The only hedge I’ve planted is forsythia. It’s dead easy to grow around here, it’s pretty early in the spring, when a little horticultural excitement is welcome, and it makes a nice dense hedge pretty quickly. Oh, and while it will propagate vegetatively if you let it, it doesn’t seem to spread much by seed, and I’ve never heard of anyone having real trouble managing it – that is, it doesn’t appear to be terribly invasive, despite how easy it is to grow.
Mine is taller than I am, but not vastly taller than a person.
I’m after something that is “horse-high, bull-strong, and pig-tight.” Still, the downsides of hedge/Osage orange are being heard. My thought is to keep,it tightly corralled with brush hogging young trees that won’t pose a threat to tractor or personal health. As for using the wood that gets culled, Osage orange has one of the highest, if not outright highest energy contents of any North American wood (it has roughly 33% more energy than white oak.) As someone who heats with wood, this would be highly welcome!
I’m leaning towards a blend of hedge and locust to start, then filling in gaps with wild plum and an assortment of shrubs that will feed critters and fill in the gaps. Once the trees get a decent base, I’d lay down a good layer of trees and pray for in impenetrable tangled mess of thorns.
My mind says I should steer clear of evergreens. They’d be great for a wind break, but as the trees get larger, the understory will open, providing cover and safe passage for horned rats spying the trees I’d like to protect.
If I go down his path, I’ll be prepping the ground this spring/summer and seeding next fall. I’m more than open to being told I’m thinking foolishly, but hope some have done this successfully and will chime in.
I’ve heard the same about black/ honey locust. supposedly some of the best burning woods out there. all 3 are popular for woodworking because they are so durable though osage doesn’t have many strait sections of logs.
When my husband’s uncle died, we visiting his house in the catskills one last time. And the entire lawn was covered with small black locust trees, with an incredibly dense number of them next to the rock wall lining his front walk. I realized they were all root-suckers from the large tree in the corner of the property, and not having been mowed that spring, they were taking over.
They don’t stay bushy and in place. They SPREAD. And they are covered in nasty thorns, making it more difficult to control them.
Note that there weren’t any sprouts NEAR the tree. No, it knew it had that territory covered. I really don’t think it’s suitable for hedging.
When I was a kid, we had 9 large black locust trees…(maybe not quite as big as a 5-gallon bucket)…in the yard as our ‘shade’. I went barefoot from April to October…stepping on a few thorns, but my feet were tough. The sprouts were somewhat a problem, but only if you didn’t mow them down or grub them out. They were definitely better than no shade! And honeybees loved them in spring, bumble bees too.
I think there were only 5 left when I went away to college and the folks moved to another place. A couple of the logs were laying in the bushes un-rotten 30 years later!
If I recall correctly, the mature trees have far fewer thorns than the young growth. They are beautiful in full bloom and bees loved them.
At one point maybe 30 years ago a north neighbor planted a Purple Robe black locust in their yard. Now, there are literally hundreds of the little buggers popping up 100s of yards away from the long dead parent tree. The younger guy who bought the farm from his parents is out there every year spraying the suckers with herbicide. My wife wanted to dig some of them up and transplant them here That was a lengthy discussion as to why such a thing would never happen under my watch.
The blossoms also smell nice. There are several by my train station (hey, remember when we did things like go to an office!) and I always enjoy them in the spring. And most of the nearby ground is paved, so they don’t really have anywhere to spread.
I do not know. It took me quite awhile to figure out what I was seeing. I had not seen that variety (is it a variety, a cultivar, or what?) before. From the growth pattern, I would assume they are suckers being sent up from the roots of larger specimens. The suckers we see are on the edge of a patch of spruce, the larger trees are on the inside edge of those spruces. I don’t think they’d be seedlings as our prevailing winds are westerly and the larger specimens are east of the suckers.
Where I grew up in NJ farmland, there are extensive informal mixed-species hedgerows. These are anything but tight. In fact, they are excellent habitat and corridors for deer. If you want something that matches your quoted description, you’re probably going to have to start with a traditional laid hedge of hawthorne or similar, and then manage it intensively to keep it tight.
I have come to really love hawthorn here. I go out of my way to promote their expansion on my acreage. Birds of all sorts seem to enjoy the fruit and when a thick stand exists, deer movement is impacted.
Yes, Osage Orange will burn … under controlled circumstances. Where I come from, people use bulldozers to push it into piles and give up having the use of the space under the piles for three or four years. For one thing, you can’t compact it because you can’t cut it into logs at any reasonable return on effort and wear and tear on equipment. You have to let it dry a year before you can hope to pour on enough accellerants to sustain a blaze, but it doesn’t all burn then. You have to push several small piles together and try to burn them again the second year and repeat the third year. Finally, you wind up digging a trench with a backhoe to bury the remains. Unless you’ve been exposed to the extended eyesore of eradicating hedge, you can’t imagine how tough and springy the wood is and how difficult it is to get rid of.
I’ve wondered about how generous the z4-5 hardiness estimates have been. With already observed changes in hardiness zones and projected continuation, I’m going to guess that Hedge would do okayish here now, but get better as the climate issue worsens. My original post was titled on the safe side for living in the boundary of 4b-5a. The bigger issue is whether I want to risk ignoring the warnings of all the good people who’ve offered advice here. Seeds are cheap and experimenting is fun.