Tree Belts for Ammonia Capture from Farmyards

Site suitability

The tree belt must be sited adjacent to livestock housing or slurry storage facility.
Tree belts are not permitted on NPWS designated sites (SACs, SPAs, NHAs, pNHAs), Breeding Wader Hotspots, semi natural grasslands, Annex 1 grasslands and within archaeological monument buffer zones.
Sites should be suitable to establish the chosen tree species, should be reasonably sheltered and have no requirement for additional drainage.

Note 1: Where a fence has been grant aided under TAMS II or any DAFM Capital investment Scheme from 01 January 2018, this fence cannot fulfil the fencing requirement for Tree Belts for Ammonia Capture from Farmyards.

Note 2: To remain in line with the Amendment of Forestry Act 2014 under Animal Health and Welfare and Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2022), an applicant cannot plant trees in a Tree belt for ammonia capture greater than 1 hectare.

The only other actions that can be selected on the chosen area for this action (full LPIS or split of parcel) are:

Barn Owl nest box, Coppicing of hedgerows, Laying of hedgerows, Traditional dry stone wall maintenance.


  1. This action can be delivered on a full or split LPIS parcel. Where the action is going on split LPIS it must be digitised and marked on the map submitted.
  2. The minimum depth of shelterbelt is 30 metres. The minimum parcel area is 0.18 hectares and maximum area for payment is 0.5 hectares (which includes the area of tree belt planted and the perimeter fencing).
  3. Planting of the tree belt must be completed by 31 March 2024.
  4. The tree belt must be fenced off to protect from livestock at least 1.5 metres out from the perimeter trees.
  5. Purchased trees must be a minimum of 60cm in height planted at a minimum 3 metre spacing between each tree.
  6. Minimum number of trees is 1 per 10m2 of tree belt area.
  7. Plants must be of Irish Origin or Irish Provenance and purchased from DAFM registered professional operators.
  8.  All trees purchased for this action must have an accompanying plant passport and participants must ensure that they retain the plant passport(s) for the duration of the contract.
  9. Plant at least 3 species from Table 1. below of which not more than 25 per cent of the total trees planted to be Scots pine.
  10. Grass and competing vegetation must be controlled around the trees annually as required.
  11. Planting cannot take place within the vicinity of overhead wires (see Table 3. below), within 20 m of railway line(s) or within 60 m of neighbouring dwellings. The maximum distance from the livestock shed to the tree belt is 50m.

Additional Guidance

  • Plant the tree belt according to the prevailing wind direction- if the prevailing wind is southwest, the shelterbelt is to be planted to the northeast of the building/slurry store. The distance from the livestock shed to the tree belt should be 10-20m.
  • Trees in the main canopy should contain a mix of species at 3m x 3m spacing. No one species should make up more than 60% of the mix. See Tree species for main canopy in Table 1. It is advisable to have at least one evergreen conifer in the mix. The main canopy should be open at the front (along the front facing the building) to allow air to enter.
  • Ideally, a dense backstop should be planted surrounding the main canopy on 3 sides. The trees should be a mix of species from the backstop list below in Table 1 to create a thick barrier. Spacing in the backstop will be 2m apart. The backstop should be at least 3 rows deep and planted diagonally to create a good barrier.
  • Create a weed-free area, <1m in diameter, at each planting position so the newly planted trees are free from competition. Control competing vegetation around each tree (while the tree is dormant) annually which is particularly important in the first 4 years to aid establishment.
  • It is recommended that the tree belt is protected with appropriate rabbit fencing.
  • Fencing should consist of 3 strand barbed wire or appropriate sheep fencing to effectively exclude all livestock.
  • Plants 60cm to 90cm should be used with larger plants around 90cm in height preferable.

Table 1 – Tree species for the main canopy

Common name Scientific name
Alder Alnus glutinosa
Silver birch Betula pendula
Downy birch Betula pubescens
Hazel Corylus avellana
Holly Ilex aquifolium
Crab apple Malus sylvestris
Scots pine Pinus sylvestris
Black poplar Populus nigra
Aspen Populus tremula
Wild cherry Prunus avium
Bird cherry Prunus padus
Sessile oak Quercus petraea
Pedunculate oak Quercus robur
Whitebeam Sorbus aria
Rowan Sorbus aucuparia
Irish whitebeam Sorbus Hibernica
Rock whitebeam Sorbus rupicola
Goat willow Salix caprea
Grey willow Salix cinerea
Bay willow Salix pentandra
Tree species for the backstop
Scots pine Pinus sylvestris
Holly Ilex aquifolium


Table 2 –  Examples of tree densities


Area selected for Tree Belt Quantity of trees (Minimum Requirement) 1/10m2 Quantity of trees 2m × 2m spacing in backstop and 3m × 3m spacing in main canopy
0.18 Ha

1,800 m2

180 Example: 60m × 30m belt

Backstop = 3 rows = 6 m depth (on 3 sides)

Area = 108×6 = 648m2

No. trees = 648÷ 4 = 162 trees

Main canopy = 24 m depth (30-6) 48m width (60-12)

Area = 48×24 = 1152

No. trees = 1152 ÷ 9 = 128 trees

0.3 Ha


300 Example: 100m × 30m belt

234 trees main canopy and 216 trees backstop

0.5 Ha


500 Example: 100m × 50m belt

430 trees main canopy and 282 trees backstop


Table 3 – The required clearance distance depends on the voltage of the overhead line

Power line type Clearance distance (from centre of line)
Low voltage (230/400V) 5 m
10 kV and 38 kV 10 m
110 kV 31 m
220 kV 34 m
400 kV 37 m
Note: All trees must be outside their falling distance from line support structures.