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Planning on growing a hedge/living fence  RSS feed

 
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Mangudai Hatfield wrote:
Hi,

I want to start an extensive osage orange hedgerow to contain all types of livestock.  This is a 166 acre farm moving toward a multi-species rotational grazing system, it needs lots of fence.  I'm wondering what is the quickest easiest way to get it established. 

We have hundreds of osage trees growing on the property.  Most of the apples are disintegrated by this time of year.  We are cutting some of the trees down for posts, the rest of the tops may just become brushpiles.  I started an experiment to see if twigs stuck in the ground will take root.  If it works, this is ideal.  But, I still would like advice on how to layout the system.  With machinery we might be able to uproot the stumps and start with root segments. 

I watched the videos of the English hedge system using hazel.  That system is excessively labor intensive for our scale using osage. 




Collect the hedge apples (Osage orange fruit), and let it over winter out in the weather. In the spring mash the fruit up with water and make a soupy mess to pour in a line where you want your hedge row. would prolly be best to have the grass killed out first. PM me if you have more questions on this because we've been making osage hedge rows too.

 
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Susan Monroe wrote:None of those are allelopathic.  Cedar does have the reputation, but that is mainly when it is used as a mulch.



Not so. Cedar (juniperus virginiana) is allelopathic, but the supressing chemicals are only in the foliage, not the wood. In fact, it works quite well as a mulch since it breaks down very slowly due to the resins in the wood. It works less well as a tree at the edge of anything you might want to grow under the drip line. That is why you will not see many things growing under cedars.

If you want a pretty much impenetrable hedge AND bonus fruit, why not grow blackberries (or with raspberries, currants, etc. interplanted) I guarantee that within 2 years of planting blackberries about 5 or 6 feet apart, you will have a 6 to 8 foot thick wall of 6' high hedge no one in their right mind would go through. As a bonus (besides the fruit), it is a great wildlife hedge for protected nesting and forage.
 
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'Try soaking your cuttings in a willow tip tea, to root them better before sticking them in the ground. Throw a towel over the bucket, no light, or no root.
Any willow. any fresh branches, (no two year old wood)

I just got an old HPbooks book on espeliers, and they show lots of old belgian fence techniques.
Really like the Arcure style tho. Typically started on a 3 wire fence too...

Take a whip, bend it over to side, and leave only one major branch growing straight up. Next season, bend that branch back the other way, and trim to leave one branch going straight up again.
Grows a repetition of curves going both directions. Very pretty, and great privacy screen without letting the things get so tall they block out all the sun.

http://espalierservices.com/patterns.html

Too bad we just can't plant hemp for privacy, would solve the problems nicely.
 
pollinator
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quote:Too bad we just can't plant hemp for privacy, would solve the problems nicely

!!! i like this idea

maybe some day i can finish reading this thread! been sitting here too long as it is now=)
and want to write about my project.
maybe i will even make a thread about this project, if i am going to write this out here.
multi tasking posting and repeating myself ...well this is something i am really into so i would like to write it out, keep learning about it and exploring this idea.

i have a living fence that i have been working on for a few years.
i'm pretty fascinated with this idea, especially incorporating this into buildings and shelters....
so i have been experimenting and learning about this as i work on it. it is SLOW.
i would like to do some bigger projects like this, and use it to make living walls of food for houses, patios or sunrooms... and furniture! but...i have more ideas than i have time for, you know.

the plants in the living fence (the list gets longer every day as i keeping adding):

WILLOW
is the the most abundant, and forms the basic framework.
i keep replanting LOTS and LOTS of willow branches....and have gotten better at getting them to take. you have to water a LOT at first, thats the key.
you might not think so cause its so hardy, and if you do at the right time of year when the rains come it works way better.

some of the willow fence areas i put in didnt do that well, when i was first figuring it out. i was using too large pieces, and making a fence looking fence with scrap wood and free pallet pieces. but the pieces were too large, only the little branches, and especially fresh growth re roots well, and still you have to water all the time at first. sometimes a bit bigger taller piece will re root, a few of them did sprout new branches.

some of the sides of the fence are where some older willow trees fell down. so basically, the fence goes along the edges of where the willows fell down and made lines,and then grew back up from where they fell in rows. i keep adding to those already existing lines, and some spots have a fence looking fence, made of posts of willow that we cut down and pallet wood/salvage wood nailed onto them.

