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hedge plants - for a living fence and coppicing or laying a hedge

 
gardener
Posts: 6785
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I am in the process of growing an Osage Orange living fence across the front of our property. When done it will be almost 1000 feet in length. I get the seeds from a tree that is by the road on the way to our property, set them out to stratify over the winter then separate the seeds and plant them 12 inches apart. Out of every three "apples" I get around 100 viable seeds. It is not really hard but is time consuming to separate the seeds from the stratified fruits, they become soft and easy to break open when they are ready for seed separation. The alternate method is to chop them into sections with a machete and plant in shallow ditches. Either method works.
 
steward
Posts: 6533
Location: Carnation, WA (Western Washington State / Cascadia / Pacific NW)
2014
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I ran across this hedge laying video "South of England Style" and thought it belonged here.



Oh, and this channel, Woodlands TV, has another one "Hedge Laying with bill hook:"



 
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Great idea but lost in this is the avocation of using Russian Olive as a fence.  It is a non-native, heavy invader of wetlands to the point where it out competes all tree species.  I see this missing in a lot permaculture ideas -  a lack of understanding natural balance with native plant communities.
 
steward & author
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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Thomas Adams wrote:
Great idea but lost in this is the avocation of using Russian Olive as a fence.  It is a non-native, heavy invader of wetlands to the point where it out competes all tree species.  I see this missing in a lot permaculture ideas -  a lack of understanding natural balance with native plant communities.



This thread might interest you, it's about native plants v. invasives in permaculture.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Thomas Adams wrote:
Great idea but lost in this is the avocation of using Russian Olive as a fence.  It is a non-native, heavy invader of wetlands to the point where it out competes all tree species.  I see this missing in a lot permaculture ideas -  a lack of understanding natural balance with native plant communities.



People keep talking about how invasive the Elaeagnus species are, but I just don't see it.  I have to take cuttings to propagate mine and I have never had a volunteer sprout up anywhere on my property.  
 
Posts: 18
Location: Shelby IN, USA. Zone 6a
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Any updates on the fence? I'd love to see pictures!

How long did it take from planting (seeds or whips) to something reasonably stock proof?
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 6533
Location: Carnation, WA (Western Washington State / Cascadia / Pacific NW)
2014
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Tansy Arron-Walker wrote:Any updates on the fence? I'd love to see pictures!

How long did it take from planting (seeds or whips) to something reasonably stock proof?


Welcome to permies, Tansy!

We don't have updates or pictures yet. Maybe someone else does on their hedge.

Last fall, Paul and I made progress on planting seeds. In the previous couple years I had purchased a couple small whips of hawthorns, to make a meager start, though they died in some drought seasons. Multiple factors contributed to our delays and those sad little lost trees. Ah well.

One thing we DID accomplish last year, which will help us nurture the hedge better, was to build 'tango trail' (a dry stack rock switchback foot path) plus another dirt, ramp-like trail to actually get down to where the first part of the hedge is. That was quite the project. Lots of hauling rocks. In any case, now, if we have drought conditions again, we can more easily take water down to any thirsty little tree and shrub starts.

base camp (where Paul and I live and where we're starting this hedge) is one of two properties that make up wheaton labs. base camp is about 20 acres and the second property is the lab which is over 200 acres and just down the road from base camp. base camp is a hilly ROCKY place with thin topsoil over the rocks.

In my enthusiasm to contribute to our burgeoning project, I have bought and planted a lot of trees and shrubs, besides the hawthorns, and many of them have died due to the poor soil conditions and unseasonable weather, among other things; plus me biting off more than I could chew. We're building soil and having more and more success each year though, and I'm learning about my limits, so that's all encouraging.

 
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Location: New Zealand
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Celeste Solum wrote:I can't recall which one but BBC had a series on farming in the 1600-1700's and they would use living hedges/fences and waddle them with flexible trees such as alder, but it can be anything really.  It was fascinating.



There have been a few along these lines. I suspect you are wanting the following (all by the same people, for the most part):
[2005] Tales from the Green Valley
[2009] Victorian Farm <--- I think from memory this is the specific series you need
[2010] Edwardian Farm
[2012] Wartime Farm
[2013] Tudor Monastery Farm
 
pollinator
Posts: 641
Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
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Has anyone tried the salix purpurea strain of willow?  They are supposed to be so bitter animals won't eat them.purple willow
 
gardener & author
Posts: 2623
Location: Tasmania
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I read an English book about hedges recently. They recommended 90% hawthorn or blackthorn with 10% other plants to make a stockproof hedge. They were probably limited to plants known over there, and may not have known about black locust and others you've mentioned.
 
gardener
Posts: 630
Location: Wheaton Labs, MT and Tularosa, NM
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After seeing how jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) was growing and coppicing in New Mexico, i would add it to the list.
 
pollinator
Posts: 242
Location: Dolan Springs, AZ 86441
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Does anyone know about Desert Southwest (Northern Arizona @ 3400  feet elevation, 7" annual rain) plants that can be used for making a living Fence/hedgerow?

What is the expense breakdown vs the common 5-wire barbed wire fence? or would I need both? I have about 1662 linear feet all told, not counting any gates I might want.

I was thinking of trying Ochatilla and weaving a fence from that. Of course, everything grows very slowly here, except for about 2-3 months in the spring.

Water is also pretty scarce. It costs me $100 per 1500 gallons to have it trucked in. I'm on a rectangular 3.66 acres and the water tank is at almost the highest point on the property. The property is in the Open Range area.

I would probably start on the south side (481 feet) and then work my way around to the west end (300-foot road frontage), north, and finally the east side of the property. The South and North fence lines might also work to break the near-constant wind just a little, although the north side of the property is about 10 feet (max) lower than the south fence. An east-west running ridge separates the two long sides.

