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Building a Hedge

 
Jason Kasumovic
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Hi gang.. first time poster and long time reader here.

In the next month or two (when the mountains of snow disappear), I'm going to begin working on redeveloping the front acre (lawn) of my 3.5 acre property... a PC food forest being the ultimate goal.

I'd like to build a hedge on my property along the roadway out front.  Roughly 150 feet in total.  Preferably, it would be fast growing, provide privacy (ie. get 6 or more feet in height), and ideally would either positively affect the soil around it or produce edible or medicinal harvestables.  Essentially acting as a barrier that I could build off of away from the road.

This is my first experience with hedging.  I'm in zone 3.  Most hedges around here are comprised of caragana bushes (which is a nitrogen fixer - not a bad thing).  Are there better options that'll suit this climate?

Thanks for any suggestions you might have.
 
John Polk
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Amongst the Caragana family is one species, arborescens, known as Siberian Pea Tree.  It is native to Manchuria and Siberia, so it would feel at home in zone 3.
Deer love it for browse, and the trimmings make a good fuel wood.  In Siberia, the green pods are used as a vegetable, and the dried beans are often used as chicken feed, as they contain 36% protein.  The bark has been used for rope making.
 
Jason Kasumovic
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Awesome suggestion - thank you.. I researched the caragana plants that I found at my closest nursery .. they didn't have this variety so I would've missed it.  Thanks much.  I've been able to locate a good source about an hour away.

Unless anyone pipes in with a better suggestion, I might go this route as chickens are part of the homestead and would definately benefit from the protein content.
 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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Do native plums grow that far north? They do fine in zone 4!
 
Jason Kasumovic
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There are several plum cultivars that work here .. I'm wondering how they'd suit the privacy component though?
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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Plums will not be healthy as a dense hedge.
 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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Wulfespirit wrote:
There are several plum cultivars that work here .. I'm wondering how they'd suit the privacy component though?
I do not know: I consider the plums in Kansas to be a bit thin, and then they lose their leaves in the winter. Pinching the young trees should make them bushy, but there is still the part about them losing leaves in the winter.

When they are used in a windbrake out here, it is popular to have a row of plums and then another row of something else.
 
Robert Ray
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Caragana makes a great hedge and is easy to pin a limb to the ground and direct the hedge growth.
Canadian Chokecherry is another good one for a hedge. 
Native plums spread a little too erratic in my experience sending shoots all over, and they aren't as dense foilage wise.
I have a row of caragana and then a row of black currants inside along my north fence.
 
rose macaskie
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  Glgad to hear of the caragana i had never heard of it.
The habitat aid site gives o lot of information on English hedging, feild hedging at anyrate. Feild hedging is built to keep livestock in or out more than to give a bit of privacy, however a mat of twigs in winter gives a fair amount of privacy.
      In Egland and the same in the mountains of Spain that are cooler than the plains, the trees that you use that have berries for birds amost of them are are those that grow all over the countryside rather than those taht are grown in gardens, things like may and black thorn, wild  plums are ejoyed by animals too, foxes and badgers, though  i am not sure how much fruit trees give  if they are are cut as hedges. There is also the condsideration of insects diet and habitat aid also gives a list of the plants that help them, of which plants have flowers pollen and nectare for our insects.
     You could put some berry baring, small trees into your hedge for the wild life or maybe plant them somewhere else. I have started to think about it and i have thought small trees are more comfortable than big ones around houses, they dont dwarf you so, they givve a cosier look to the place. Pp in hte mountains of Spain htey s¡till have the small trees taht used to be so much part of the eh¡nglish lanscape by the streams and along paths and so i have had a chance to apreciate their decorative qualities in th elandscape.
  Big trees are  magnificant but they are a bit big for a garden unnless the garden is big, it is time to start to enjoy  our small native trees. Buckthorns, rowans spindle wood and such  Habitat aid also sells them and they are pretty cheap i had a lot of this sort of tree allready but i have bought some buck thorns a tree i had long wanted its leafs and berries are pretty and it grows by the river about half a mile from the village and they came with a very healthy amount of root on them and pretty big for a hedging plant. The habitat aid information on each plant  says that the fauna enjoy the, uneatable for us, pears of the decorative pear, so there is a reason to have that tree after all. They enjoy cherries too and olives, the blackbirds and several other birds do at anyrate and i would be suprised if they weren't a good food sauce for mice and other animals as well.
  Beatrice potter observed animal a lot and  Mrs tittlemouse of one of her stories offers the frog cherry stones and he says, "no teeth no teeth" and open his mouth most unecessarily wide, so she offers him thistle down seed which he blows all over the room, so it seems the stones of fruit feed the fauna too Juniper whose berries ripen all through the winter on one tree in one monment on on another another momentmust be a great winter stand by for the fauna and is also eaten by dogs and boars and sheep i have pictures of faeces of badgers and of boar i think full of berries maybe i will post them tomorow to liven up the forums. 
  I  have scaned my photo of badger dirt filled with plum stones from a known baadger lavatory they have spos they use as lavatories proof that wild pulums in a hedge or as small trees feed the fauna.  agri rose macaskie. 
   