theres so many advantages to growing under and around the willows, that make up for the lack of sun light in some spots where they get thick.
they mulch my gardens with willow leaves without me having to do anything.
but its a lot of trimming, you have to trim it all the time, to keep it bushier and shorter and get back a bit of sunlight for the plants underneath. then it grows ten times thicker =) and its good to keep adding to it with the small stuff. its kinda constant, actually, it takes a LONG time.

blackberries, native and hymalayan

on a couple of sides and areas it has blackberries, which were already going strong when i started. i've pushed those back a LOT, ripped up roots, even put down some plastic and "garbage"...well -scrap materials and random stuff to make block the roots. they are a blessing, for sure, and work well, even if they can be a major pain in the butt! black berry wrestling is hard work.

then i built some raised beds, or sheet mulched and created beds on both sides along the fence....

planted lots of
fucshia
thimbleberries
elderberry
kiwis
flax
viola
nasturtiums
peas
different kinds
clovers
artichokes
loquat
(didnt take, putting more in)
mushrooms (havent seen any yet?), as well some natives popped up =)
love in a mist
mallows/ hollyhock (which also comes up randomly volunteering- the wild mallow)
arugula 2 kinds- common and wild
sage
tomatillo, ground cherry
naked ladies
- they grow around here all over wild =) so put a few of these bulbs in
gooseberries
walking onions/garlic/onions/leeks in some spots here and there
three corned leek, cause they are abundant right here, so i spread them.
fig - just started, hope they make it =)
passionflower which has been very slow to establish unfortunately, cause this is a good one for this.
mugwort has gotten ENORMOUS !

and a small bed of calendula and beans, a large bed of brassicas, onions, garlic and potatoes +++

=================================
bamboo
-in one corner. this is one...i am liking it but it maybe isnt as good as some of the others. well i will happy when it finally grows in thick, but this is the only one i would rethink. where it is, i think it works, it's a great plant for this besides the spreading. but i...hestitated to put it in, and had to come up with a plan to try to contain it.
its in a container in the ground, made out of scrappy stuff and plastic, some bag dirt, some random fill in soil, the soil i dug out to make the container, and +sh!t ! yes, sh!t of all kinds lines the bamboo box, that is lined with plastic and then layered with all kinds of old building scraps (that were here in huge ugly piles)
to prevent the spread of the roots. then more plastic, then more sh!t of all kinds, some recycled bag dirt that i got free.

added some extra plants, three cornered leeks, and arugula, and lots of good volunteers started growing there too..
then theres another box that was a shipping container, that is filled in like a big pot, and ten big pots of extra bamboo roots and some starts.
originally i was going to keep it in pots, as a movable bamboo fence- but then i decided to build this "garbage" bed, to get rid of a bunch of sh!t as well ...and then plant the roots inside a large piece of plastic on top.

another thing is, theres a HUGE HUGE patch of bamboo that my neighbors are cultivating. so its basically like...those roots and plant would eventually get to that area...its a distance away now...but anywho...that stuff is already heading towards that corner anyway, so i decided to put them in the ground but try to prevent their spread.
============================

ah theres some more, stuff that grows further inward from the fence where theres more light, but thats enough.
alot of these plants arent really the supporting plants making the basic framework..... but its all gelled together pretty nicely by now and is getting better and better as i go.....and all the weaving climbing plants are pulling it all together more and more, while i keep planting more of the lower plants to stay close to the ground. its finally getting easier, and i dont have to work at it, and hardly never water it.
sometimes though its just really cluttered and the volunteers-weeds take over certain areas too making it pretty thick and cluttered up. but i like it that way anyway so thats ok.

stuff i would like to experiment with and add, just got some of these to add in

hazelnut starting some
any nut
honeysuckle

honey berryreally want to start some
plum would work great, want to get some started
daylillies, or canna ? looking for some
cherries starting some
hibiscus sprouted! soon to be in fence- got several kinds, perennial hibiscus
figs, any ficus
all kinds of berries
fruit trees
guava
(if your climate likes it)
wild and alpine strawberries sprouted, got some in there(wild ones) but more going in soon
roses starting some


and of course a variety of herbs, and foods, edibles or not...for the bottom parts, and places with more light
not for the support of the wall-
but i am mostly trying to do only edibles.

for growing a wall that was part of structure like i have been visioning for someday, the trees and such might not all be edibles, but a lot of edibles growing around the central trees. figs and hazelnut, other nuts, i think these would work ok as a wall for a cabin or as a wall for surrounding a patio/entrance area. the other really good ones for the main frame would be not edibles mostly (? well still looking for good ones, and researching theres likely a lot more), but which you could use to grow your edibles on like on a trellis.

