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Hedgerow

 
John Point
Posts: 9
Location: Ontario
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I am looking at buying a property that is about 350' * 350' the front part of the property has about 100' * 100' dedicated to house, garage, backyard for children and about 250' * 125' of open field. The back half of the property is wooded but wet. We are havinga really dry year so it is hard to tell how wet it gets but I suspect it gets pretty wet from the types of plants growing on it and how soft the ground is. I am located in Zone 5b. I am looking for advice on 2 main issues.

1 I would like to use a hedgerow along the frontage and side yard (250' * 125') for Privacy, pollination, production, protection(protect the food forest from deer. I am looking at raspberry bushes, lilac bushes, hazelnuts as my main anchors of the hedgerow. Does this make sense? What else makes sense.

The back half of the property does have a small pond I would like to use swales to focus the water and create some drier sections that I can use for food forest. I have access to a lot of wood chips can they be used as mulch to help dry out some of the area?

I am pretty new at this and any advice is greatly appreciated.
 
Michelle Bisson
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Location: Quebec, Canada
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Hi John,

I am looking at raspberry bushes, lilac bushes, hazelnuts as my main anchors of the hedgerow. Does this make sense? What else makes sense.


It depends on what kind of edibles trees & scrubs you enjoy.  It d├ępends on what look you want to achieve as well as consider how it will look since it is visible from the road.  You can have quite a large variety, so it could be very interesting.


We are currently planting a seaberry / seabuckthorn hedgerow along the front and part of the side of our property.  We are planting them on 3 foot spacing.  This was because we wanted to grow them on a large scale(well large for us) and this is the only area that we have full sun.  Plus the seaberries can handle the prevailing winds.

But what you are wanting to do is interesting!  Keep us all all informed as your project progresses.
 
John Point
Posts: 9
Location: Ontario
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Michelle,

Thank you for your ideas. I will look into Seaberry. I have never tried them so I don't know if I enjoy the taste but they sound like a good fit due to the height, thorns and fruit.
 
K Putnam
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Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
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I started out with an very idea similar to yours, then realized that I wanted more of a privacy screen, so I put in a variety of columnar-shaped trees and then have been interplanting them with shrubs.  Time will tell if this turns out they way I have in my mind. 

Along with seaberry, definitely check out goumi.  It got through last year's drought, this year's cool rains, fruited a year after planting, and should be about the height you're looking for.  You might also look at Nanking cherry.
 
Michelle Bisson
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Since our plants are still to small to fruit, we have not tried them yet, but I have been told that they are not tasty like blueberries, but more suitable to blend with other fruit, juices, or make jam But they are a superfood and apparently very tasty when blended with other fruit.

I am hoping to make lots of seaberry / sea buckthorn maple syrup.  The leaves can be used for tea.  The berries are hard to pick.    Pick a variety with less thorns.  Seedlings likely have more thorns than cultivated varieties.  They are a beautiful tree with whisperly silver green narrow leaves & tons of orange berries in August.  I am expecting that they are so beautiful when full of berries that people will want to drive by our property just to see them during the fruiting season.

I am am expermenting different technics for proprogating with the hopes that I can sell some plants to help pay for my Investment.  I will not have any till next year.  My proprogated plants are still too small.

You need male and female to fruit. 1 male to about 7 female.  I have 1 male to 10 females since I have them planted in close hedgerows, plus I have an extra 12 plants which I do not know yet the sex so likely half of them will be male making my total male female ratio closer.  If it turns out that I do not have enough males, then I will graft more males scions onto the females as needed.



 
Michelle Bisson
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Location: Quebec, Canada
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K Putnam,

I would love to see some of your photos. thanks
 
Abbey Battle
Posts: 52
Location: Wealden AONB
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My first thought is that deer and any other wildlife you have will rip raspberries apart. They do with mine, the deer trash everything.

I'd use willows as hedging. They are easy to strike so not as expensive to lose. They provide bio fuel and can be coppiced / pollarded / bent - woven into an attractive shape. They are also goo on very wet soils. You can then interplant with other things but I really like my willow avenue. I'd probably interplant with alders which also like damp soil and are nitrogen fixers. (if they are not native to you, don't bother). They are native and plentiful where I am so very low cost.

Hazelnuts fruit better as stand alone trees, they like quite a bit of sunlight, if you are spending money on a larger nut variety then it would be prudent to give it the better conditions it requires, not saying it wont thrive in hedgerow, just that it wont do as well. They are also very tasty to deer, rabbits and squirrels. (the squirrels will steel the nuts, the deer and rabbits will just trash the trees.)

I dried out my (non permaculture) garden using french drains and digging a bog garden / soak away. I planted bamboos (for food and canes) alongwith grasses. I tried meadow sweet but just couldn't get it to thrive, I think it like more sunlight.

I have wood chipped my garden as a mulch, it breaks down very quickly. Despite the copious volume of rain we have had this year, it still formed quite a compacted dry surface, not sure how it would have fared with frosts / freezing though. I may have ended up with mush.

If you are going to plant trees, they will help take water down into the soil, you may not need swales, not sure they would help. I have a 'swale' on my land yet the soil in that area is still very sodden year round.
I think a pond is a great idea as there are edibles that you can plant in and around the pond and it has great wildlife potential. I even get visiting ducks on my pond.

