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Natural Fencing

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  • Natural Fencing

    Has anyone done this?

    When I was a child, my father planted a multi-flora rose hedge to keep out hogs. It worked.

    There are numerous hedging plants with thorns.

    Would they work (after a number of years) to replace standard wire or wood fences?
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire

  • #2
    These things need just as much maintenance as a fence. And doing it will be less fun with the thorns.

    Also, hedges get holes when a plant dies. so even then having a wire foundation is not a bad idea.

    Comment


    • #3
      Good hedges are awesome things; they not only make great livestock barriers, and shelters, but also provide homes and food for all sorts of wildlife. Not to mention looking beautiful.

      Where I come from they usually plant hawthorn in a row between two lines of pig fence (wire on a roll with square holes) attached to fence posts to start a hedge. This protects it from livestock til it gets established.

      Then you remove the wire and prune the hedge and add vertical staves (called "laying" it) as it grows to make it extremely thick and dense. You only have to lay a hedge every few decades, and keep it trimmed every year or so to make it tidy.

      Very old hedgerows are tall drystone walls with a thorn hedge on top (or growing in it basically) and they will keep anything in (or out!) They either stat with drystone wall or end up that way through successive generations of people throwing rocks to the edges of fields into the hedge
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      • #4
        Here's a good pic of a Dutch hedge just being laid though not very thick or high. This one has a woven top for sturdiness. After several years you get this effect with another style. And here's another work in progress.
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        • #5
          If relying on a natural barrier to contain livestock, I would check local ordinances to make sure the "fencing" is considered adequate for your town, county, etc.


          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Xanthoria View Post
            Here's a good pic of a Dutch hedge just being laid though not very thick or high. This one has a woven top for sturdiness. After several years you get this effect with another style. And here's another work in progress.

            Looks pretty labor intensive...

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              I'm particularly wondering about hedge plants like eleagnus (Siberian Sweet Olive) and Flowering Quince, as well as multiflora rose.
              "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
              Thread killer Extraordinaire

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              • #8
                On my old farm, two of the four sides were livestock fence (not my fav fence for horses) with multiflora rose bushes and a variety of other dense growth. It was wonderful. Horses stayed away and lots of wildlife "used" the hedges. I never had to do a thing to it.

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                • #9
                  There was a farm up north of here with (I think) hawthorne hedges for fencing. Pretty neat.

                  Jennifer
                  Third Charm Event Team

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                  • #10
                    I've always wanted to try these, but I'm 'green thumbed' challenged. It's a good day when I dont kill my one and only houseplant
                    Originally posted by ExJumper
                    Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
                      Looks pretty labor intensive...
                      No more labor intensive than building a fence, but does require skill. Supposedly a well laid hedge can last 50 years though.
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                      • #12
                        at my grandma's farm they had a hedge that might have started out like that. I am thinking it was hawthorn - or something close...
                        It was already very old when I was a kid, with massive trunks. every few years they cut the mess down to about fence hight. But I am pretty sure when the neighbor kept cows on it there was also fence to go with it...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Whatever you do, DON'T use multiflora. That stuff is evil, it spreads like wildfire, takes root in a half teaspoon of soil, grows a mile a minute, has thorns from hell, and is impossible to kill. Its growing all over our land, can't ever get ahead of it, can't get rid of it fast enough (if we could get rid of it at all...) and I imagine if you were trying to use it as a fence you'd have to be out there pruning it at least twice a week to keep it from completely overtaking your property.


                          Unless of course you live somewhere that it doesn't thrive quite as well as it does here, then by all means, put it to a good use!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Himalayan blackberries grow not only like weeds, but as weeds here.

                            The fence separating my property from the south neighbor is technically barbed wire, but there is 6' of blackberry before you get to it. It's a wonderful fence, actually, especially in August. Yum.

                            I wouldn't use it against horses on an everyday basis, but it makes an excellent perimeter.
                            If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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                            • #15
                              I also had wild berries growing on one edge - BIG problem. My QH mare taught the others how to pick the berries off and eat them. My gelding never quite figured out how to eat the berries without being poked in the eye - bad news for him.

                              I know they say multiflora spread like crazy. . . mine never did - stayed along the fence line. . . don't know why it was not a problem.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by jump4me View Post
                                Whatever you do, DON'T use multiflora. That stuff is evil, it spreads like wildfire, takes root in a half teaspoon of soil, grows a mile a minute, has thorns from hell, and is impossible to kill. Its growing all over our land, can't ever get ahead of it, can't get rid of it fast enough (if we could get rid of it at all...) and I imagine if you were trying to use it as a fence you'd have to be out there pruning it at least twice a week to keep it from completely overtaking your property.


                                Unless of course you live somewhere that it doesn't thrive quite as well as it does here, then by all means, put it to a good use!

                                Ha! This! Multiflora rose is a horrible exotic invasive. It will take over any marginally used pasture in a matter of a few years. Be very, very careful in your plant selection if you choose to do a hedge.
                                Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

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                                • #17
                                  if you go that route, use native species.

                                  There are a number of nice wild roses out there, no spectacular bloom but good for the habitat.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    my goats love roses, fwiw!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I've just found an ancient article in Google Books about planting and laying a Bois D'Arc hedge. Those things are indestructible, and the huge fruit that they produce are well loved by horses. We call them ironwood here because they are so tough that often they were the only trees to survive in hedgerows, as everything else got cut down for fuel. The Bois D'Arc would actually blunt the axes. Its other name is the Osage Orange, and it's a native, I do believe.



                                      The Osage Orange tree, Maclura pomifera, has bright green summer leaves with yellow fall color. The Osage Orange bears an inedible fruit resembling a woody orange. It is sometmes called the Hedge Apple tree and Mock Orange and Bodark tree. Native to the midwestern and southeastern United States, this species is also known as the hedge apple because it was planted in thicket-like hedge rows before the advent of barbed wire fences. The fruit is neither an orange nor an apple, although it approaches the size of those fruits. In fact, the bumpy surface of the fruit is due to the numerous, tightly-packed ovaries of the female flowers

                                      The wood of osage orange was highly prized by the Osage Indians of Arkansas and Missouri for bows. In fact, osage orange trees are stronger than oak (Quercus) and as tough as hickory (Carya), and is considered by archers to be one of the finest native North American woods for bows. In Arkansas, in the early 19th century, a good osage bow was worth a horse and a blanket. A yellow-orange dye is also extracted from the wood and is used as a substitute for fustic and aniline dyes in arts and industry.

                                      Now I'm Intrigued. Next task is to see if I can come up with a source for Bois D'Arc plants.



                                      Here's the link:
                                      http://books.google.com/books?id=Pn1...ssippi&f=false

                                      I wonder if you could do the same thing with black locust?
                                      Last edited by vineyridge; Oct. 25, 2010, 06:19 PM.
                                      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                      Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                                      • #20
                                        Black locust are huge trees...

                                        and poisonous...

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