badger do with plum stones,.jpg
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Milan Broz
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Location: Croatia
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RustysDog wrote:
Amongst the Caragana family is one species, arborescens, known as Siberian Pea Tree.  It is native to Manchuria and Siberia, so it would feel at home in zone 3.
Deer love it for browse, and the trimmings make a good fuel wood.  In Siberia, the green pods are used as a vegetable, and the dried beans are often used as chicken feed, as they contain 36% protein.  The bark has been used for rope making.


Sounds like a magic tree. It is on my list of wishes because I've red about this before, and I also have needs for a hedge that will be a windbreak, protection from deers, and as I've red, this tree is a good nitrogen fixer. Sounds like many gains, no loss with this tree. I only have to find it in my area, and try to reproduce it.
 
Emerson White
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Tons of aphids grow on the pods and drip sticky sundew everywhere here.
 
Robert Ray
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Here's a link with a little more info.
I find the peas are bitter but edible.
When the pods dry and naturaly burst on the shrub the pods twist and flings the seeds quite some distance.
Aphids prefer my honeysuckle or currants to the caragana side by side, even when I have an outbreak of tent catepillars caragana is not their first choice. In my area I find it relatively pest free.

http://montana.plant-life.org/species/cara_arbo.htm
 
Jason Kasumovic
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Thanks for the feedback, gang.  I'm leaning toward Siberian Pea Trees at this point despite Emerson's warning about aphids.  I just don't see many options that provide more value and I think these trees would be good contributing members to the property.
 
Milan Broz
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Location: Croatia
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Is there a hedge plant that would stop the rabbits from entering the garden? I was thinking of some thorny shrubs like Sea buckthorn, but I don't know how dense it can get. Will the plant like this stop the rabbit?

What about the deer, I guess it is easier to keep them away from the orchard?
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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Rabbits love to hang out under hedges. It is not good energy economy for a hedge to grow so dense so low that a rabbit cannot negotiate it. If it did then the rabbit might dig/chew it's way under it because rabbits love to go under hedges.
 
John Polk
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I think the key to rabbit protection is to find a hedge they love to eat.  You would need to protect it until it became established.  After that, hopefully they will browse on your hedge, rather than your garden.  Unless they are like children, who would just as soon skip dinner and go straight for dessert.  Probably the best rabbit protection is a large freezer.  The more food you grow "for them", the quicker they will multiply.
 
Brenda Groth
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you might be able to save a bunch of $ by growing them from seed, they grow well from seed and some of the people with trees might also have seed avail..my Sister gave me some seed off hers last year and I have them planted..
 
Mariah Wallener
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How long would it take for Siberian pea shrub to form a decent-sized hedge? And can you grow them in Zone 8 (pacific northwest)?

 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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They are thick to about 12' tall, but I've seen em grown as trees to 15'
 
Jason Kasumovic
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A few documents/sites like this: http://www.nps.gov/akso/NatRes/EPMT/Species_bios/Caragana%20arborescens.pdf

... identify caragana arborescens as an 'invasive' species.. plenty of spreading capability and not all that easy to kill (that document suggests mechanical and chiemical means may be necessary).

Anyone have actual experience with it?
 
rose macaskie
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  If you are interested in feeding the fauna, the fauna eat juniper berries all winter and here is a picture of faeces with juniper berries in, the juniper here  of the photo is the oxycedrus a good desert type climate juniper. I dont know what`animal the faeces belong to a boar maybe a big dog prehaps. I dont know if you can make a juniper hedge, i should think so, it would not grow fast though. agri rose macaskie.
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rose macaskie
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Here is a photo of a juniper berries whose seed a bird has pecked out a cross bill i have to look that up i only know the name of the bird in spanish. rose macaskie.
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rose macaskie
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  The evidence that the sheep eat the berries is in the distribution they give to the seed somthing only a frequent defecator like sheep could give, they seed whole mountainsides with it. All these little trees are more or less the same age and it was not man that planted this area with junipers they dont prize the juniper enough to do that. agri rose macaskie.
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rose macaskie
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I can include photos of the berries of traditional hedging materia like sloes and may, when i get back from the ccountry i am going off to plant some english heritage apple trees, and push up the varieties of apple you can get in thses parts. agri rose macaskie. 
 
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