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Cutting back Hedges and Earth Banks With Wildlife in Mind

By May 31, 2022Blog

La Société has launched a campaign to ensure best practice hedge cutting during bird nesting season. 

The law states that hedges and banks should be cut back by 15th June, it is to allow vehicles and pedestrians to pass unobstructed and does not require the destruction of nesting birds and their chicks, nor the scouring of fabulous and often rare plants growing on our earth banks. Please leave some growth for summer development.

La Société Guernesiaise supports good practice guidelines to encourage biodiversity while also keeping roads safe.  La Société also welcomes the use of native hedging such as Hawthorn as they support many more species than non-native hedging plants such as Griselinia littoralis.

We are advising: 

  • Check the hedge carefully before cutting.  If you do find a nest in use, where at all possible, lightly cut back using hand tools which cause less disturbance.

  • You only cut the outside of the hedge which faces the road, that needs to be cut back. 

  • Don’t cut back too hard. This is especially true of earth banks.  They form an important network for animals and plants, often linking natural environments. If banks are scalped so that bare earth shows, soil is easily eroded.  It is also detrimental to many of our native flowering plants, ferns and the wildlife they support.  There should be at least 100mm or 4 inches of vegetation so that plants can shoot again.

  • Late winter is the best time to cut hedges.  This gives wildlife, including migrating birds, a chance to eat any berries. It also means that the June cut can be lighter.

You can go to ur campaign page – societe.org.gg/wp/hedge-cutting-and-earth-banks/ to find out more or download a poster or graphic to share the message about the importance of protecting nesting birds and best practice hedge cutting.

Cutting roadside hedges twice a year is beneficial as it prevents the encroachment of scrubby growth and preserves wildflowers. We hope with the guidance we are providing we can encourage islanders to become more aware and take more care to protect vital habitat in their area.