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Help me design my living fence  RSS feed

 
Posts: 76
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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here are some more updates. the willow fence and rose fence look good the layed hedge has dissapeared behind plants but is still growing well the blood hazel hedge hasent grown or died and i have planted out dogwood instead of yew for the last because is is not piosionous and provides wildlife food. the forsythia and lilac domes are also just tiny plants but are alive and growing and i am clearing out the brush for the other half of the tunnel at the moment.
chicken-yard-2017-fall-willow-fence.jpg
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willow fence
show-garden-2017-fall-rose-fence.jpg
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the plants are all alive but the older stems are dead
show-garden-2017-tunnel-chickens-and-rabbits.jpg
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Taryn Hesse
Posts: 76
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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a few more pictures
garden-2017-fall-willow-living-fence.jpg
[Thumbnail for garden-2017-fall-willow-living-fence.jpg]
herb-garden-2017-fall-blood-hazel-hedge-(2).jpg
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Herb-garden-2017-fall-from-bedroom-window.jpg
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Taryn Hesse
Posts: 76
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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the last set of pics
patio-2017-fall-forsythia-dome.jpg
[Thumbnail for patio-2017-fall-forsythia-dome.jpg]
patio-2017-fall-forsythia-dome-(2).jpg
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patio-2017-fall-forythia-hedge.jpg
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the yellow leafed plant to the right is a lilac from the next dome
 
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Taryn, I'm so glad you are still updating this.  I love what you're doing!
 
pollinator
Posts: 219
Location: Denmark 57N
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Very interesting pictures, I'm also looking at plants to do a layered hedge with, I will probably be going with a mixture of hawthorn, hazel, blackthorn, seabuckthorn and various wild plums and cherries. I have a couple of comments on some of the suggestions, Rosa Rugosa, Just don't it's horrifically invasive, unless you can mow both sides of it and are ruthless with killing any seedlings it's really not worth planting, there are other roses for hips and flowers. I have it here it spreads like wildfire (It's a huge pest in Denmark millions is spent trying to control is), it grows around two meters tall and is incredibly prickly, BUT the dog can still happily push through it and so can I when I am picking some blackcurrants it has overgrown, that patch is nearly 20m square so thicker isn't a cure.  Sea buckthorn isn't a good option to just plant and leave either, because when in good soil and not trimmed by the wind it grows like a small tree so everything can get under it, trimmed or layered it should be fine.
 
gardener
Posts: 443
Location: SoCal USA
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I'm planning a hedge for a property that it looks like I'll be getting soon, my offer was accepted but no official paperwork finished and money swapped etc. "Hedges, Windbreaks, Shelters and Live Fences" https://archive.org/details/hedgeswindbreaks00powe is a book from 1900, free to download from that link. Edward Powell talks about various uses but for a live fence he was a fan of Osage Orange, Honey Locust, and buckthorn based on disease resistance, durability, and the ability of the thorny plants to turn back livestock.

Page 10 gives a detailed account of planting an Osage Orange hedge, which I've seen Mother Earth News turn into a pictorial how-to:

In the fall, a trench 18" wide and 12" deep is dug, and a broadfork is used to break up the soil underneath. It's then left until the next spring, so frost heave and rain/snow and condition the soil a bit.

The next spring, manure is added to the trench and the soil which was dug last fall is added back on top. The plants/seeds are then sowed into the soil, spaced based on 1 or 2 rows. The hedge is weeded/cultivated through the summer.

By the end of the first year, the new shoots are 3-6' tall single stems and quite sturdy. They are bent over in the fall, without cutting or breaking, near the ground and woven between the shoots moving in a given direction. I would alternate the weaving so that the next shoot would lock those below it in place.

You are left with a very short hedge less than a foot tall (much tighter/shorter than the pictures Mother Earth News had), and it will start sending up new shoots the following spring. As the roots continue to develop these shoots should be a bit thicker and grow taller. More weeding/cultivating through the growing season, which I'd bet if you properly mulched would make life easier.

