It looks like it could be more like a hedge.
The little willows were all rather close together. And there were a lot of them.
But I wonder ..... would it be strictly ornamental? Would it grow so thick that some of the willows would die?
Could something like that contain pigs?
Keep out deer?
And what about something similar for areas with less moisture and colder winters?
Anybody have experience with this sort of thing?
Here's one how-to resource on how to make a living willow fence (also known as a willow "fedge": http://www.mastergardenproducts.com/gardenerscorner/livingwillowfence.htm
Reading about it online says that it probably wouldn't be effective keeping out deer, at least not for the first decade anyway. Deer love to munch on young willow and would graze it to the ground...
if in a very large area and if the willows were large it seems they might keep pigs in. I only raised them one winter to work a new garden area so I am no expert but they were incredibley destructive. almost managed to tunnel under chain link more than once and escaped electric fence many times by rooting up dirt on a wire and grouding it out. did you know pigs fit in standard tomato cages? at 2am? and they panic and can't get out? ha ha
The only challenge I see with blackberries is that after this years canes produce berries they will die, however if they are planted thick enough they just might work.
Years ago I had an Osage Orange bush where I lived. This guy had very long and very sharp thorns. I did some research and found that during colonial times this was planted an a natural fence for cattle. Not sure how it would do in colder climates.
I think this is one of those areas where it would be great to hear from some folks that have real experience with this.
It would be a great way to reclaim a blackberry wildland into a forest garden, etc. Clear enough for it to hold pigs, and see if they push that edge a bit further back every year.
Goats I agree would change that landscape fast enough to escape, would need an additional fence.
Surely, you won't be able to put animals in it terribly soon, but willows started like the picture above and protected from deer until they were above browse height would make a great enclosure.
This summer we went back to our beaver damaged structure and pollarded all the willows so we could start the weaving process anew. Some of the trunk diameters were as much as 8-10 inches and in spots they formed almost a solid wall.
Also, another idea that Doug saw in Poland was a livestock enclosure made from wattle (google "wattle fencing" for some pics). The people were planting fast-growing trees about 6 - 8 feet apart and letting them grow for a few years. Then, once the trees were about 4-6 inches dbh, they would lop of the tops at about 7 feet. They would take the tops and use them to weave between the trees to create the fencing. Every year they would go out and pollard the trees (that's coppicing up high instead of at ground level) and use the trimmings as the actual fence material. That way you have living fence posts and an unending supply of new wattle to add as the old wattles break down.
I think using biological solutions for fencing is a great idea, even if they take a while to establish. You can always run electric fencing just inside the establishing system until it is fully functional.
It's from a county conservation district whose role, it appears, is to assist farmers in working with (not against) the local environment. Free soil tests are provided to those in the program, there's a manure share program, and then I saw these instructions so I dashed over here to post it.
Myrica is mentioned in the plant lists, which I think Dave Boehnlein said has some permaculture value, though I'm not sure what.
Unless your barrier has been well-started (several years) and has a large, heavy, strong root system, wouldn't pigs just root through/under the roots as they ate them?
A blackberry thicket may be inpenetrable to humans, but to pigs? I don't know...
Not all cane berries tip over and root.
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Myrica is mentioned in the plant lists, which I think Dave Boehnlein said has some permaculture value, though I'm not sure what.
Myrica californica, aka California Wax Myrtle, is great. it is a N-fixing shrub that can handle droughty conditions. It grows somewhat vertically in form, making it a good candidate for screening. It is a broadleaf evergreen, which is nice in the winter. It is closely related to the east coast bayberry (which you may know as a common candle scent). The seeds are actually coated in wax that, theoretically could be used to make candles.
More cool info on CA Wax Myrtle at http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Myrica+californica.
Actually, a good living fence, are climbing roses. If there are wild roses in your area-wherever a person might be-they will work really well. Just start them growing on something that will support their weight over time. Deer dont like them-which makes them a good deer deterrant for gardens.
My ex made a fedge on the road side of our garden in New Hampshire by letting some saplings grow up (various kinds, including wild cherries and who knows what else), then when they were about eight to twelve feet tall, he bent them over and wove them into a fence. It's pretty solid now. He started doing something similar around his bee yard, too, but I don't know if it will ever keep the bears out. He has to use an electric fence for that.
willows will grow best for a fedge here..the smaller willows would work better as the weeping willows will get about 2' across at the trunk in no time..exerpience.
nearly ALL roses will die to the ground here..and they never quite get thick enough for a fedge..other shrubs that do get thick are honeysuckle shrubs and autumn or russian olive..lots of people plant them for barriers..however..rabbits are small enough to go through about anything..just a tiny opening..deer will nibble through anything they want to get through..and bear..well they'll just root them out (they are pig family ) or tear through them if they want to get through.
i have gobs of pictures in my books on willow worked fences and hedges..alive..also alligator shaped willow tunnels and lots of childrens buildings made out of living willow.. best to use the short growing types.
i'd love to hear from people who have experience growing a high fedge for deer protection. i'm thinking that i need at least 10' for it to be effective. i have heard they can even jump that, so i think 12 would might be needed.
has anyone mastered the "Approach Graft"?
for protection down low i was thinking of hazels at the base of the locusts. what would folks suggest
kathleen, do u have pictures of your ex's fedge?
I did my Masters Thesis on field use of un-rooted stem cuttings - there's a pretty good scientific literature review for the super-geeky, and a list of PNW native species. The readers digest version in on my neglected blog
One of the best references I found was a paper by Corvalis Plant Materials Center that describes relative rooting ability of 22 native shrub species.
