Win a copy of 5 Acres & A Dream The Sequel this week in the Homestead forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Kate Downham

Here’s 5 steps to start a hedgerow

 
gardener
Posts: 2123
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
944
hugelkultur kids forest garden fungi trees books bike homestead
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


Hedgerows provide numerous benefits to a wild homestead but where do you start? And how do you make a true hedgerow as opposed to just a row of manicured shrubs?

This week’s blog post – 5 Steps to Start a Hedgerow on Your Wild Homestead – dives into 5 steps that you can follow to get your hedgerow going.

Here are the 5 steps covered in this post:

1. Determine the main purpose of your hedgerow.
2. Decide where you want to plant your hedgerow.
3. Decide how wide and tall it will be.
4. Set up basic planting rows.
5. Pick your plants.

This post topic was selected by our wonderful patrons! Each month they vote to select a blog post topic for the following month. I’m very grateful to their support which keeps Wild Homesteading ad free and helps support the time my wife and I spend to bring weekly blog posts to you all.

Picking Out Your Plants – Some Wild Tips



After planting over 400 feet of hedgerows I’ve learned a lot about picking plants for them. One of the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to pick plants that have similar growth rates.

When I first started planting hedgerows I focused more on the size of the plant at maturity. I forgot to pay attention to the growth rates of the plants.

This resulted in some of the shrubs and trees racing up towards the sky while a couple slower ones stayed small—despite these slow ones having a similar height at maturity.

I’ve had to keep pruning back the fast growing shrubs and trees in order to keep the slower growing ones from being overwhelmed. Finally, they slowpokes are catching up and holding their own but I spent way too much time creating space for them.

Since this hedgerow was meant for privacy and keeping deer out I needed to avoid any gaps in it. This was why the slowpokes were so problematic. Even if the branches of nearby shrubs touched there would still be a gap at the bottom—especially during the winter months.

So when your planning your own hedgerow don’t forget to keep in mind the growth rate of the plants your picking. You might want to skip the slowpokes.

Another wild tip that I want to share is to pick plants for your hedgerow that can handle some shade but do fine with sun too. This way lower branches of your shrubs won’t die from the shade cast by the taller branches.

If you want a thick and dense hedgerow this is very important.

And don’t forget to check out the blog post—it covers all the other steps to start a hedgerow and provides 10 different tips for picking your plants including the 2 I shared here.

Have You Started a Hedgerow?



So have you started your own hedgerow? What purpose would a hedgerow serve on your wild homestead? And if you already have one let me know why you planted it.

Leave a comment here and please check out the blog post too and leave a comment over there.

While you are over on the blog most make sure to leave a comment! If you are the first to do so you will get a piece of pie! The pie will get you access to some special features on perimes, discounts at some vendors, and you can use it to purchase some products on the permies digital marketplace.

If you leave a comment on the blog post make sure to leave a post here on permies too so I can easily give you the slice of pie.

And finally if you do have hedgerows on your own land please post a picture here. I would love to see what your hedgerow looks like! 😊
 
Daron Williams
gardener
Posts: 2123
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
944
hugelkultur kids forest garden fungi trees books bike homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just wanted to add a bit about what is behind the 2 hedgerows shown in the above post. The hedgerow in the first and third image is along a busy road. But now that road is mostly invisible though of course we can still hear the cars.

The second image is alongside a dirt driveway I share with my neighbors. There is also a couple houses along that driveway that you can just see over the top of the hedgerow.

When my wife and I purchased our land almost 4 years ago (4 years in September) both of these images would have looked out over lawns. The big cherry tree was there (left side of the 2nd image) but otherwise it was all just lawns. And these hedgerows are still growing and won't reach their max height and density for a number of years still.

A lot has changed since then and I wanted to share so you would know how quick a hedgerow can get established. You just have to get started and I hope the blog post will help you do that!
 
Posts: 79
Location: Ohio, United States
38
duck books fiber arts building sheep solar
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here are some things I took into consideration as I started planting hedgerows to form windbreaks and (hopefully) living fences for my sheep:

1: Chosen species must be hardy and adapted to local growing conditions.
2: They must be relatively fast growing.
3: They must form a dense branch structure close to the ground (Shetland sheep can be escape artists).
4: They must be able to tolerate sheep browsing on leaves and twigs (Shetlans also think they're goats and love to nibble brushy stuff and tree leaves).
5: They must be cheap/free to source as seedlings/small whips.
6: They must either naturally form multiple trunks or sucker easily in case I need to cut them back to produce a thicker stand.
7: Preference for species that produce blooms and fruit.