The second fall you bend over the new shoots again, weaving them between their neighbors and this time your hedge will be around 18" tall. The next spring, new shoots are trimmed at a height you want your hedge to reach, the slower shoots eventually catching up to the more-heavily pruned vigorous shoots. Lateral shoots are woven into their neighbors so that you end up with a very sturdy fence which will develop into a tree canopy across the top.

While it's debated whether honey locust is a nitrogen fixer, I figure the thorns would be a good addition to a fence I hope to grow to deter deer and elk from the eventual fruit and nut tree guilds I would plant inside the hedge. Preventing these trees from also being eaten is a big priority too. Adding perennial ground cover and shrubs as nitrogen fixers and food sources/pollen once they can't choke out the hedge will hopefully make it more robust/multi-functioned.

After looking at various companies for affordable seed, https://treeshrubseeds.com seems like the best one I've found so far, offering honey locust, osage orange, black locust, and red maple (the latter 2 being my current choices for coppicing firewood) at good prices per pound. I'll have to decide how big of a hedge I want to tackle, between time to plant/tend and clearing space with the existing douglas fir on the 20 acres. I'm thinking a food forest around the house, surrounded by the hedge, surrounded by timber for firewood and construction/habitat. I'm wanting to plant a variety of fruit and nut trees once I am sure the hedge is high enough to protect them.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Excellent info Mark, thank you.
 
Posts: 125
Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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Todd Parr wrote:I need a living fence that is 100% dog and human proof.  I would like to combine these in such a way that I have resilience, good bird habitat, and a living fence in as short a period of time as possible.


Ah, a fellow pollinator. I'm in Wisconsin too, but total sand here. I think you are on the right track planting a variety of plants, just in case. This website says it it possible in zone 4, so you would be OK, but it sounds like you would have to really stay on top of it to avoid losing your property to it if it takes off:
http://tcpermaculture.com/site/2013/12/03/permaculture-plants-osage-orange/
The black locust seems to like sand and is considered an invasive in Wood County and is not liked in Portage county either. It makes wonderful honey though very clear, and will not granulate.
As long as it would be at the bottom of a slope, in clay soil, have you thought about planting some willows? Either pussy willows or a tangle of taller willows? Their flowers are really great for honey bees in the spring. I'm joining this site to give you another idea: This type of fence grows fast, being willows, and you could arrange them so as to make a *thin* wall which really would be human proof/ dog proof everything-proof. Birds would enjoy it and it has a really great look. You could then grow vines on it when it is established? Willows really take well to coppicing, so they will take any shape you choose...Just ideas...
https://insteading.com/blog/living-willow-hedges/
Disregard the willow idea if your sewer pipes are too close, though.
Good luck with your project!
 
Posts: 34
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains, Western North Carolina, Zone 6b
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I don't want to sidetrack this thread, but my hedge needs seem a bit different than most here.  I'm looking to plant something to give privacy, visually, but don't want anything too thick, or thorny.  I live very close to a gravel road.  I just measured and it's 26 feet from my front door to the road.  My front porch is 6 feet, so my front yard is only 20 feet wide, and I don't want an 8' to 10' thick hedge as it will leave me with no yard to speak of.

With the road being gravel and so close, dust is a problem for me in the summer.  As is the lack of privacy.  My road is a dead-end road, and I only have a dozen or so occupied homes past me on the road, but still, I'd rather not have everyone looking into my house as they drive by.  I like to leave my front doors open in the summer because the weather is usually fantastic, but it's not ideal with the gravel road so close.

So, ideally, I'd have a 6-8' high border that's only a couple/three feet thick, which gives privacy all/most of the year, including winter.  Preferably one which provides me fruit or nuts, but that's not essential.  If it was taller and/or thicker, I could live with that, but I'd prefer something not too monstrous, if possible.

I've included a photo showing the front yard area and what's there already.  I have a couple of  peony bushes, rose bushes, some other bush I can't identify and a pine tree just out of the shot to the left.  I'm fine with relocating the bushes to another part of the property.