 
pollinator
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Long post!
How about some pics or starting your own thread?
 
leila hamaya
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Cj Verde wrote:Long post!
How about some pics or starting your own thread?



true, sorry was rambling.
wanted to post a list on the plants i was using, decided to write it all out and post a thread copy and pasted, and thought i could edit this again. but cant? guess i waited too long to re edit. been busy.

o well...i posted a thread with a bunch of pics here: http://www.permies.com/t/16172/projects/living-fence-project#141937
if you want to look at some photos.
 
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Great post, leila.

Regarding your bamboo containment concerns, have you considered trying an allelopathic plant like black walnut
or cedar to contain the spread of the bamboo? It'd be like a living fence for a living fence if it worked.

I don't yet have any land to work with but I have my eye on ~50 acres of mixed hardwood forest here in CT.
Varied soil types, but all are rocky, which is typical for New England, and very shady. I'd like to put in a living
fence if I do get this property, to keep out that most invasive species of all, people on dirt bikes and ATV's, but
I don't want to stop wildlife from passing through (deer, turkey, and black bear being the largest), so I'm watching this
thread with great interest.
 
Cj Sloane
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I believe the standard "permaculture" approach to containing bamboo is to maroon it on an island. I wonder how deep/wide the water has to be to contain it? And then how to incorporate that into a paddock/fence? There is probably some solution involving a pond for the livestock...

Fred Berg wrote:
Regarding your bamboo containment concerns, have you considered trying an allelopathic plant like black walnut
or cedar to contain the spread of the bamboo?

 
leila hamaya
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Fred Berg wrote:Great post, leila.

Regarding your bamboo containment concerns, have you considered trying an allelopathic plant like black walnut
or cedar to contain the spread of the bamboo? It'd be like a living fence for a living fence if it worked.



yeah that might have some effect, idk, but theres not a lot of room there for more trees. black walnut is an interesting tree, medicinal, and way too huge.
it sort of is an island, at least on the back edge. when i dug out the huge hole, i also dug an enormous water trench.

and below that is solid clay, thats what the bamboo roots would be surrounded with if they made it through all the various layers of stuff on the bottom.
i was thinking when i did it that the big gap would also slow them down, possibly stop them from spreading that way. before putting the top layers of soil on, i filled it back in with solid clay, all around the bamboo area.

as it is the bamboo has to duke it out with both the willows (immediately surrounding the sides of the bamboo) and beyond that blackberries...
it is trying to spread over the top though. found a few runners it had been sending out to get out side of the contained area. its basically jumping over the top.
theres also a different kind of bamboo across the way a bit spreading across the neighboring yard...its going to head over to that area anyway.

i could pull it up a bit, because theres a large piece of plastic holding the bamboo roots. it would nt be easy, but i can still mess with it some and maybe add some kind of something to the sides so it doesnt jump over the top. like more plastic...sort of fold over the top more and surround it again.

i could be wrong, but i think that the willows around the side might somewhat keep it in check. and together they should make a very solid "fence" cause the bamboo stays green and bushy even when the willows lose their leaves. i planted a LOT of willow in between the bamboo and the already established willow fence behind it. so filling in that area with lots of short willow trees which are just starting to grow faster and fill in between them.

although yeah animals love it and can go right through it, cats, birds, the neighbors dog can get through it....probably lots more like that little corner and the rest of the fence. there tons of birds here around here that really love the fence and hang out on it all the time. nice cover and camo =) plus food and flowers.
i like when the hummingbirds zip right through the slats, they are really loving on the fuchsia and other flowers. =)
the bberry fence part is always filled with birds of different kinds.

Fred Berg wrote:
I'd like to put in a living
fence if I do get this property, to keep out that most invasive species of all, people on dirt bikes and ATV's,


giggles.
yes people may be the most invasive species of all. ah no...well not all people...
 
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Nobody mentioned moringa...we use that as a living fence here in Hawaii...it can grow up to 3 meters in a year, does not shade out other plants, and is one of the most nutritious things in the world...we love it here!
 
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On the topic of bamboo and cane poles.
Goats, donkeys, and pigs ALL love some freshly sprouted bamboo and cane pole shoots.

There is your control of a very ambitious species.
I don't think much is going to out grow an animals need for food.

