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Hedgerows give the Irish landscape its distinctive character and field pattern. They provide an important wildlife habitat especially for woodland flora and fauna. Increasing the variety of hedgerow types in terms of height, width, shape and species mix promotes diversity in flora and fauna.

Click on the links below for more information

Background | Biodiversity | Other values | Hedge Cutting | New Hedges Rejuvenation 

Nature of Irish Hedgerows - Webinar

Hear about:

  • The secret life of Irish hedges
  • Food for free from hedges
  • Hedges as a store for carbon
  • How hedges can protect watercourses
  • Hedges for shelter
  • Hedges - an integral part of the Irish landscape
  • Hedges are part of our cultural heritage

View webinar here Biodiversity - Nature of Irish Hedgerows


  • The importance of biodiversity on farms

    Catherine Keena, Countryside Management Specialist joined Darragh McCullough on an episode of Ear to the Ground to highlight the importance of biodiversity on farms. In this short clip hear from Catherine as she explains that she has only recently seen a shift in attitudes towards biodiversity

  • The importance of good hedge maintenance

    Catherine Keena, Countryside Management Specialist joined Darragh McCullough on an episode of Ear to the Ground. In this short clip Catherine discusses the importance of hedgerows and highlights the need for farmers and contractors to communicate when it comes to the maintenance of hedges

The History of Irish Hedgerows 

John Feehan, retired lecturer in the faculty of agriculture in UCD outlines the history of Irish hedgerows. Watch video and read more on The History of Irish Hedgerows 

How much hedgerows do we have in Ireland?

Stuart Greene Teagasc gives the results from a recent mapping project. Watch 'Mapping Irish Hedgerows' video and read more here

Heritage of hedges 

A lovely example of the cultural value of hedges is evident in the Kickham Tree Project in the South Tipperary village of Mullinahone. This will be detailed by Michael Somers Teagasc Forestry advisor. Watch Heritage of hedges video and read more here

Hedges on sheep farms

Where stone walls dominate the landscape, there is still a place for hedges according to Noel Claffey, Farm Manager in Teagasc Athenry. Watch hedges on sheep farms video and read more here.

Trees and Hedges in Ballyhaise College

John Kelly principal in Teagasc Ballyhaise and Kevin O’Connell Teagasc Forestry Advisor detail the hedges on the college farm and the value of trees in hedgerows. Watch Trees and Hedges in Ballyhaise College video and read more here 


How Birds use hedges

The Countryside Bird Survey in Ireland during the breeding season regularly records 110 species of birds. Half of these species of birds use hedges and of these, 35 bird species nest in them. Hedges also provide food, shelter, song posts, perching posts and corridors for movement for birds. Niall Hatch from BirdWatch Ireland will tell us more. Watch How birds use hedges video and read more here

How bees use hedges

In Ireland there are 77 solitary bees, 21 bumble bees and one honey bee species. One third of our bee species are under threat of extinction. Hedges provide food and nest sites for bees. Stephanie Maher from Trinity College Dublin has more information. View How bees use hedges video and read more here 

How bats use hedges

Tina Aughney Bat Conservation Ireland dispels the myth that bats are blind. We have nine resident bat species in Ireland and all use hedges. The network of hedges in the Irish countryside provide corridors of movement as well as habitat for feeding and roosting bats. Watch how bats use hedges video and read here 

Our Hedgerow Flora

John Feehan, retired lecturer in the faculty of agriculture in UCD will tell us there are about one hundred plant species in hedges including shrubs, climbers and ground flora. View our hedgerow flora video and read more here 

Birds and Bats in Kildalton College

Tim Ashmore principal in Teagasc Kildalton College describes the birds and bats recorded in surveys on the college farm. Read more on birds and bats in Kildalton College and view video here 

Other Hedgerow Values 

Food from Hedges 

Hedges are full of food for birds and bees – but what about us humans? Catherine Keena went foraging with cookery demonstrator Rosemarie Cusack and chef Paul Flynn from the Tannery restaurant in Dungarvan. They gave her ideas on what to do with food picked from hedges. Watch video on food from hedges and read more here

Carbon stock of selected hedgerows

We know trees sequester carbon and Lilian O’Sullivan, Teagasc, Environment Soils and Land Use Department in Johnstown Castle tells us about an exciting new project that aims to quantify the carbon stock of selected hedgerows by measuring the different carbon pools. View video on hedges and carbon and read more here