I'm in zone 6b at an elevation of about 3000 ft.  I get pretty consistent rainfall, but some months are pretty dry in the summer.  Blackberries are native here, but grow quite large and spread too easily to keep them under control in this location.

Ideas or pointers to other guides/threads/sites are most welcome.

Thanks.
20170429_083820.jpg
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gardener
Posts: 2790
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Christopher, I'd suggest you look up Edible Acres youtube videos about living fences.   I attached one that is particularly directed at you.  He has multilayered living fences that are pretty narrow/dense.  One quick idea is a tall miscanthus grass that he uses.  It looks like it gives decent view blocking even in the winter.

A hedge of arbor vitae could do some good blocking and dust collection.  But deer love it.  Even so, they're somewhat affordable and stay cylindrical.  Planting a staggered row with 3-4 foot spacing could do wonders.  If you protect them until they're over 6', the deer will just nibble the lower parts.  And you could interplant with something shorter to fill in the deer damage and give a yield.

 
Taryn Hesse
Posts: 76
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
5
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hi Christopher Baber
im putting in dead hedges till the live ones grow in and trying to grow some sunchokes in pots in a row for a privacy screen. it is very tall, very thick edible and gone in the winter to let sun in your yard and windows.Maybe you have a long enough summer for it to flower but i don´t in 7a.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
Posts: 125
Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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Taryn Hesse wrote:hi Christopher Baber
im putting in dead hedges till the live ones grow in and trying to grow some sunchokes in pots in a row for a privacy screen. it is very tall, very thick edible and gone in the winter to let sun in your yard and windows.Maybe you have a long enough summer for it to flower but i don´t in 7a.



Good idea to place dead hedges until the new ones are grown: It will allow you to figure out if it alters the foot traffic/ nuisance traffic from deer. I've got a long one, about 7 ft tall, going along the road, trying to trap snow to enhance tree growth there. It also diverts the deer to a clearing which makes it easier to get meat during hunting season.
In Germany? you are in 7a? You must be at the bottom of a gorge? Deep between mountains? I'm in a cold zone 4 and my sunchokes can really produce. You state that you would put them in pots[?] I'm wondering if you mean tubs / barrels: Sunchokes, Helianthus tuberosus, Jerusalem artichoke needs a lot of space: I made the mistake one year of giving them the run of a bed in my garden: They grew 7 ft in all directions. Buried deep in our sandy soil [2.5 ft]they will manage to resurface all year. I was digging them out for years after that. Enormous crops, but yikes! invasive!
Growing them in pots may give you tubers that are badly contorted... or it will force flowering: Stressed plants will often rush to flower in one last ditch effort to propagate the species. Here, we have 2 colors: one that is pink skinned but a little smaller. That one gives me gas if I eat it raw. The other is buff colored, also with delicious white flesh. I eat that one like radishes, raw, or boiled, then add a little mayonnaise. Yum!
 
Taryn Hesse
Posts: 76
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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Hi Cécile Stelzer Johnson

yeah im in a steep narrow valley, but on the sunny side the sunlight gets cut short a lot in spring and fall but is direct most of the summer (short shadows) but even then we have equal numbers of rainy days to sunny ones so i think that is my limit. the planters were tubs but i put holes in them so i call them flower pots now. but half a meter deep and wide and a bit longer on the length. they grow about two meters tall and the tubers are all different shapes and sizes but are pale cream coloured. I might give them two years between harvesting to let them fatten up. they about triple the amount of tubers from last years tubers. anyway they must be a store brand because they are sold at grocery stores but not at nurserys here in the Harz. i think that the ground water keeps the soil very cool too (great for potatoes) i couldn´t start seeds well in the soil untill i put in raised beds. they are there until my roses along the road fill in. they are only about knee high.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:

Todd Parr wrote:I need a living fence that is 100% dog and human proof.  I would like to combine these in such a way that I have resilience, good bird habitat, and a living fence in as short a period of time as possible.


