Managing hedges and edges

Edge habitats such as hedges, ditches and banks can be a haven for bumblebees.  They are particularly important in providing forage plants at the start and end of the bumblebee nesting season, when flower-rich grassland areas are being grazed or have been cut.

Edge habitats can also offer very important nesting and hibernation sites, providing relatively sheltered and undisturbed conditions with plenty of tussocky areas and abandoned rodent holes.  They also play a vital role in connecting up larger areas of habitat in the landscape.

Hedges and edges should not be disturbed between March and September when they are providing forage and nesting sites. Hedges should be cut in rotation and some should be left uncut for 2/3 years at a time.  No chemical fertiliser should be applied to the base of hedgerows, and any gaps could be planted up with bumblebee-friendly shrubs.

For more information on managing hedges and edges for bumblebees, click here to download our factsheet.

Please be aware that each site is unique and the recommended management approach will depend on local site conditions and the historical or traditional management regime.  For site-specific advice, please contact your local Bumblebee Conservation Trust Conservation Officer –

“Bumblebees are one of the most endearing insect visitors to any garden. Their furry, colourful bodies and clumsy flight always raise a smile, but they also do an essential job. Without their pollination services many flowers would produce no seeds, and fruit and vegetable yields would suffer.”

Toby Buckland
TV gardener

Toby Buckland
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