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Living Fences : Osage Orange cuttings?

 
Athena Freya
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Location: Colton, Oregon
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I'm looking for cuttings or seeds for creating a living fence around my 3+ acre pasture. I would love to find a source for Osage Orange or Jujube. My newly acquired farm is located about 45 minutes outside of Portland, Oregon. It seems that Osage Orange (horse apple) is not very common in the PNW. Any help in finding a source would be greatly appreciated!
 
R Scott
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https://www.treeshrubseeds.com/specieslist?id=722&a=1&ID=&ID2=0&genus=&species=&origin=&common=Osage&plantuse=&cold=&warm=&growth=&treatment=&vegetation=&native=&leaf=&flower=&planttype=&height=&nitrogen=&year=&submit=Search

If other sources fail
 
denise ra
pollinator
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Location: OK High Plains Prairie, 23" rain avg
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Athena Freya, did you plant an osage hedge and how is it doing?
 
Tj Jefferson
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Most economical is probably Sheffield seeds
 
Joshua Flux
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Location: Beacon, NY
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I don’t have experience with Osage Orange cuttings, but early this year I purchased 100 Willow-Poplar hybrid cuttings and pressed them in the ground in three staggered rows — 18” spacing between cuttings and 18” spacing between each row.  The cuttings were 20” in length, and they were pressed 10” in the ground (10” above ground).  I planted in May and today they are 15-20 feet tall!  This Feb I will cut down/coppice them, so they grow stronger next year.  This will also give me about 400 new cuttings to plant.  So far, so good.  I’m in zone 5/6.
 
Trace Oswald
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I ordered 300 osage orange trees from the Missouri conservation dept for $.36 ea before shipping.  Because I'm in WI, I think I ended up paying $.70 each or so.  I can't remember for sure.  They grew like weeds.  I'm using them as part of my living fence along one property line.  I'm hopeful they will survive the winter.  I plan on putting in a few hundred more this coming spring, along with several other species, including our wild plums that I grow from pits.  Other than the osage orange, most of the fence/hedgerow will be natives that I can grow from plants I have here.  Long term, the hedgerow will be 30 or 40 feet wide and approximately 250 yards long.  
 
denise ra
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Location: OK High Plains Prairie, 23" rain avg
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Joshua Flux wrote.  " I planted in May and today they are 15-20 feet tall!
Holy Cow Joshua!! Are they being watered? Did you have good rain this year? Is it very windy where you are? I'm sure you read up on it, are those typical results?
 
Joshua Flux
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Location: Beacon, NY
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We're close by a fairly large river (Hudson), and experience constant wind on the property.  Regarding water, since it was an establishment year, I made sure they had an inch-ish a week.  We normally get 60-ish inches/yr, but not sure how much this growing season.  These hybrids should grow 30 feet by year 3.
 
Lisa Sampson
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Location: Rural North Texas
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The way it used to be done was to get the horse apples and pound them into pulp, dig a trench where you want the fence and bury the pulp.  Water occasionally and it grow on its own just fine.  Drive around, someone is bound to have a tree in your area and be willing to let you cart off all the horse apples you can carry.
 
denise ra
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I gathered many by the side of a country road from an old wind break. i just tossed them where I wanted them. Then I realized the next batch I picked up had thorns and they are still in the truck, not sure I want thorns. Also, someone said cattle can choke on them and I will have cattle, so another minus. Lisa Sampson, thanks for the cultural info as I could not find anywhere that told me how to prep them to plant.
 
R Scott
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Osage do have small sharp thorns when small, more like roses, not tire shredding daggers like locusts.

Osage is one wood that will burn well when green. I always used large chunks of osage to keep the fire going through the night.
 
Lisa Sampson
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Cows aren't the brightest creatures and will find a multitude of ways to get themselves into trouble no matter what fencing you use.  Every bois darc I have ever seen has thorns.  Big long pokey ones that seem to want to jab in and stay stuck.  They seem to hurt a lot more than they ought to and to get infected a lot more than they ought to and just generally suck.  

Make sure your chimney has a spark arrestor on it if you are burning it.  Its very sparky wood but otherwise it burns hot and clean.  
 
