. A mixture of 1.and 2. on your farm. For example roadside hedges may require annual cutting, while some internal hedges may be more suited to No.2

  4. Allow some hedges to mature without cutting, or with side cutting only.

  5. Some hedges will be suitable for laying or coppicing which will rejuvenate and thicken up a gappy hedge.

  6. Old mature hedges which haven’t been cut in the past are best left uncut apart from side-trimming. They have huge biodiversity and heritage value.

  7. Where possible leave a wide uncultivated margin of one or two metres or more alongside the hedge for wild flowers/pollinators and plants which can be medicinal for livestock.

See Teagasc and Hedgelink websites for more hedge management advice