Hedge biotopes / natural hedges

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Hedges play an important function for many animals. Most favourable is a hedge that is made up of different types of shrubs and/or trees and preferably is not pruned too neatly. Such a hedge is comparable to the edge of a forest. These hedges can be realised in parks but also as the property demarcation between private gardens. Berry- and fruit-bearing, nectar-producing species help insects and birds to survive in the city. The ‘Zeeuwse haag’ (‘Zeeland hedge’), as it is known in the Netherlands, consists of 60% hawthorn, 20% blackthorn and 20% field maple. Other plants that are favourable to fauna are: dog rose, eglantine, elderberry, blackberry, rowan, hornbeam and spindle tree.

When planting hedges, species should be considered that fit physically in the location once they have finished growing; that saves much pruning. Of course, colour, flowering and location determine the choice of species.

It is important to use as many native wild plants species as possible, because they attract butterflies and gliders. It is also important to offer a place in the garden to wild plants such as nettles because they are needed for the reproduction of butterflies. The butterfly bush is only suitable for providing food to butterflies. Caterpillars and butterflies, such as the peacock butterfly, small tortoiseshell, red admiral butterfly, comma butterfly and the map butterfly need the large nettle as a host plant.

Species richness above the ground means species richness in the soil © based on Krusche et al., 1982