Trace Oswald
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Lisa Sampson wrote:Cows aren't the brightest creatures and will find a multitude of ways to get themselves into trouble no matter what fencing you use.  Every bois darc I have ever seen has thorns.  Big long pokey ones that seem to want to jab in and stay stuck.  They seem to hurt a lot more than they ought to and to get infected a lot more than they ought to and just generally suck.  

Make sure your chimney has a spark arrestor on it if you are burning it.  Its very sparky wood but otherwise it burns hot and clean.  



Yes, mine are still young, but the thorns are not fun.  There is a reason people used these to make fences before barbed wire was invented.  I'm planting my property line with them to keep my dogs in and other creatures, both two-legged and four, from entering that side.  Once they are somewhat woven together, I can't see how anything short of a bulldozer could get through them.

 
Dan Boone
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A nuance on the thorniness of Osage Orange trees.  

Young trees (and new shoots on old trees, after they have been limbed, pollarded, or damaged) are horrifically thorny.  Not Honey Locust bad, but long, strong, dangerous thorns.

But these trees mellow as they age.  We've got a huge one at the edge of the front yard that you have to study and look to find the thorns.  There are a few, but as someone else noted, they are short and thick, like the thorns on some kinds of roses.  And they are mostly far above ground level.  Even the branches that curl back down toward the ground are not visibly thorny.  (Again, if you stand and look at one, you will eventually find a few.  Or of course if you try to push through them shirtless, they will find you.)  

Having as much honey locust as I do, I barely consider the Osage Orange to be thorny trees.  All a matter of degree, I guess.
 
denise ra
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I thought about using them to replace a pasture fence that is old and sad, but think the neighboring pasture owner might not be thrilled when they grow into his land. It's about a 600-foot fence between large acreages and not along a road. Would bois d'arc be unneighborly?
 
Lisa Sampson
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They do not tend to spread a lot from where they are planted and grow pretty slowly once they are about 10' or so high.  They do not tend to drop fruit until they hit maturity and then it is only the female trees.  They were a favorite of the buffalo but with the loss of the herds, they now depend on humans and squirrels for dispersion.  This is why, when I plant them, I try to gather them from as many sources as I can find.  It allows them to do some genetic mixing that they might not otherwise get since they occur primarily in old fence rows now which leads to genetic isolation and effectively bottlenecking them as a species.  I know that a lot of people hate them but I (obviously) do not.  I think that, like most everything, they have their place and purpose.  Even leeches exist for a purpose as disgusting as they are.  When they finally get old enough to drop fruit, your neighbor's child or grandchild might cuss you for planting them but I doubt that your neighbor will.  

I know that people spend good money to rip them out but frankly, as long as they are away from the buildings, I don't see the sense in it.  They grow well, with little to no care or effort.  If you leave even the tiniest shred of root, it will sprout again.  The wood is useful because it is darn near rot proof.  Even modern chemically treated lumber can't get close to the level of rot resistance that bois darc has naturally.  Need fence posts that will be there when the wire rusts away - use bois darc.  The oranges and yellows make for beautiful wood but it has a cost because it will dull your blades, saws and chisels.  The roots have medicinal uses.  The bark and leaves can be used to tan leather,  You can get gorgeous dyes from the wood, bark, and even the saw dust.  It had a spring to it that makes it spectacular for wooden bows.  English yew, eat your heart out.  The trick is finding straight grained sections long enough for bow making.  

They like a lot of sun so being out in the open on a fence row is ideal for them.  They will get a lot of insect damage but it doesn't seem to bother them much.  If the soil is good and deep, they will grow.  A little water now and then when its extra dry while they are small is about all it takes.  If the soil is shallow, watch out for them blowing over (hence the statement about being away from structures) but if you keep them short for a fence, it probably won't be an issue.  As long as some of the root remains, it will sprout again.  


 
Eric Hanson
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I have never intentionally planted an Osage orange tree but I grew up with them.  Mine were terribly thorny, but those thorns turned into new branches.  We could trim one back for firewood and the tree would leap back, growing 3’ or more per year.  One tree in particular seemed to offend several people and they tried cutting it down (that ruined saw blades).  Nothing ever killed the tree-it just kept growing back, but we did get some great, slow and hot burning firewood from it.

I think this would make a great hedge and I am glad to hear someone say that it grew great from cuttings.

Best of luck,

Eric
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