I think I'd build raised, permeable, beds for the plants and allow other areas to remain wet / boggy.

I'm planning on building something akin to a junkpole fence in order to keep the deer away. I'm not looking forward ti inspecting my orchard today. Even though it's fenced they still manage to vandalise the place. They can be so destructive.
I've been using sacrificial willows to inhibit the rabbits but it only works so well. I am trying to train the foxes to kill off more of the rabbits.

 
John Point
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Location: Ontario
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Thank you K Putnam.

I had thought of goumi as part of my tree guilds in my food forest area but not for the Hedgerow. That makes good sense to include a nitrogen fixed in the Hedgerow. I will look into the Nanking Cherry as well.


 
John Point
Posts: 9
Location: Ontario
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Abbey,

Thank you for the detailed reply. Would adding a significant amount of Seaberry help with deers because of the extra thorns or would it make the hedgerow more attractive? I don't mind sharing some of the production with the wildlife in the area but I don't want my efforts destroyed either. I do think willows are incredibly attractive especially when woven I will keep that in mind. Thanks for the advice on the hazelnuts.


I will have to do more research in french drains and digging a bog garden. They both seem like great ideas. I have heard some horror stories  of bamboo spreading onto other properties and being very difficult to contain. I will look into meadow sweet.

I would like to keep some parts as bog and connect the raised bed area by trails.

My primary purpose of the hedgerow is privacy but if deer become a major problem I love the idea of a junkpole fence. I do need to keep the deer out of the forest garden.

Thanks again for detailed post. You have given me a lot to think about.
 
Michelle Bisson
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in the book gaia's garden, http://tobyhemenway.com/book/gaias-garden/, Toby talks about in a hedgerow to plant sacrificial trees on the outside and your best plants on the Inside with the idea that the deer are happy with that. Obviously you have to have a way to keep them on the outside of your hedge, tough to do when your plants are small unless you have a fence.



 
K Putnam
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Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
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@Michelle, there's not a lot to see at the moment.  I started the hedge last year and have reworked it a couple of times.  I pulled the seaberry out to go be nitrogen fixers for new fruit trees elsewhere in the yard.   I had originally started on having part of the screen be bamboo, but what I thought was a clumping bamboo taken from another part of my yard turned out to be a runner as soon as it had better soil, so there is a gaping hole there after I ripped that out.  Most of my other shrubs are only 2-3 feet high right now, expect for the goumi and raspberries.   One goumi plant has gone from a bareroot twig to nearly five feet in a year.  I am very pleased with that and I enjoyed the fruits this June.

Next year will be the year to see whether things take off and start to give me the screen I want.  I have partially underplanted with orange sedge (not a native), but I am going to fill in with native wildflowers next year.  My goal is to make this 200 feet of space or so attractive enough and low maintenance enough that if I sell it, the new owners will want to keep it intact.  So, along with some attractive mixed trees, they'd be getting a couple of different types of currants, blueberries, raspberries, goumi, wildflowers, and more. I'll probably add some more raspberries next year to provide some visual patterning along the hedge as well as more fruit.  

It's taken a few iterations to come up with a blend of something that will look pretty objectively attractive in a rural-suburban area while throwing in some food production and insect habitat, but I think I've about got it.  Now, I need to fast forward a couple of years!
 
Michelle Bisson
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Thanks for sharing K Putnam!

My goal is to make this 200 feet of space or so attractive enough and low maintenance enough that if I sell it, the new owners will want to keep it intact.
This is Wise.  Property is an investment and we never know when we might have to sell so we never want anything to the land to be a handicap.

As you trees & scrubs grow, do take photos & share as it is always fun to see the progression from what it was to what it becomes.

The only place on our property that has full sun is our front yard with 165 feet.  We are the only ones growing a hedge in our neighbourhood, but we need protection from the prevailing winds and some privacy as we will have to grow our fun loving plants in the front yard.  Some will go in the back.  They will have to live with less sunlight.

Anyways we have some similarities on our properties with growing a fedge.  Since my are all Seaberry / Sea Buckthorn, I will have to find a way to plant smaller shrubs as part of the polyculture environment.

 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 620
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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K Putnam wrote:One goumi plant has gone from a bareroot twig to nearly five feet in a year.
Can you describe your soil? My autumn olive I planted as a fairly sizeable bareroot twig [perhaps 2 feet tall] has bushed out well but not put on any meaningful height since I planted it in early April in my Sandy Loam here.
 
K Putnam
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Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
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It's officially "very gravelly sandy loam" or what I think of as "scorched earth."   I've put enough wood chips and bark and leaves and mulch over the year over the last two years that it there is probably a full six inches of mostly decomposed organic matter on top of that loam.   I have a couple of autumn olives just sitting in the loam that haven't done anything.  One looked like it was dying, last I checked.   Now, I have seaberry sitting in the loam and that actually seems to be doing pretty well. 

Without help, our soil seems to be really good at growing Douglas Fir trees and not a lot else.
 
Michelle Bisson
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Glad to hear that your seaberry (sea buckthorn) is doing well even as far south you are!   Keep us posted from year to year as your story may encourage others to grow them too especially as far south as you are.

 
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