A good spot for bamboo would be between, say, your pasture fence and a road. The animals would keep it eaten off the pasture and (I could be wrong) the road would keep it contained on the other side.


My goal is to inter plant sea berries, persimmons, pears, crabapples, and mulberries.

Sea berries- great nutritionally, thorny, and mainly unknown as a food down here in the south.

Pears- pears such as bartlet grow nearly straight up and cast a rather small shadow for a fruiting tree and literally TONS of fruit. Pears such as bartletts are the zucchini of the fruit trees IMO.

Crabapples and persimmons- hold their fruits on the tree until around November here in Alabama. Great for a fall snack two and four legged animals alike.

Mulberries- everything eats the leaves and I love the fruits. Pretty easy to keep bush sized too.
And as a bonus they root well. So that $30 "shangrila" tree you bought turns into 300 10cent trees in a few years.
 
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I've seen sassafras work really well in hedge rows. It gets to be a bit of a weed tree, but you'd have a root crop out of it.
 
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I am laying an existing 'hedge'. The hedge was never planned, just grew up around an old low rock wall. What ever is there gets laid and woven between upright posts that I have driven into the ground. Over time I will plant thorny shrubs and trees such as black and honey locust, buckthorn and hawthorn, climbing roses and wild grapes. This is the first year doing it and already the hedge is stock proof. Just not long enought. It is a SLOW process, but I have time and that is all it costs me. Page wire cost $.75 a foot and is dead. A living hedge breaths, is a home to wild life and can be a source of food for us.

I got the idea for layed hedges from that wonderful BBC show tales from the Green Valley. I cant recomend that show highly enough. Its on Youtube I believe. One challenge for me is the climactic difference between Ontario and Wales. They are working on thier hedges from January to March. I'd like to see them do that here when its - 25C and 4 feet of snow! This year the spring was late and short. Got what I could done. Will start again in November.

Cheers
 
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Hi,

I am thinking about making a living fence out of hazelnut on one side of our property. Its in the forest on a stream bank and therefore it would almost be impossible (and expensive, and ugly, and a waste of resources, etc) to install a regular fence. We already have lots of hazelnut growing there, so I could take plenty of cuttings. I was wondering 2 things now. Firstly I have read about 2 different approaches. One being the diamond pattern, something like this: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_e42FLWn7hkE/S0aP5y100oI/AAAAAAAAAJU/v3RkZdCgs5A/s1600/willow+fence+3.jpg and the other one is where you bend the branches down, like this: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/living-fences-z10m0sto.aspx?PageId=1#axzz2Ur0F9R00
Does anyone know which method works better, maybe especially for hazelnut? Or is there other methods, that are even better? Visually I dont really care, because its in the forest anyway, which is a big mess. The main point of the fence would be to keep deer and maybe badgers or even people out. Getting nuts out of it would be alright, but as I said, there is plenty of hazelnut already. And having a wildlife habitat would obviously also be fine, but I guess we have that already as well.
And my other question concerns the one species vs multiple species issue. As I said, I would use hazelnut because I know that it grows here and I can get plenty of cuttings. Also these methods above seem to be made for only one species. But I am not opposed to having multiple species, for adding variety and maybe other uses. I know there is wild roses around, which I guess I could use, but Im not sure how to incorporate them. And Im also not sure about which other plants could work in this shady environment (I am in Europe by the way, Austria to be exact, in the mountains).

I would love to hear some opinions, thoughts or experiences! And sorry for using someone elses thread, but I didnt wanna start a new one, seeing as this is very new and active.
Thanks!
-Hanna
 
Cj Sloane
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Jeff Marchand wrote:
I got the idea for layed hedges from that wonderful BBC show tales from the Green Valley. I cant recomend that show highly enough. Its on Youtube I believe.
Cheers



I hope you've watched the other shows, they're much better! Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm. I started a thread about them at Permies but never sparked much interest. They come and go on youtube.
 
Cj Sloane
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Hanna Toegel wrote:
Does anyone know which method works better, maybe especially for hazelnut?



I think hazelnut lays down well. The British use it that way.
 
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Nicholas, Meideland roses made a natural hedgeline for me once. It was 40 ft. by 6 ft. and would have kept going, but I stopped it: I couldn't get in my house,hahahahahahaha. I gave my mom an osage orange, and it turned up all over her yard, not just in the hedge row. It is hard to contain.
I've been thinking about making an old timey fence out of piled up stones. I don't know if I want to have to keep it clear. I don't a place looking like England, which looks like me it is headed for desertification ultimately.
 
