Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Hawthorn berry yield was higher in hedges managed but uncut for at least two years than those cut annually in England

Published source details

Croxton P. J. & Sparks T. H. (2002) A farm-scale evaluation of the influence of hedgerow cutting frequency on hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) berry yields. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 93, 437-439

Background

Many hedgerows have been lost with the intensification of agriculture. It is therefore important that those that remain are managed effectively as they provide a winter food source for many farmland species. This study investigated the effect of cutting frequency on hawthorn berry yields at three farmland sites in the UK.

 

Action

The study sites were two arable farms, Manor Farm, Eddlethorpe, Yorkshire and Grange Farm, Knapwell, Cambridgeshire and one mixed farm, Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire. At each site, five hedges of each of the following cutting regimes were identified: cut within the past year, managed but uncut for at least two years and uncut for many years. Hawthorn berries were harvested from ten 50 × 50 cm quadrats against one side of the hedge, approximately 1m above ground and at 10 m intervals (or the next nearest hawthorn to 10m). Berries were harvested in September-October 2001and were weighed fresh and once dried to determine the dry matter content.

 

Consequences

Berry yield was significantly higher in hedges managed but uncut for at least two years (143-175 g/2.5 m²) than those cut within the past year (4-11); both had significantly lower yields than those uncut for many years (305-530). There was no significant difference between treatments in the percentage dry matter content (uncut: 36-42% dry matter; uncut ≥ two years: 34-44%; annual cut: 35-41%).

Note: If using or referring to this published study, please read and quote the original paper, this can be viewed at:  DOI: 10.1016/S0167-8809(02)00106-8