The many benefits of hedges
Hedges create living boundaries for our gardens, providing colour and all year round interest. Added to this they provide a home for wildlife and can trap air pollution.
They can help provide solutions to environmental problems including reducing noise and locking in carbon in the fight against climate change. They can help to cool air and aid flood mitigation.
Plants with small rough or hairy leaves can trap dust and pollution particles. Good for pollution are Yew, Cotoneaster and Western red cedar.
Wide, tall and multi-layered hedges and borders are best for noise reduction. Good options include Berberis, Cherry Laurel and Holly with a shrub boarder planted in front.
Plants with large leaf surface and evergreen canopies are associated with greater rainfall retention and reducing runoff. Helpful hedges include Cotoneaster, Forsythia, Golden privet and Hawthorne.
Some hedges provide food for birds and nectar for insects, most provide shelter for birds. Planting a mixed hedge is best for wildlife as it helps extend flowering or fruiting times. Good for wildlife include beech, Yew, Hawthrone, Pyracantha and Rosa rugosa.
Planting a hedge at home
Most hedges benefit from an open sunny site. Most hedges are formed from plants that naturally want to be trees, so to create a neat face and top trimming is usually needed once or twice a year. Hedges can last for many years if properly maintained making them reliable and cost effective.
Plant deciduous hedges from late October to March provided the ground is not too water logged or frozen. Evergreen hedges are best planted in October or early November or March.
Removal of hedgerows
Any owner of a hedge forming the boundary of agricultural land must make an application to us if they wish to remove it.
We will assess the importance of the hedge using criteria set out in the Hedgerows Regulations 1997. If the hedgerow is important in terms of its wildlife or historical value, then consent to remove it will not be granted.
View guidance and details on how to submit your hedgerow application from.
You should avoid trimming hedgerows between 1 March and 31 July which is the main nesting season for birds. Exemptions apply if the hedgerow overhangs a public highway or public footpath, or if it obstructs the view of drivers.
Cupressocyparis leylandii - to give it its proper name, is a widely used hedging plant, well known for its evergreen habit and notoriously fast growth rate (up to 1.25m/4 feet a year). When clipped regularly in the growing season it can make a fine, neat and dense hedge that offers privacy and sound suppression in a very short time, in comparison to most other hedging plants.
However, if left neglected for even a couple of years it becomes a punishing job for anyone looking after it. If left untended for as little as 5 years it could well be a job that only professional tree surgeons could tackle safely which, of course, may work out expensive (another reason some people choose to do nothing).
Being a hedging plant, it is most often planted along property boundaries. As a result, if the hedge is neglected, it is often the neighbouring properties that suffer the most yet can do nothing about it. In some extreme cases, people have been forced to suffer monster rows of leylandii of about 80 feet high.
Under Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 residents who are seriously affected by high hedges on neighbouring properties can complain to us and request an independent adjudication on the problem.