Taking all of that into consideration, most of what I've put into my hedgerows have been tree seedlings that have shown up in their own in my planting beds: crabapples, honey locust, mulberry, red osier/dogwood, and hawthorn. I've also got a few hardwood (mostly oak and maple, with a couple of osage orange and buckeyes) whips I've planted in for larger shade trees, and a few non-natives (russian/autumn olive, nanking cherry). And I've let things like black raspberries grow up and around the seedlings as they've gotten 3' or taller. I'm only a few years into the process, so I have a long way to go before the hedge is tight enough to contain the sheep, but it already provides some benefits to wildlife (food. cover). and I keep adding to it (length and width both--ultimately I plan for a 4' max width, especially where I need a windbreak) as I find more seedlings in places where they shouldn't be.

Bottom line, a hedge has to meet the needs of YOUR property, so look at what grows well in your microclimate and meets your needs for food/fodder/flowers/habitat.
 
pollinator
Posts: 364
Location: Nomadic
31
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great ideas! I experimented planting a 600’ wild homestead hedge along a busy road. I tried to use mostly native plants and edible or useful plants. There is a shortage of native evergreen broadleaf plants in the temperate PNW, Oregon and Washington. But there’s lots of conifers. And native trees and shrubs are available cut-rate at the annual conservation plant sale held by the Conservation District.
One of the biggest issues I’m having with wild hedges and food forests is they were blackberry magnets where I lived. I had a hard time keeping up with the blackberry thinning. I’d love to work in another hedge and food forest but don’t want to create a maintenance issue. Also if it gets grown over with blackberries it would be a big waste of effort. I mowed and hand pulled blackberries. But if health issues prevent one from keeping up then it’s discouraging. I’m thinking I’ll do a small hedge and food forest so it doesn’t get overwhelming. Keep the scale manageable is my advice for hedges and food forests. Know your limits. I was on my own. It would be nice if it was a community effort.
 
Posts: 7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for this timely post, Daron - I've been thinking about starting a hedgerow in the fall.  My plan is to thwart the deer that come in on one end of my property and eat their way through to the road.  I'd like to channel them along to the road by having the hedgerow block them.  But they'll probably eat any plants that I'm trying to establish, so does that mean while my hedgerow is getting established, I'd have to fence it in? I'm located in So. Oregon and would like to use native plants.  Hoping you'll have some suggestions to help me gently redirect my little brown friends.  
 
Jeremy Baker
pollinator
Posts: 364
Location: Nomadic
31
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I’m not sure how to keep deer out. Some say bloodmeal. Some say bone sauce. In S. Oregon was the tallest poison oak I’ve ever seen. Ten feet tall. Just right for a hedge lol. I wonder if anyone has ever used it to keep humans out.
I salvaged red alder seedlings from a tilled field. I wanted a hedge to grow very fast and provide shade and mulch. I harvested the red alders after a few years and the dwarf cedars were starting to fill in. There were power lines near the hedge I planted so the alders had to be removed anyway. Another super fast and free mulch tree is black cottonwood. Push branches into the ground and they grow. But be aware, if they get too big and tall they can be expensive to cut down.
 
pollinator
Posts: 254
51
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As Jeremy mentioned, cottonwood (or any member of the aspen family) grows ridiculously easy. You can stick cuttings in wet ground and they grow. You can bend saplings down and pin them to the ground and have all those branches become trees, as the original takes root along the entire length. You can coppice them. But once they become actual trees they are a nuisance. Everything above also applies to willow, which does not become as large, and grows almost as fast. I’ve used both to establish great windbreaks while waiting for the slower spruce trees to catch up.
 
Laurel Bishop
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you, Jeremy and Julie!  I will look into all your suggestions.  BTW, Jeremy - what is bone sauce?  Cheers, Laurel
 
Jeremy Baker
pollinator
Posts: 364
Location: Nomadic
31
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ive not made bone sauce but if memory serves it’s a deer repellant made by cooking bones down. Popularized by September Holzer and others.
https://youtu.be/o4xVKVc4NYQ
 
pollinator
Posts: 143
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada -- Zone 5a
53
cat trees books cooking bee writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Julie Reed wrote:As Jeremy mentioned, cottonwood (or any member of the aspen family) grows ridiculously easy. You can stick cuttings in wet ground and they grow. You can bend saplings down and pin them to the ground and have all those branches become trees, as the original takes root along the entire length. You can coppice them. But once they become actual trees they are a nuisance. Everything above also applies to willow, which does not become as large, and grows almost as fast. I’ve used both to establish great windbreaks while waiting for the slower spruce trees to catch up.



