In Fo­cus

Pro­mot­ing busi­ness

Country Smallholding - - Contents -

ALL HEDGES will need to be trimmed and kept un­der con­trol at some point dur­ing the sea­son, but when is the best time to do so?

The gen­eral rule is to cut hedgerows in late win­ter when the plants are dor­mant and haven’t pro­duced buds. This is par­tic­u­larly cru­cial if you are cut­ting back dras­ti­cally. It will take much longer for the hedge to fill out and catch up if it is cut back too early. It also gives the wildlife all the time they need to take ad­van­tage of the nuts and berries pro­duced by hedge plants in the au­tumn. The bread­ing and nest­ing sea­son — 1 March-31 July — should be avoided. Most tree and shrub flow­ers are pro­duced on one-year-old twigs, so cut­ting at the wrong time of year can re­move these be­fore there has been chance for re­growth, re­sult­ing in no flow­ers, no berries and no nuts. This has a big im­pact, not only on the health of the hedgerow it­self, but on the wide va­ri­ety of wildlife that rely on the shel­ter, food and safety el­e­ments pro­vided by these com­plex ecosys­tems.

Hedgerows are ex­tremely im­por­tant for lo­cal wildlife, but they are also func­tional, mark­ing bound­aries, keep­ing an­i­mals in or out of fields, as­sist­ing in flood con­trol ero­sion, cli­mate reg­u­la­tion, screen­ing and noise re­duc­tion. With good grow­ing con­di­tions, hedgerows quickly spread in size. Good hedgerow man­age­ment pre­vents them grow­ing out into fields and re­duc­ing the land avail­able for crop­ping and graz­ing. They are cut to keep them healthy, thick and bushy. Reg­u­lar cut­ting also pre­vents the shad­ing and loss of low-grow­ing plants, such as vi­o­lets and prim­roses.

So, what is the best way to tackle these fast-grow­ing hedgerows? The in­ven­tion of the trac­tor-mounted side-arm flail cut­ter 50 or so years ago rev­o­lu­tionised how hedgerows are main­tained and it con­tin­ues to be a pop­u­lar method for landown­ers and lo­cal author­i­ties alike. There are nu­mer­ous types of trac­tor-mounted hedge trim­mers on the mar­ket, the most com­mon of which is the flail head. Flail hedge cut­ters save time and ef­fort when main­tain­ing long lengths of hedges. They use a hang­ing blade which ro­tates rapidly on a ver­ti­cal plain, cut­ting and mulching woody growth suc­cess­fully. It is im­por­tant that flails are kept in good con­di­tion and that the cor­rect ro­ta­tion and for­ward speeds are main­tained so that thicker branches are not left ragged, bruised or with open wounds. Rais­ing the cut­ting height by 10cm each time a cut is made will help.

The ideal equip­ment

Siromer hedge cut­ters are a pop­u­lar choice and there are dif­fer­ent de­signs to en­sure the cut you re­quire. All Siromer hedge trim­mers have their own hy­draulic tank so that there is no need to be con­cerned about the trac­tor’s hy­draulic ca­pac­ity as the hedge trim­mer runs off the PTO at 540rpm.

The Finger Bar Hedge Trim­mer (F60) is the light­est op­tion. It has a reach of 3.9m; it can cut the top off a 2.5m hedge and it comes com­plete with a 1.9m head.

The Siromer U44 is suit­able for com­pact (24h-plus) trac­tors. A unique fea­ture is the in­ter­change­able flail and finger bar head. The finger bar head is 130cm and there is an op­tion of an 80cm or 100cm flail head. A great lit­tle ma­chine with a 2.5m cut­ting height and re­versable flail di­rec­tion, it costs £ 3,850 (+VAT).

For more in­for­ma­tion on Siromer hedge trim­mers, tel: 01253 799029.

Siromer sells a range of hedge trim­mers to keep small­hold­ing bound­aries tidy

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