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Galen Johnson
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Linear sectors run through the concentric zones.  Linear sectors are the roads and fire breaks, the hedgerows, thorn fences, windbreaks, animal corridors and so on, that is, the rows rather than the areas.  Very often, they function to enclose area sectors such as pastures, food forests, gardens and so on.  You don't want your horses or cattle roaming the countryside or deer in your garden.  You don't want hunters walking your land, shooting your beaver.  So this is a thread on the linear sectors, but especially on hedgerows, thorn walls and roads and fire breaks.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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A fairly popular hedge species around here is the jade plant, Crassula ovata. They've just finished blooming, so they're a little ugly now.

I bet such a hedge would be a decent firebreak, as well as an amazing reserve of water for other purposes.

It's not uncommon to see green bins (bound for municipal composting) full of prunings from this plant. They're spectacularly easy to propagate, so if I ever want a medium-scale planting, judicious dumpster-diving at the right time of year could probably produce more than enough.
 
Galen Johnson
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American hedges are decorative, not functional.  Starting with the Enclosure laws in England, hedges began to be used for fencing.  A typical hedge was set on top of a long mound.  Its species were eight or ten feet tall and six feet wide.  Even trees were included, although they need cutting back.  Cutting back is the main thing to avoid with hedges.  If you choose the wrong species, they can easily outgrow their function and cause you a continuing headache.

When the Allies invaded France, they ran across a region that included miles of hedges.  It took months for tanks to ram through the area, so dense was it.

When Tolkein wrote the Hobbit, he put a hedge in Buckwood over the water,  backed against the Old Forest, to keep the denizens of the Forest out of the Shire. 
 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Many floodplain species in the PNW root easily from cuttings planted in the field.  Cuttings are the quickest easiest way to plant woody plants.  Planting cuttings at 2-6" spacing in a line will hopefully yield a fence inpenetrable to larger mammals in 5 years.  I'll post some pictures of my experiments.

I have been using the following Genera: Rubus, Rosa, Sambucus, Spirea, Holodiscus, Ribes, Physocarpus.

Some are structural, others are twiney, some take some shade and are short to fill low gaps.  What are the range of structural qualities that make a good hedge polyculture?

What species grow easy for you from cuttings?
 
                    
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Planting cuttings at 2-6" spacing in a line will hopefully yield a fence inpenetrable to larger mammals in 5 years. 


I think reallly close spacing is hopefully what will keep things from getting overly large and bushy when you'd rather they remained neat and dense.  But -- choosing the right species is essential. 

Cutting back is the main thing to avoid with hedges.  If you choose the wrong species, they can easily outgrow their function and cause you a continuing headache.


Agreed, we're taking our time in choosing what we'd like to hedge. 

There are a couple small quince bushes already here and I was considering layering them into a longer hedge shape.  Anyone tried quince as a hedge?  It's not all that sturdy but it does have some spines.  I bet it would keep pigs out after it was dense enough. 

I'm attracted to quince because it seems pretty short and has super early blooms.  I guess some would consider it ornamental, but having bees on site makes me think about the value of flowers (especially early and late in season) in a whole new light.  The quince flowers are open right now - gorgeous and appear to be laden with pollen.  The bees aren't here for another few weeks so I'll have to see if they even bother with the quince flowers next spring. 

What about layering as a hedge creation method?  After you have a few plants at a larger spacing you can rough up and then pin down (with two stakes in an X or a rock) new growth to the ground next to it.  In theory the slightly torn up bark will grow roots and in a few months which you can detach it and plant.  I've only personally witnessed this happen naturally with maples and blackberrys, I want to try it on quince. 

There's another important aspect to the tall wall of greenery though -- the prevention of seeing into the distance.  Many visitors come here and stand in the driveway, looking at everything from one vantage point.  I want to make it impossible to see the whole place in the first glance.  I feel like a sense of "what's behind that bush/hedge/etc?" can compel people to venture and wander - I think in Japanese garden design it's termed something like "creating a sense of mystery" and a way to accomplish this is to create smaller spaces within a larger overall clearing/field/lot. 

In our space it might work well to have a couple of long, vaguely north south hedgerows (a line but not an entirely straight one) dividing up the orchard and pasture.  It seems north south rows would cast the least amount of full shade onto whatever's next to it, also, opening up companion planting possibilities. 
 
Galen Johnson
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There's another important aspect to the tall wall of greenery though -- the prevention of seeing into the distance.

Well, that's a privacy wall or a shade.  Another form of linear sector.  Privacy walls block views to and fro.  Shades you want to block the summer sun from your house and let the winter sun in.  Hedges enclose.  Different functions.  If you can combine them, all the better.

I have propagated rugosa -- from Oregon, too.  The entire secret is to keep the cuttings at 100% humidity for six weeks or so.  So I used soaked peat moss for soil and put a two-litre bottle (with the bottom cut off) over the top of the cuttings to act as a mini-greenhouse.  Direct sunlight would bake them, so I used dappled sunlight under a hardwood.  After they had developed roots and started putting on new leaves, I planted them on site.  Squirrels will dig them up, incidentally.

I would avoid north-south plantings in favour of plantings on grade, if I could.  Vetiver grass and keyline roads, for instance, are all on grade and so are swales.  Just a thought.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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marina phillips wrote:
Anyone tried quince as a hedge?

What about layering as a hedge creation method? 


I stuck quince cuttings last year and around 80% survived with little growth... this year will tell the truth.  They sucker prolifically.. which would allow division and transplant.  I have found them inpenetrable--supple but very tangled.  The force nicely for inside or retail sale.

I like the layering idea, I was lamenting the inability to root hazel cuttings, but I think some of my layers may go into the hedge as well.  I wonder if the arching stem would remain alive and viable if not cut following rooting of the child plant?
 
                    
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Yeah, I was wondering that too, Paul, if you could pin it to the ground and then just leave it like that.  The self-layering wild plants seem to do that just fine. 

In our case, galen, the north south -ish hedges are cross contour and will be planted on mounded swales. 
 
Galen Johnson
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I have tried layering.  It is hard to pin the branch down without breaking it -- most branches are not made for that.  Don't try setting a rock on it.  Pin it down.  If you do not keep the ground constantly wet, the branch will not take root.  Most people have better luck with air layering, for instance, Cannabis sativa does better with air layering.

If you want a lot  of plants, try tissue culture.  You can get hundreds or thousands of clones from tissue culture.  It is similar to mushroom culture.  It is a good skill to have.

 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I just visited Mission San Juan Bautista. There were remnants of a very old tuna (prickly pear) hedge.

Not only would this cactus contain cattle and produce fruit, they might be a decent barrier against wildfires, and a grassfire would remove some of the spines, possibly opening up the hedge itself to some grazing while the other species recover.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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