The Devon Hedge Group has announced the theme for this year’s Devon Hedge Awards which is hedgerow trees.

Dr Rob Wolton, Chair of Devon Hedge Group explains “Hedgerow trees are really important for wildlife landscape and carbon capture, and we want to reward those that manage existing trees or are establishing new hedgerow trees, to benefit Devon’s countryside and towns”.

The Devon Hedge Award is open to farmers, landowners, community group and gardeners and was set up to recognise the care that goes into looking after Devon’s world class hedges. Successful applicants will receive an award plaque and a personalised certificate, which can be proudly displayed for all to see.

The number of hedgerow trees across the county is declining due to ash dieback, old age and recent lack of replacements. But there is plenty that can be done to reverse this trend. .

Rob continues “Establishing new hedgerow trees can easily be done by singling up existing saplings and then managing them carefully to make sure they do not get damaged by future hedge cutting operations. Pruning any lower branches, as the trees grows, will help allow light into the hedge underneath and will reduce the problem of gaps forming in the hedge below.”

Devon has a wealth of old hedgerow trees some of which are classed as veterans or ancient trees. These too need careful looking after. “Old trees are very important for wildlife, particularly bats, birds and lichens. If an old tree sadly dies, where safety allows, they should be left standing because they can still be valuable home for a great variety of wildlife.”

To apply for an award, participants need to fill out a short online form to provide details of the work they have been doing to benefit hedgerow trees. The Devon Hedge Group is also looking out for a special commendation, for someone who is going over and above with their management of hedgerow trees, both old and new.

The closing date for applications is December 31 2022. The application form can be found on the Devon Hedge Group website along with further information about hedges and hedge management.