How does your hedge benefit wildlife? Is it an important provider of food and shelter for animals? When you submit your survey results online, we’ll give your hedge a rating that will tell you more about its potential importance for wildlife.
If you complete the whole survey, your hedge will receive a bronze, silver or gold award in each of the following three categories. But what do they mean?
On the whole, hedges that are really good for wildlife are tall, wide, have some mature trees growing in them, and are well-managed. These will receive a silver or gold award.
A well-managed hedge is one that is maintained so it is not too ‘leggy’, or full of gaps, but also not cut so frequently that it becomes too ‘straight-edged’, as this prevents the development of flowers and berries.
Food for wildlife
Plants within the hedge can provide flowers, berries and nuts – all of which are essential food resources for many types of wildlife.
The greater the variety of plants present in the hedge, the more likely it is to receive a silver or gold award. Finding flowers, berries or nuts on the hedge will also help your score.
However, this is not always possible and is dependent on the time of year and how recently the hedge has been cut.
Hedges provide resources for many different types of wildlife, but this award focuses on two groups: invertebrates, and the animals that make use of holes in the ground beneath hedges.
The more different types you can find, and the greater the quantities seen, the higher your score for this award.
This score is affected by the time of year – for instance, it can be difficult to find many invertebrates in mid-winter, so bear that in mind when looking at the results.
Learn more about the management and conservation of hedges and why it is so important.
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