Ah, a fellow pollinator. I'm in Wisconsin too, but total sand here. I think you are on the right track planting a variety of plants, just in case. This website says it it possible in zone 4, so you would be OK, but it sounds like you would have to really stay on top of it to avoid losing your property to it if it takes off:
http://tcpermaculture.com/site/2013/12/03/permaculture-plants-osage-orange/
The black locust seems to like sand and is considered an invasive in Wood County and is not liked in Portage county either. It makes wonderful honey though very clear, and will not granulate.
As long as it would be at the bottom of a slope, in clay soil, have you thought about planting some willows? Either pussy willows or a tangle of taller willows? Their flowers are really great for honey bees in the spring. I'm joining this site to give you another idea: This type of fence grows fast, being willows, and you could arrange them so as to make a *thin* wall which really would be human proof/ dog proof everything-proof. Birds would enjoy it and it has a really great look. You could then grow vines on it when it is established? Willows really take well to coppicing, so they will take any shape you choose...Just ideas...
https://insteading.com/blog/living-willow-hedges/
Disregard the willow idea if your sewer pipes are too close, though.
Good luck with your project!



My situation has changed (as they always seem to do), and I will be starting on a new property this spring.  The soil on the new property has much more sand than I had before, so I will still need to plant a living fence, but the plants I use and the length will be different.  I did use a lot of willow on the previous area.  They are growing pretty well, but I won't be finishing that project.  The new area is 79 acres, so I'll be using a lot more trees, and I'll be using dead hedge for larger areas than I would have been.  This property will be more of a lifetime project I think  Black locust, honey locust, autumn olive, russian olive will be heavy players.  I'll plant a lot of osage orange, but it sounds like zone 4 is pretty extreme for them.  If I can start a thousand or so from seeds, the cost is insignificant, so I'll go ahead and put them in.  At this point, I pretty much have to start planning all over again because the situation is so different, but I'm really looking forward to getting started.
 
Christopher Baber
Posts: 34
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains, Western North Carolina, Zone 6b
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Mike Jay wrote:Christopher, I'd suggest you look up Edible Acres youtube videos about living fences.   I attached one that is particularly directed at you.  He has multilayered living fences that are pretty narrow/dense.  One quick idea is a tall miscanthus grass that he uses.  It looks like it gives decent view blocking even in the winter.

A hedge of arbor vitae could do some good blocking and dust collection.  But deer love it.  Even so, they're somewhat affordable and stay cylindrical.  Planting a staggered row with 3-4 foot spacing could do wonders.  If you protect them until they're over 6', the deer will just nibble the lower parts.  And you could interplant with something shorter to fill in the deer damage and give a yield.



Thank you, I appreciate the link/advice, I'm looking at the videos now.
 
Taryn Hesse
Posts: 76
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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Hi

the dead hedge collapsed in the snow (it knocked the fence over)! I had a question of anyone propogating trees for a livng fence using mound layering in general or specifically for yew (taxus) i need to cut a few down and thought to plant them along the borders and thought it would be easiest to pile dirt on top.
 
Posts: 14
Location: Southeastern Minnesota; Zone 4b / 5a cusp
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Robert Hayes wrote:Oak, maple, privet, chestnut, willow & holly, are some of the varieties used in traditional hedge work.  Willow and Elderberry might just become rooted now if you just poke them into the ground.  You can see 1000 year old hedge fencing in UK.  This might be a slow fence unless you've got a standing thicket right where you'd like your fence.  Devon or Leeds, for instance, this spring you can take a great course on this craft for £60 - or for free if you are "on benefits". You'll have to hop over the pond to get there however.  Or study a few videos about hedgelaying maybe?

Thank you for sharing those videos, Robert! Nice to have options - and visual 'how-to's'.

 
Posts: 6
Location: Miami, FL
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Todd Parr wrote:It's very odd to me that this doesn't kill the trees.  I guess since the cambium is intact on one side it stays alive?  I think I'll give this a try on some willows I have in that same area and see how well they do.  In my experience, if you can kill a willow, you're apt to kill any plant you touch



I didn't know willows were so hardy, good to know as I have a brown thumb...and willows are, to me, one of the most beautiful trees out there.  I love quaking aspen as well.  Even better that you can make them into a living hedgerow!
 
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