Many farmers contain their boundaries with walls, fencing or hedgerows. Our ecology depends upon the good management of hedgerows as the link with wildlife and plants is important for our sustainability. There are occasionally grants to be had to assist with the cost of buying and planting Stewardship species which can either be planted as a mixture or as individual species.
If there is a lot of work to be done i.e. many acres to be planted around, then rather than worry about mixing species, individual plants such as Quickthorn, Alder or Blackthorn may be used as a single species hedge but much may depend upon the site to be planted, for example the type of soil, if the ground sits wet or dry, if it is near the coast or halfway up a mountain. Other species used for Stewardship hedgerows are Dog Rose, Field Maple, Green Beech, Hazel and Hornbeam which all have their own benefits for the farmer in attracting birds and insects for pollination and the Beech and Hornbeam giving a little added protection with their leaf retention.
The farmer and his family of course also enjoying the benefits of Rose hips, Hazelnuts and Sloe berries from the Blackthorn. By planting a single species hedge the farmer can keep the cost to a minimum by taking advantage of the price banding on a large quantity and the same would apply if he or she purchased a set Stewardship Mix. However, if the mix of species is not to their liking then it is possible to design a mix fit for purpose.
Normally a Stewardship mix would have a basis of Quickthorn and or Blackthorn as a support for the other species in a mix with Quickthorn probably being the most cost effective single species. These species are tolerant of reasonable soil and exposure and will grow at a rate of approximately 30cm plus per year and planting at a density of 5-7 plants per metre for a double staggered row would be normal especially if it is for stock-proofing.
If the area to be planted is low lying with pockets of wet ground, then a plant such as Alder would suit as it thrives in such sites. If there is a requirement for gapping up where plants have failed or been destroyed, then usually a smaller size is better to try and fill in around established plants as it is always risky since the established plants will prioritise over nutrients and water in the ground sometimes to the detriment of new plants.