Jeff Marchand
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CJ: "I hope you've watched the other shows, they're much better " I have seen the other series, and love them all, but my favourite is the Tales from the Green Valley. I like it the most because they dont use very much equipement. As almost nothing existed in the 1620's! This appeals to me as I have almost no farm equipment! I found the closer the team got to the present period the less interested I was in them.


Hanna: I believe that hedgerows are designed to keep livestock in, not to keep wildlife out. A hedgerow would have to be 8 feet high to prevent deer from clearing it. In principle I suppose you could make a hedge that tall but it would involve a lot of ladder work. A badger would find a small opening near the ground to get through. A hegdge would keep people out , no problem. Unless they had a chainsaw. Then they are coming through!

I think a variety of species is good, and a variety of thorny species is better, and a variety of thorny species that coppice is best.
 
Cj Sloane
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I have no farm equipment either but I felt like the threesome worked better as a team in the newer ones. It was very difficult, as a permaculturist, to watch them get rid of most of the animals and plowing up all that farm land in Wartime farm though!

Back on topic I've been planting willow cuttings like mad near my fence line. The goal is for me or the cows to pollard them as they hang over the fence. The cows & sheep really enjoy eating the young branches.

Jeff Marchand wrote:CJ: "I hope you've watched the other shows, they're much better " I have seen the other series, and love them all, but my favourite is the Tales from the Green Valley. I like it the most because they dont use very much equipement. As almost nothing existed in the 1620's! This appeals to me as I have almost no farm equipment! I found the closer the team got to the present period the less interested I was in them.

 
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Here's a very nice illustration of building a living fence, taken from this site - Building a Living Fence

 
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Great post. Have been looking to do this on an area that slopes down towards the northwest by a river here in central Tx. Is partially shaded, and occasionally gets some flooding every few years. Is a mixture of limestone rock with some good sediment built up over the years. The intention is for the edibles, privacy, and to keep out deer. Am planning to start with willow and figs as that what I have already.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I have never created a hedgerow.  Although I have done a fair bit of research.   

First, cedar is quite allelopathic.   Like all conifers, it makes the surrounding soil very acidic and the duff it naturally drops is loaded with stuff to make most surrounding plants sad.

Next up:  My impression is that coppice species make the best hedgerows for containing farm animals.  And I once saw a video of a guy maintaining such a hedgerow of, I think, filberts.  He would cut half the tree and then lean it over.  It looked like a lot of work.  It was about maintaining an existing hedgerow. 

15 minutes of searching on youtube turned up nothing.

Cutting through most of the trunk then bending it over works brilliantly. Do a rough row, hammer in some posts every metre or so and weave in the ends. This is a picture of sycamore sprouting from a branch I laid from the corner of the building last year. Below is stuff I did before, also weaving in a lot of dead material to make a cross between a laid and a dead hedge.

20180916_125355.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180916_125355.jpg]
 
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Nothing grows under cedar trees, but things grow fine next to them.  They are not such 'field suckers' as firs, for example.  They seem to share water better.  Plus, cedars are huge trees, so you have to stay on top of pruning them or they will take over your hedge and shade out whatever is next to it.  Locusts spread, beware!  I agree, more species is better in a hedge.  There are some really good books on hedge laying out there, which you might want to read as you plan.  Even of you are making a less traditional version it will help a lot to understand the whole process of how it's done and maintained over time.  It's a very old craft, and there are proven things that work, and things that don't. Maybe I'm just getting old,  but when I plant something big and permanent these days I consider what will happen with it when I'm not there to keep it in check and maintain it ideally.  So maybe not a hedge of something that if you stop trimming it will overgrow your house, or block the solar panels or shade out the garden?
 
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During my three week bicycle trip in the eastern part of the Netherlands I ended up in this region along the river Maas, between the provinces Limburg and Noord-Brabant. Here it's called 'Maasheggen' (hedges of the Maas). It's a protected cultural landscape with hedges between fields. These hedges, or living fences, are made out of interwoven thorny shrubs, in a traditional way, and all kind of climbing plants grow in there too. Some of the shrubs have edible berries (more for birds than for humans). I have two photos, one giving an impression of the landscape, the other a close-up of some species growing in the hedge (including the rare Bryonia dioica, with its non-edible berry-like fruits).


 
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Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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