There is a potential complimentary budget of €1,200 available over the course of the REAP contract where it is identified that the environmental score of a field may be improved by planting a new hedgerow, enhancing an existing hedgerow by planting areas with gaps or planting trees.
The complimentary measures are only permitted in project fields, ie they can only take place in fields which have been identified for the low input grassland or mixed species ley measures.
It is also important to highlight that planting is not permitted in Natura 2000 sites, Natura Reserves, NHAs, landscapes targeted for breeding waders such as the curlew or on an archaeological monument.
The €1,200 budget is available over the course of the project and not in each year.
Hedgerow planting is costed at €15.80/m, with this figure used for new hedge planting and also for infilling of gaps in a hedgerow.
The €1,200 budget is capable of financing 76m of works.
Tree planting is costed at €9.20 per tree, meaning a maximum of 130 trees will be funded. A mixture of the three options are permitted.
The first point to note where planting a new hedge or trees is that plants must be of native provenance and purchased from registered producers or growers.
Provenance certificates and/or seed labels must be retained for any planting material purchased.
The use of geotagged photographs through a new Department of Agriculture app will also be required to complete the claim for completed works.
In terms of the planting itself, the hedge or trees should be planted between November 2021 and March 2022.
The recommendation for a new hedgerow is a double staggered row with six plants (two-year-old whips) per metre, using a mix of the species detailed in Table 1, planted into a 1.5m-wide strip which has been prepared to provide good soil contact and minimise competition from other vegetation.
One species should not make up more than 70% of the total hedgerow.
One plant should be identified every 50m to be retained as a tree.
The hedgerow must be protected from grazing livestock using an appropriate fence, which is kept at least 1m out from the new hedgerow.
The recommendations laid out for tree planting in the REAP booklet include planting trees with a spacing of at least 3m between each tree planted.
Trees should be at least 1.5m tall and again must be selected from the approved species listed in Table 1.
The tree selected for planting should be at least 1.5m tall and a stake and tie, which is appropriate to the size of tree, should be fitted to each tree using flexible rubber and adjustable tree ties.
Grass and other weeds must be controlled annually and any trees that die must be replaced in the following season. Trees must also be protected from livestock with appropriate fencing.