The hedge-cutting season is in full swing, with many county councils also cutting roadside verges at present.

Farmers availing of a nitrates derogation have to follow rules regarding hedgerow cutting as part of the all-Ireland pollinator plan.

There are three options available:

  • Leave a whitethorn or blackthorn plant grow and mature every 300m in a hedgerow. This plant should not be cut and the flowers and fruit it grows will provide food, shelter and a habitat for birds and bees.
  • Cut hedges on a three-year cycle, meaning farmers can cut one side of a hedge one year, the top of a hedge another year and the other side another year.
  • Cut hedges in a three-year rotation rather than all at once, which means there are always some hedgerows capable of flowering on the farm.
  • Hedgerows along the side of the road can be cut annually if it is deemed necessary for safety, with the advice, where applicable, not to cut the inner part of the hedge on an annual basis.