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Living Fences

*Table of Contents for Living Fences Section is at bottom of this page.*

Though I have only one article to share on the subject at present, I hope to add to this section in the future. Not much has been done in this country with the concept of hedgerows—living fences serving various agricultural and ecological functions in the landscape—though they have been much used in other parts of the world.

If you are interested in this topic, start with “Multifunctional Living Fences” for a good overview, then do further research using keywords “living fence,” “hedgerow,” “pleaching,” “inosculation,” and the like into an online search engine. There is frustratingly little information to be had, but you should find your way to most of it in that way. Another useful source is Toby Hemenway’s Gaia’s Garden (Chelsea Green, Second Edition 2009)—scattered through the book are numerous suggestions for species adaptable to making hedgerows and applications such as creating deer-proof barriers.

If you try planting a hedgerow, I would love to hear from you about the species you use, why and how you established the fence, and results so far. I would especially like to hear from you if there is a functioning hedgerow in your area. Digital pictures you can share would be most welcome. (Understand that I mean living fences in agricultural applications, not landscape fences.) Please do not request advice for planning a hedgerow project, since I have not established a living fence myself and am as much a beginner as yourself.

I am especially interested to hear from visitors to the site from California and other parts of the United States with a Mediterranean climate who know of any use of tagasaste in hedgerows locally.

Establishing a living fence would be a major undertaking requiring a lot of planning and a commitment to ongoing care and management as it develops. It could also evolve into a major and lasting element in your landscape and local ecology. If you’re interested in working at the cutting edge, best luck, and keep in touch.

~Harvey, January 25, 2013

Table of Contents for Living Fences Section