Uh, whatever you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you. IMNSHO, Osage Orange is severely invasive in the lower Midwest. I’m going to quote a few stanzas from the Wikipedia Article.
Due to its latex secretions and woody pulp, the fruit is typically not eaten by humans and rarely by foraging animals…
That is to say, even though the large fruit are attractive to look at, they are disgusting to handle and have no economic value as a crop.
The distinctive fruit, from a multiple fruit family, is roughly spherical, bumpy, 8 to 15 centimetres (3–6 in) in diameter, and turns bright yellow-green in the fall.
Nuh, uh. They get a lot bigger than that!
Story Time: My Dad’s father worked for the state of Indiana as an insurance inspector. He was in Texas, auditing the books of an insurance company there that did business in Indiana, when he called us on the phone. We didn’t have a phone at the time, but the Bell Operator in our West Central Indiana town forwarded us his message. We were to find the hugest, heaviest, grossest hedge apple in the county and mail it to him at such and such an address in Texas, which we duly did. Apparently the Texas firm had denied a claim for double indemnity for accidental death due to a hedge apple. A group of Hoosier thugs hurled a hedge apple at an elderly woman sitting on her front porch. The impact crushed her chest and killed her. I guess the perpetrators for whatever reason couldn’t be found or prosecuted. There was no judicial ruling, and the Texas firm didn’t feel they ought to have to abide by the coroner’s report. They didn’t believe you could die from getting hit with an apple. They were wrong of course.
Osage Orange was brought back from the brink of extinction by westward European settlement, which demanded cheap fencing.
By providing a barrier that was “horse-high, bull-strong, and pig-tight,” Osage orange hedges provided the “crucial stop-gap measure for westward expansion until the introduction of barbed wire a few decades later.”
The reason barbed wire is so much preferable to Osage Orange, which is after all endlessly renewable, is that the barbs don’t go as deep as hedge thorns. A hedge thorn will puncture a tractor tire. This is an all too common repair for farmers who tolerate Osage Orange in their fence rows. Most others will consider the expense of bulldozing it out worthwhile.
I should mention that bulldozing doesn’t kill it but spreads it. This is, however, the only practical way to begin getting rid of it because the wood is hard and practically unworkable and trunks of any size can barely be cut down. Successful eradication depends on years of diligent follow up with chain saws and chemical stump killers.
The plant has significant potential to invade unmanaged habitats.
This is an understatement!
Meriwether Lewis was told that the people of the Osage Nation, “So much … esteem the wood of this tree for the purpose of making their bows, that they travel many hundreds of miles in quest of it.”
… not that it doesn’t grow abundantly, but specimens that grow straight enough to be useful are exceedingly rare.
[Hedge] was one of the primary trees used in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Great Plains Shelterbelt” WPA project, which was launched in 1934 as an ambitious plan to modify weather and prevent soil erosion in the Great Plains states, and by 1942 resulted in the planting of 30,233 shelterbelts containing 220 million trees that stretched for 18,600 miles (29,900 km).
My Dad blamed FDR for many things. Propagating hedge was not the least of them.
Unlike many woods, Osage orange wood is durable, making good fence posts. They are generally set up green because the dried wood is too hard to reliably accept the staples used to attach the fencing to the posts.
Here I invite you to read between the lines. What exactly do you do with it when you’re done with it? The wood is effectively non-biodegradable and, contrary to the impression left by the text of the article, will hardly catch fire at all.
In sum, my recommendation to you about planting Osage Orange is, “Don’t do it…” unless you get one of the thornless cultivars, and even then I’d want the first-hand advice of someone who had.