How hedges help protect water quality

Hedges help protect water quality by acting as barriers to overland flow of water which can contain nutrients and sediment which we don’t want to end up in watercourses. A hedged landscape helps regulate water flow and is good for water quality. Cathal Somers Agricultural Sustainability Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme will explain more. Read more on how hedges help protect water quality and view video here

Hedges - a farmer's perspective

Farmers are the custodians of the countryside and of the Irish hedges. Donal Kavanagh Teagasc Glanbia Open Source Future Farmer give a farmer’s perspective. Watch hedges a farmers perscective video and read more here

Hedges - rules and regulations for farmers

As the value of hedges is increasingly being recognised, Anthony Dineen Teagasc advisor explains the rules and regulations for farmers. Find out more on rules and regulatrions for hedges here  

Hedge Cutting 

Kildalton College Hedgerow Management

Practical experience gained from planting new hedges in Kildalton College from 2004 -2006 had led to the development of Teagasc Best Practice advice on the growing of new hedges. Find out more on Kildalton College hedgerow management

Hedge cutting – a contractor’s perspective

Contractors are the key, for hedges fit for birds and bees. Liam Herlihy is a contractor in Limerick keen to improve hedges. He advises farmers and contractors they need to have a conversation before hedges are cut. View video and read further advice on hedge cutting a contractors perspective here 

We need to talk about hedge cutting

Francis Quigley Teagasc Machinery Specialist has a clear message for contractors and farmers to ‘have a conversation’ before hedges are cut. View We need to talk about hedge cutting video and read further advice here 

A farmer experience - cutting his own hedges

Cork dairy farmer Tony Mullins gives the experience of a farmer cutting his own hedges. Find out more about Tony's experience on cutting his own hedges and get advice here

Hedge cutting advice

Padraig McCormack Teagasc advisor gives clear advice to farmers on best practice management for the two broad categories of hedges. View video and get hedge cutting advice here

Hedge Management on Derogation Farms

One option for hedge cutting on farms in Nitrates Derogation will be demonstrated by Francis Collier Farm Manager in Teagasc Grange. Find out more about hedge management on derogation farms here 

New Hedges 

‘Planting hedges for a sustainable future’ is the overall theme for this year’s Hedgerow Week. We want to inspire farmers to plant new native Irish hedges. Let’s hope this week will plant the seed that will result in the planting of networks of hedges throughout the countryside, that will remain long after us.

How to plant a hedge

One farming family leading the way are Henry, Patricia and Enda Walsh in Moneymore East in Oranmore, Co Galway whose newly planted hedge splits a large field on their intensive dairy farm. Find out more on How to plant a hedge here

New hedge on a dairy farm

Teagasc advisor Tom Murphy agrees that hedges have a place on the farming platform on dairy farms. Get more information on a new hedge on a dairy farm here

New Hedges in Teagasc Moorepark

Caroline O’Sullivan Farm Manager in Curtins farm in Teagasc Moorepark also agrees saying it is nice to see intensive dairying and hedges side by side. View video on new hedges in Teagasc Moorepark and read more here

New hedges on tillage farms

New hedges can be planted on tillage farms according to Michael Hennessy Head of Crops KT in Teagasc, as demonstrated by John Hogan, former Farm Manager in Teagasc Oak Park. Find out more about new hedges on tillage farmes here

Second Pruning of a new hedge

With a new hedge, it is not a race to the top, but rather letting it inch its way up. Second pruning of a new hedge is very important to ensure dense growth from the base of the hedge, resulting in the best stockproof hedge. Watch how to do sercond pruning of a new hedge and read more here 

Hedgerow Rejuvenation                 

The theme for the final day of Hedgerow week is the rejuvenation of hedges. When hedges ‘escape’ from management but are thin and empty at the base, rejuvenation may be an option.

Hedges for Rejuvenation

Best practice in rejuvenation is demonstrated by Eoin Donnelly Hedge Laying Association of Ireland. Find out more about hedgerow rejuvenation here 

How to lay a hedge

Hedge laying is a technique for the rejuvenation of hedges. The ideal hedge for rejuvenation is one that has grown up, has got thin at the base but there is still at least one multi-stem every half metre. View video on how to lay a hedge and read more here

How to Coppice a Hedge

Coppicing involves cutting hedges down to the base in order to rejuvenate them. Find out more on how to coppice a hedge here

Coppicing in Clonalkilty College

Keith Kennedy principal in Teagasc Clonakilty College shows a ten year old hedge that is empty at the base and suitable for coppicing. Watch video on coppiving a hedge in Clonakilty College and read more here