Since that time, I have gotten really good growth out of red-flowering current Ribes sanguineum and ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor) and
native plant stakes cost around .25/foot in the reveg industry-there is no custom production at this time, and cultivation could increase both the quality of stakes and the use of harder to wildcraft species.
Hazel (corylus cornuta and kinfolk) would be great, but you'd need to start with layers rather than cuttings.
Cuttings can be planted on the seam between two long strips of woven plastic weed fabric for low labor prep... we've planted into reed canarygrass this way.
Cottonwood would work where maintenance was available... the buds make a lovely medicinal. The foliage would make good forage, and it shoots like mad after cutting.
Jude Hobbs, a permie from Willamette Valley in PNW got a grant to publish a short blurb on hedgerow function [PDF] by OSU.
And finally 2 living fence pics from costa rica... a little barbed wire and you have a cow or horse fence... with only occasional trips chasing your cow through town.
for the past 5 years or so, ive been going to a nature based artists gathering of sorts
"woodlanders gathering" in warwick ny,usually teach a native bamboo flute-making or rustic woodturning class.. one of my artist friends from that gorup is a master at creating living structures with willow,Definitely go see her work here
we had a willow fence workshop several years, it is super easy.amazes me how just stabbing the fresh cuttings in the ground lets you make living fences,chairs,arbors and more.
I thought to try Moringa for the posts [pollarded but left growing foliage on top to cut-and come-again for fodder] ....and Cape Honeysuckle [Tecoma capensis] as the laterals.... to fence off these areas for my rabbits...... 3m x 4m camps. Both are good forage and grow really fast.
Between the Moringa trunks plant honeysuckle ...... and closely watch as new branches come out ....... and basket weave them into a living fence more than a hedge... so the vines are doing the fencing. Hope I have described it well enough. Sort of a tight living basketry more than a loose looking trellis "fedge". From what I have seen I think the honeysuckle can handle this. Once this is well-grown and well plaited I could always use sideways cuttings as forage for other livestock too in the summer if the rabbits could not feed on it all. My rabbits will only be outdoors durng the day and these mini-meadows will have a moveable thatch roof .... roofed only where the rabbits are for the day..... resting on 4 gumpole posts... one in each corner. Gates I am thinking of making out of Chinaberry branches.... because so straight.
I may add something else that is good winter fodder to these 2 .... still figuring out what. I have heard of an evergreen mulberry.
I do have Hazel ... new to me so watching it to see how it does and what can be done with it.
just something else to add to everyone's bag of tricks. I'm amazed the plants endure all of that craziness. Only downside, you might end up with a hedge hog.
Willow is particularly suited to living fence because of a couple of its properties, 1) easy propagation by cuttings 2)flexible branches that can be easily woven.
There are many other trees that fit the propagation criteria, though few as flexible as willow. Fig and moringa are two food-producing trees that come to mind.
as for the willows, make sure if you use them for a hedge or at all you keep them away from buildings and away from your plumbing
Upland Willow (Salix scouleriana) - more tolerant of dry mountainous conditions, common in dryland pine forests acros the US
Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) - n2 fixing, coppiceable (AKA thick near the base), easy to propagate
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhannoides) - n2 fixing, thorny, dense shrub
Siberian pea shrub (Caragana arborescens) - n2 fixing, kind of thorny, dense shrub
Black Hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) - wikedly thorny, spreading sucking shrub
Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) - fast growing, spreading, more vertical growth habbit
Mountain Alder (Alnus incana) - n2 fixing, fast growing, spreading, more vertical growth habbit
Roses (Rosa Woodsii, R. Rosa nutkana, R. rugosa, R. gymnocarpa) - squat and thorny for the interior base of hedges
Things I will likel end up plating on the exterior sides of some hedges where animals won't get to
various types of naturalized plums and cherries - tend to form thickets to fill in hedge
Saskatoon/Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)
hazelnuts, nut pines, and chestnuts.
and of course, all these things are productive for humans, I just wrote why it's relevant as a living fence. Also, these are plants which I have around locally, and can easily collect large amounts of seeds and/or cuttings from.
Andrew Schreiber wrote:Looking at ~ 3,000 individual plants, with a initial spacing of 1 every 2 feet for this firt year. I am going for length and not density in this first run, and then in coming years I will be planting out other plants...
I've planted 350 trees this spring, 2' apart eventually to be pollarded for fodder.
3 different types of willows
European Mountain Ash
I planted them on swales (on contour). I think I will be able to take cuttings in further years to expand the system.
my last project was all surrounding a living fence that i constructed over several years of mostly willow making the framework. there were also tons of huge established blackberries that filled in the gaps and made it more solid. i coppiced and pollarded the existing willows which were there for many years previously (native), but had gotten very tall and, like willows do, started falling over everywhere. so i kept trimming them (like hundreds of sessions of trimming and replanting)
and replanting them around really thickly and shorter, to fill in the bottom and expanding it to be thicker.
i also cut down some of the the willows that were not in a great place and immediately moved them to spots which needed more fence built up, by laying them horizontally, from where they re rooted came up in straight lines from the horizontal trunks. this is basically what the willow does naturally, when it gets too tall it falls over and then re roots itself horizontally. thats where the fence is thickest and best, especially if a few fall in the same area, or one moves bigger established trunks and lays them horizontally.
in front of that i added some sections of a built up fence, using willows i cut to be posts and nailing on some free pallet boards. then i built my gardens around that, using the built up fence and the willows as a trellis.
heres some pics, and a link to the project thread i made where i talked a lot about it.
this work is so slow! in a few years though it will be looking awesome, finally having filled in and the small willows i kept adding by trimming them and sticking them in the ground to fill in will have finally taken off and filled it in.