Uncovering the Hidden World of Hedgerows

by | Jul 25, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Historically, hedgerows have been planted in order to act as barriers between different fields, but in a society dominated by us humans, they are absolutely critical connectors, havens, and corridors for all kinds of wildlife! In more recent years, the majority of ecologists have come to view hedgerows as vital ecosystems in their own right. They are able to form a vital reservoir for biodiversity in landscapes dominated by human intervention, where many species might otherwise really struggle for survival. By nurturing the pollinating insects too, they can also enhance crop yields, and achieve all of this while adequately pulling carbon out of the atmosphere. So let’s delve into the hidden world of hedgerows!

Mutually benefitting

In the UK the National Hedgelaying Society has recognised more than thirty different styles of traditional hedge. Countryside hedgerows mostly consist of grasses, shrubs, or trees, but they tend to vary substantially in composition and shape within and across countries.

Hedgerows can provide a year-round habitat for hundreds of species of plants, fungi, and animals, while attracting insects and birds that prey on crop-devouring little critters. The most well-renowned benefit from hedgerows is the remarkable nature of the biodiversity that they harbour. Wild bees residing within hedgerows can also pollinate crops in the vicinity, generating substantial financial benefits to farmers in the area. Moths and bats use hedgerows as spatial cues to navigate across landscapes, and some invertebrate and mammal species have also been spotted using hedgerows to travel across agricultural areas.

This is also not to forget that studies in Asia, Europe and Africa have shown that hedges brilliantly protect against soil-eroding floods and winds, helping to cool the air, and even aid in curbing the spread of infectious diseases by creating a barrier between herds of cattle. Planting hedgerows is also a great way to connect isolated ecosystems, since they can form a bridge across which neighbouring habitats can co-exist. One British ecologist actually found an incredible 2,070 species inhabiting and visiting a diverse, old hedgerow near his home!

Rebuilding our hedgerows

Public body Natural England have called to increase the network of British hedgerows by 40% for biodiversity and climate benefits. It seems imperative, then, that we begin rebuilding hedgerows back into British society. Since hedge plants can suck the carbon out of the air and into soil or plant biomass, they can help to offset the global warming emissions produced by cows. Ecologists are now stating that hedges should be one of the key solutions implemented to halt the progressions of climate change.

The effectiveness of the hedgerows will depend largely on how they are maintained in the future. If properly managed, they could create a network that allows for more wildlife to co-exist alongside other people, a benefit that will be increasingly important as species begin to migrate in direct response to climate change. Much will depend on the maintenance of hedgerows in our country; a 2007 survey of Britain’s hedges found that as many as half were not well-maintained.

HedgePlants are suppliers of container-grown, ready for planting hedging. We supply a large range and variety of hedging for your garden, from low maintenance hedging to topiary. As a gardener, you know the value of a well-maintained hedge. Hedges provide natural screening and privacy, define garden spaces and areas, and can even form distinctive features in stunning landscape designs. All our hedging is container-grown in the UK making them fully acclimatised to British conditions. We ensure that every hedge is ready to plant straight from the container and is in prime condition for its new owner. Take a look at our website www.hedgeplants.com where you’ll find much information that will help you choose the right hedging for you and your garden.