Garden: When To Trim Hedges For The Birds?

With the arrival of warmer days, you might have planned a big spring cleaning in your garden. If you want to give your hedges a nice shape, be patient! In March, birds have probably built their nests in them. We will explain to you when to trim the hedges so as not to disturb the birds.

When to prune hedges and shrubs?

Many gardeners tend to wait until the end of winter and an improvement in weather conditions to do a thorough spring cleaning in their garden. At this time of the year, garden maintenance becomes necessary, and you may have planned to bring out the hedge trimmer...

However, in reality, the best time to trim hedges is in November and December. If you didn't do it in winter, you will have to wait until summer to avoid disturbing the birds and to promote biodiversity in your garden.

The Bird Protection League, or LPO, advises postponing the spring pruning of shrubs and bushes. More specifically, this association recommends not trimming hedges or pruning trees between March 15 and August 31 to give birds a break during their nesting period.

Is it forbidden to trim hedges in spring?

As soon as spring shows its first signs, more and more individuals dedicate time to the maintenance of their garden and outdoor spaces. For this category of gardeners, there is no national ban on trimming hedges in spring.

The LPO (League for the Protection of Birds) and the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) remind that it is strongly advised against trimming from the 15th of March to avoid disturbing the nesting period of many bird species. This is also why some departments and municipalities issue decrees prohibiting individuals and communities from performing maintenance and cutting work on hedges during the nesting period. If you are unsure about the regulations in effect in your municipality, check with the town hall.

However, for farmers, hedge trimming is prohibited by the Common Agricultural Policy between the 16th of March and the 15th of August. Farmers are also formally and universally banned from trimming hedges across the French territory between the 1st of April and the 31st of July. Offenders face a penalty of up to 3 years in prison and a 500 € fine for “harm to the conservation of non-domestic animal species and destruction of their habitat”. Their support from the CAP may also be reduced in case of infringement.

Which species nest in garden hedges?

Spring is the nesting period for many birds in the garden such as the blackbird, the robin, and the European greenfinch. All species use hedges to build their nests using branches. The robin prefers to settle in the lower part of the hedges, while the blackbird and the European greenfinch build their nests at mid-height, and doves like to nest in the treetops.

In order not to disturb the nests and their occupants, it is necessary to wait until at least the end of July before trimming hedges and shrubs in the garden. At this time of year, if you notice a chick on the ground, do not pick it up as it may be about to take flight.

How to promote biodiversity in your garden?

Avoiding hedge trimming in spring for the birds is not the only action you can take to give nature a little boost. Many species such as insects, frogs, and hedgehogs find refuge in gardens. To avoid scaring them away, avoid mowing the lawn too drastically. Instead, consider leaving tall grass in some areas of the garden so that these species can shelter there.

You can also start by mowing the lawn only in the center of the garden, so that all these species have time to move to another green corner. Moreover, if you want to attract hedgehogs to your garden, you should leave strips of grass along the hedges. This setup constitutes an ideal shelter for hedgehogs who like to take refuge there to give birth.

Finally, you can also build an insect hotel and sow a flower meadow to attract butterflies and all sorts of pollinating insects, ensuring beautiful flowers and bountiful harvests in the vegetable garden.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Anna Shvets on Pexels
Tags: species, spring, hedgehogs, biodiversity, pruning, Blackbird, grass, hedge, lawn, mowing, insects, European greenfinch, nest, French, LPO, spring cleaning, winter, flower, vegetable garden, treetops, bountiful, pollinating, butterflies, meadow, Ideal, sow, municipality, cap, prune, hedge trimmer, summer, Trim, OFB, bird, municipalities, Town Hall, Common Agricultural Policy, penalty, prison, conservation, habitat, big spring,
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