Any suggestions would be welcomed, as I don't have any experience with this process at this point. Thanks.
 
pioneer
Posts: 456
Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 5a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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Thomas Adams wrote:
Great idea but lost in this is the avocation of using Russian Olive as a fence.  It is a non-native, heavy invader of wetlands to the point where it out competes all tree species.  I see this missing in a lot permaculture ideas -  a lack of understanding natural balance with native plant communities.


    My suspicion is that very degraded/stressed soils sometimes just can’t support the plants that have been living there, or the soils get to a point where they are ready to start going to regrowth forest, and the “invasive” plants like Russian Olive, blackberry, and sea buckthorn set the stage for succession towards a climax ecosystem.
 
pollinator
Posts: 571
Location: OK High Plains Prairie, 23" rain avg
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Bryant Redhawk, How is your osage orange hedge growing? You were planting 5 years ago, how tall has it grown? Did you water it? I'm in Western Oklahoma, do I need to water osage orange? We are supposed to get 20" inches or rain a year, but not this year.
 
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Hi! I realize it has been 6 years, but I am now in the position of wanting to plant a hedge and I am very intrigued by Osage Orange. I live in Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula, and I am curious, did you end up planting your hedge? And if so, what did you end up planting and are you happy with it?

Thanks so much!

 
pollinator
Posts: 350
Location: Missoula, MT
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Hi contemporary hedge growers!

Someone came to me recently asking for advice on how to grow a hedge, and this is generally what I came up with:

In planting a hedge and growing it on, what you are really doing is establishing trees and shrubs, and so you need to approach it with that in mind. Of the species you want to grow as a hedge, have you grown them before? If so, reflect on which ones have been the most successful, best-growing plants. Then try to duplicate what you did before but many times over and planted closely together. If you haven't grown very many of the plants you want to grow as your hedge, try growing a small number of them first to see how they do on your site.

If you are working with unfamiliar, unfavorable, or extreme growing conditions, to minimize the number of failed individual plants in your hedge, try to grow the plants in a nursery bed in the soil on site for one year first and then transplant them out the second year. That way you will have selected for individuals that can survive in your local conditions, and additionally you can select for things like growth rate, leaf color, thorns vs thornless, etc. Planting trees and shrubs that are individually selected and that have already proven themselves in your soil will really help establish your hedge as a continuous and consistent hedge, reducing the morse code effect that occurs when letting the plant selection occur in-hedge. If your selected plants can be propagated clonally, taking an additional year to grow out clones will really help achieve a consistent hedge (if that is what you're going for).

At the same time as growing out your potential hedge transplants, you will need to prepare the planting site. This can include fencing, irrigation, mulch, dealing with existing plants, browse and rodent control, etc. Again think of all the best trees you've planted already of the particular species you want to include in your hedge, and what you had to do to get them set up for success. Then do that site preparation in a continuous segment, however long by however wide you want your hedge to be.

Plants are quite fussy about their needs and requirements, and they are extremely punctual - do them the right thing a little too late and they'll die, do the wrong thing anytime and they'll die. So be sure to take the fullest advantage of your seasonal planting times (ie why seed packets say things like "plant as soon as the soil can be worked"). This is especially important when transplanting trees, as they have their annual cycles that need to be adhered to in order for them to remain happy.

Considering the long term sequence of specific actions that must be carried out for a hedge to be successful, such a project should be administered by a permanent resident of the site or someone who lives nearby. This needs to be someone who actually has the capacity and dedication to see the establishment through to completion and then maintain it afterward. Hedges fundamentally require regular human intervention, especially in the early years.

Below is a helpful list of questions to consider before planting a hedge. Answering these questions will help narrow down your options and help determine if your hedge planting will be successful.

Quantity questions
- What is the length and width (and height) of the proposed hedge?
- How many seedlings would you like to plant into it?
- How many people will be available to do the labor?

Establishment questions
- Is the area to be planted permanently fenced off from deer and other browsing animals?
- Is it possible to set up drip tape on a timer valve for the first two or three summers?
- Would you like to include rodent or rabbit protection (eg 1 to 2 foot tall tree collars made from aluminum flashing, wire mesh, etc)?
- Is mulch available on site? If so, to what extent is it readily available (ie - in a pile nearby)?
- Is there existing vegetation where the hedge will go? If so, what's growing there and is it compatible for planting your hedge into? If not compatible, what's the plan for removing the existing vegetation?

Plant selection
- List the species you'd like to include. Have you grown them before on your site?
- Of the chosen species, do you have seeds or plants already?
- Of the chosen species, do you want to direct-seed, plant transplants, or do both?
- If doing transplants, will they come from your own nursery on site, nearby from a nursery with similar soil, or from a nursery from another region with different soil and growing conditions?

 
                                          
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From Western Oregon. Would love to raise goats in our orchard as we have limited acreage and desire for maintaining weeds, esp blackberry and poison oak😆
I was just researching potential shrubs between the tree layer that would deter goats and Oregon Grape came up on my list. Apparently the prickly leaves are sharp as well as very astringent. I have always like the idea of pollacking the trees to use as fodder, esp Oregon Ash, Big Leaf Maple, and hawthorns, as the goal is to provide the goats with as much “tree hay” as possible year round, and possibly even use as bedding in a hoop house with tarp for shelter.
Would definitely need to put metal mesh around each fruit tree in the orchard unless I could waddle some alder or willow branches around them🙂
Always try to go Native as we don’t want to make the same mistakes with Himalayan blackberry and Russian olive 😝
With love from Oregon, any thoughts?
(Inspired by Ringing Cedars of Russia, book 4 “Co-Creation” “A Fence”.
 
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