So it seems to me that most of the living fence ideas tend to be based on hedge laying which seems to work by grafting and therefore wouldn't work well as a polyculture? Is there a way to build a stock proof fence as a polyculture? It seems to me that a huge line of the same plants would be more suspected to diseases and pests especially if they are grafted together. I dont know how you could get that same really dense growth though with many species at once for it to be stock proof. So What am I missing? any ideas? I think that a multi layered hedge might be relatively easy for an animal to pass unless its really really thick each layer?
In the UK where they also know a thing about hedging , the two main traditional plants were hawthorn and Black thorn . You Will notice I am sure the use of the word thorn thats the point other wise it Will not keep the animals out or in depending on your need .
Other plants have been known to seed themselves into the hedge or were planted deliberatly but always keeping the main thorn plants in place.
There was one historian who calculated a method for working out the âge of a hedge by how many new trees colonised the hedge.
I myself have often seen fruit trees ( Apple pear cherry médlar ) soft fruit ( raspberry black berry hops ) as part of these old hedges.
I should point out such hedges are not very goat proof.
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
Oh yes, beautiful hedges in the UK as well. Very helpful and interesting information (historian who calculated a method for working out the âge of a hedge by how many new trees colonised the hedge.) Merci David.
It must be a dieing art in France.
During WWII, there were heavy hedgerow areas inland from Normandy Beach.
Both the German and U.S. soldiers stated that they were so thick you could not drive a tank through them.
Stopped both a Panther and a Sherman.
What you are talking about I suspect is a " brocage" its different to what I would I call a hedge.
A hedge built to keep animals in or out And uses small trees that can be " layered" to renew the hedge
A brocage includes large trees deliberatly in order to pollard them and often is used alongside roads .
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
I have a question about living hedges. We recently moved onto 2 acres. I'm very excited about the 100's of possibilities for life, but sadly there is only one of me (single mom taking care of 11yr old son & elderly parent & working full time) and much to do and not enough time or money… But then! I thought edible/living fence. I have lots of dewberries, some type of old fashioned rose bush growing in my pasture(we just moved this summer so I haven't seen the roses yet) and I recently was able to pick up several osage oranges. I love the link about the Irish hedges. I would love some advice from someone with more experience. I have read lots of good & bad about the bois d'arc. I have a goat, want a cow. Live in E TX zone 8b. Would love, love, love to to do the whole edible forest garden thing.
We bought our place a couple of years ago (zone 7 - 8 ). We planned to capitalize on natural fencing. Our land already had it on all for sides, with various weak points. I am less enthusiastic today. Our goats can get through very dense 12' high and 16' deep blackberry, dewberry, and bramble patches. The deer jump through them several times a day to hang out with our heard. Our Alpacas are deterred at even the weak points. I think the key to making them work is knowing what you want them to do; and planting the correct items for your purpose. I have a lot of great items that are not working for us. After a lot of consideration, we are placing a minimal wood fence as we can around our entire perimeter. We are adding the living fence to both sides of it. In years to come, the fence will be encompassed in some places and in others we begin removing it, as it served it purpose to train those on both sides there is a barrier. We have removed temporary wood fencing from different areas already as we move through our phases of growing our place. We have observed that both our herd and the deer generally behave as though it is still there.
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A living hedge will not be stock proof unless it is "laid" - as already mentioned above.
An expert hedge layer can lay around 100m of hedge per day - with the right tools and a hedge in good condition. It used to be a traditional winter job on english farms when the rest of the work was quieter.
When doing a neglected hedge it helps to have a chainsaw for the heavier pieces, as well as the traditional bill hook. You don't need to keep to a formal style - just aim for a dense woven layer especially near the ground. It is easy to leave large gaps at ground level if you are not paying attention.
I spent a week working as a conservation volunteer restoring about 1km of hedging - it was massively overgrown but we were still able to get it stock proof for sheep.
These days most laid hedges in britain also have wire fences as backup.
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