Hedgerows support a healthy ecosystem as they sustain a large diversity of flora and fauna. Hedgerow trees are ecologically important and in an open setting, they are more likely to become ancient trees. This supports a range of habitats for more specialist species, hedgerows connect habitats making them very wildlife friendly as well as supporting pollinators. Hedges are also useful for water management as they help slow water flows and reduce flooding.
Hedgerows provide produce such as berries for you and wildlife. A loss of hedgerow over the years has resulted in a loss of plant and animal species. The RSPB states that hedges support up to 80% of our woodland birds, 50% of our mammals and 30% of our butterflies. Therefore, the diverse habitat of a hedgerow will bring a beautiful array of wildlife to your woodland.
February and March are the ideal months to cut hedgerows, this allows birds to forage the berries over winter. Also, cutting hedges every two to three years compared to every year increases the number of flowers for invertebrates in spring and more berries for birds in winter.
Some examples of wildlife friendly hedging plants Glorious Woodlands might use are below.
Is great for damp sites and valued as it is a larval food plant for the Brimstone Butterfly.
Hazel (Corylus avellana)
Has large, downy leaves which support a variety of moth caterpillars. The flowers attract bees and the nuts are enjoyed by squirrels and mice. Glorious Woodlands recommends this for large hedges. When its allowed to grow as a hedgerow tree, hazel supports even more wildlife.
Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus)
In summer, you can enjoy cream flowers which are great for pollinating insects including hoverflies. Translucent red berries are eaten by a range of birds including blackbirds, thrushes and finches.
Spindle (Euonymus europaeus)
This native hedge plant will spring to life in autumn, the scarlet leaves contrast the orange and red berries. Spindle in your hedgerow will be favoured by robins. Glorious Woodlands recommends Spindle in coastal areas.
Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea)
This shrub adds a splash of colour with the red young stems and autumn shade. The leaves are a source of food for caterpillars of the Holly Blue Butterfly. Also, the black berries attract birds and other wildlife.
Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
This slow growing tree is valuable to wildlife as it provides evergreen cover in winter. The berries are a beautiful burst of red in autumn.
Dog rose (Rosa canina)
This hedgerow tree has white flowers with a pink flush in summer. In late winter, the red berries are eaten by a range of birds such as redwings, finches and jays.
Wild privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
This is a wonderful addition to your native hedge. The cluster of cream flowers is visited by bees while birds enjoy the berries. The Hawk Moth can be found on the foliage of privet.
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
This common native hedge tree has long spikes which makes it a good boundary plant. Wildlife greatly benefits from the white spring flowers and fruit known as sloes.
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Hawthorn often makes up around 50% of a mixed hedge. The dense habitat and thorny growth create a perfect nesting site for birds. Beautiful creamy coloured flowers are followed by red berries.
Ebbing’s Silverberry (Elaegnus ebbingei)
This is a fast-growing evergreen hedge. The foliage has small silvery spots and silver-white underneath creates a lovely shimmering hedge effect.
Yew (Taxus baccata)
This conifer hedge has evergreen leaves which are needle like. This deciduous tree has creamy flowers and the seeds are enclosed in a red berry shaped structure called arils
This thorny evergreen shrub has vibrant red, yellow and orange berries in autumn and winter. Firethorns will add a burst of colour to your hedgerow.
Is part of the honeysuckle family. The pretty white or pink berries create a stunning splash of colour.
Himalyan contoneaster (Cotoneaster simonsii)
Is a great hedge shrub for heavy clay soils which can be pruned into a neat formal hedge. It has white flowers in summer which are favoured by pollinators making it vey wildlife friendly.
Japanese quince (Chaenomeles japonica)
This is a thorny deciduous shrub with orange-red flowers which are invaluable in early spring. This species is also ideal for chalky soils.
Late cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lacteus)
This bushy shrub can be deciduous or evergreen. It has clusters of small white and pink flowers in spring and summer which are followed by red, purple or black berries in winter.
Rosa Schneezwerg (Genus rosa)
Is a shrub with small, bright green, heavily veined foliage. The fragrant white flowers are beautiful in summer and autumn which are often followed by small rounded, scarlet hips.
Common beech (Fagus sylvatica)
Is a fast-growing tree, suitable for poor soils conditions. It is a home to rare wildlife with an enchanting and iconic shape.
Wayfaring (Viburnum lantana)
Is a deciduous shrub with pretty white flowers which enhance your woodland hedge.