Are you searching for information about when you should cut your hedges? Follow our guide below to make sure you comply with DEFRA rules.

You should not cut or trim hedges or trees between the dates of March 1st and September 1st without a derogation. You may only apply for a derogation if you plan to cut hedges before any new grass ley or oil seed rape is sown in the Autumn.

Please see below the dates of when you should and shouldn’t cut hedges and trees, to comply with GAEC 7a and GAEC 7c.

Mar 1st You must not cut or trim hedges or trees from this date, but you can carry out hedge and tree coppicing and hedge laying from 1 March until 30 April. Fruit and nut trees in orchards, or trees acting as windbreaks in orchards, vineyards, hop yards or hop gardens are not included in the ban.
May 1st You must not carry out hedge or tree coppicing or hedge laying from this date.
Aug 1st If you have been granted a derogation by RPA, you may be able to cut or trim hedges throughout August, to sow oilseed rape or temporary grassland.
Sept 1st You can cut or trim hedges and trees from this date.

Last updated: 3rd June 2021


There are exceptions to the dates above which are as follows:


  • the hedge overhangs a highway, road or footpath over which there is a public or private right of way and the overhanging hedge obstructs the passage of, or is a danger to, vehicles, pedestrians or horse riders
  • the hedge is dead, diseased, damaged or insecurely rooted and because of its condition, it or part of it, is likely to cause danger by falling on to a highway, road or footpath; or obstructs the view of drivers or the light from a public lamp
  • it is to carry out hedge-laying or coppicing during the period 1 March to 30 April (inclusive)
  • it is to trim a newly laid hedge by hand, within 6 months of it being laid
  • you have received written permission from RPA to cut or trim during the month of August for the purposes of sowing oilseed rape or temporary grassland during the same August. See our page on applying for a derogation.
  • you have received written permission from RPA to do so, to enhance the environment, improve public or agricultural access, or for reasons relating to livestock or crop production.


• The hedgerow or tree overhangs a highway, road, track or footpath to which the public have access, and the work is necessary because the overhanging vegetation: – obstructs the passage of vehicles or pedestrians; – obstructs the view of drivers, or the light from a public lamp; or – is a danger to horse-riders.

• The hedgerow or tree needs to be cut or trimmed because it is dead, diseased or damaged or insecurely rooted, and is therefore likely to cause danger by falling onto a highway, road or footpath.

• The cutting or trimming is carried out in order to maintain a ditch.

• The tree is in an orchard.

If you plan to cut hedges or trees based on the criteria above we advise that photo evidence is taken incase of an inspection or complaint.

Domestic Hedges

The cutting and trimming rules do not apply:

  • to hedges within the curtilage of a dwelling-house
  • to the whole hedge when it marks the boundary of the curtilage of the dwelling-house.

Click here for guidance on how to apply for a derogation.

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