That's really good to know. I've been planning to find some baby aspen to transplant, but wasn't sure how easy that would be. Sounds like pretty easy after all So now I'm thinking it will be easier to identify an older aspen tree, and then make cuttings from it. Will try this fall!
 
Laurel Bishop
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's super, Jeremy - I'll watch it!  
 
Julie Reed
pollinator
Posts: 254
51
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Heidi- do it now, or in the spring, not fall. If you’re that far north they will not establish roots in time to make it through the winter. Here’s pics I posted on a different thread, about how quickly the cuttings root (2 weeks-ish). You could do it this way too, right now. Good luck! It’s really fool proof.
49018CA8-FB60-4E8E-A141-9E08764EE448.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 49018CA8-FB60-4E8E-A141-9E08764EE448.jpeg]
8299CEF4-851B-48EA-A399-A948009F3E81.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 8299CEF4-851B-48EA-A399-A948009F3E81.jpeg]
CED4C44D-D6BD-46E5-9D9B-332722AE7E74.jpeg
[Thumbnail for CED4C44D-D6BD-46E5-9D9B-332722AE7E74.jpeg]
 
Heidi Schmidt
pollinator
Posts: 143
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada -- Zone 5a
53
cat trees books cooking bee writing
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ahh, thank you... ok, I will do it soon, or come next spring! Appreciate the advice and how-to :)
 
Posts: 4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am new at gardening so this one helped me the most. I will try it once the time correct
 
Daron Williams
gardener
Posts: 2123
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
944
hugelkultur kids forest garden fungi trees books bike homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Catherine – Great list of things to take into account! Thanks for sharing! 😊

Jeremy – Yeah, blackberries can be quite a challenge. As far as evergreens go I’m slowly adding evergreen huckleberries to my hedges as they get shadier. I’ve found these huckleberries to be fairly easy to get established but also slow to grow. But they’re great for adding an evergreen screen in a hedgerow. They can reach 10-12 feet in height but it takes a while for them to get that big. But it can be a nice long-term addition to a hedgerow.

Laurel – Happy to help! 😊 I had to put up a basic fence around my hedgerows to give them time to get established. Now most of my fences are disappearing into my hedges and I plan to remove them in a couple years once the hedges are thick enough in winter to keep deer out.

Nootka rose and snowberries are great plants for filling in hedgerows. I’ve also had really good luck with red flowering currants and osoberries (Indian plum). Other plants I used are riverbank lupines and for trees I’ve had good luck with cascara and Douglas maples. Native red and blue elderberries can be good too but almost too good—the blues especially since they can overwhelm nearby plants. Black twinberries are also working well for me.

I’m not sure if those are all native to your area but they’re great plants.

Jeremy – About the deer… In addition to putting up a temporary deer fence I’ve had luck on some of my restoration sites using large branches and dead blackberries to keep deer out of areas. This seems to work when they have another good option for their travels. It seems to be giving time for my restoration plantings to get established. Something to consider.

Heidi – I’ve got some aspens on my property too that I transplanted. They seem to be doing well without any real care. Though they will spread once they get established. Which is great as long as your ready for that.

Julie – Thanks for sharing!

Jessica – Great! 😊
 
Posts: 1523
Location: Fennville MI
59
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I recommend doing a little research into the methods of hedge laying :) One of the sneaky secrets us that there is, in effect, a fence built in the center of the hedgerow in the course of laying it. Helps with keeping critters on the assigned side. Also let's us know that it's ok to start with a fence to keep the critters managed and let the hedge overtake it.
Another notion to have in mind is pleaching, where branches of different individual plants will fuse together where they intersect. Belgian Fence us an espalier technique that takes advantage of this trait. It can very much help with producing an impenetrable hedgerow.
 
today's feeble attempt to support the empire
BWB second printing, pre-order dealio (poor man's poll)
https://permies.com/t/147624/BWB-printing-pre-order-dealio
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic