View Full Version : which natives make strong hedges?
02-28-2001, 02:27 PM
I need to create a barrier around my property -- in some places I prefer the hedge to be very short about 3-5 feet and in other places I would like to create a privacy screen at least 10 feet high. Preferably--the plants could withstand children from being able to crawl through them. Any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks. Laura</p>
03-07-2001, 08:35 AM
I have had some beautiful lemonade berry Rhus integrefolia and Salt Bush Atriplex lentiformis. I understand that either one will make a great hedge 5-9'. The salt bush looks like it would be a fire hazard but is not because of the salt content. I confirmed this with our local fire marshall. For a shorter hedge, I'd use Malocathamnus Bush Mallow in a line with a free form. Just prune it low every other year. Another shorter but great border for more water and some shade is Deer Grass Mulenbergia Rigens or other Mulhys. Again, let it mound up and prune every other year.</p>
03-08-2001, 10:26 AM
Laura - have you considered a hedgerow? In addition to being used for centuries as effective fence alternatives, hedgerows also provide excellent habitat for birds instant pest control! and other wildlife. Many native shrubs and trees can be used, including sambucus, ribes, coast redwood, rhamnus, amalanchier, wild roses, mahonia, ceanothus, cornus, salal, cercocarpus, symphoricarpus and many others. Hedgerows are generally 5-6 feet wide and 5-15 feet tall, but size can be controlled through pruning and type of plants used. Hedgerows also contribute to the environment by controlling water runoff and reduction of soil loss through wind and rain. - Kate</p>
03-08-2001, 03:28 PM
Thanks Kate--does a hedgerow function the same as a hedge--just it's a mix of different shrubs versus the same type of plant? I don't know that I've actually seen a hedgerow as you describe here--but the concept sounds exciting. How does it function as instant pest control as you saycan you explain? Thanks for your help here! Laura</p>
03-20-2001, 06:21 AM
Hedgerows are basically large hedges of mixed shrubs and can also include trees and perennials. They are generally maintained at a certain height and width, and also pruned occasionally to make them more useful to wildlife. They are most prevalent in agricultural areas, particularly in Europe where they were traditionally used as property dividers.
Hedgerows encourage natural pest control in the garden by providing homes for birds and beneficial insects, both of which prey upon plant-eating insects. Shrubs provide nesting sites for birds as well as places to find and feast on slugs, snails, and insects. Many shrubs also provide food and egg-laying sites for beneficial insects such as beetles includes ladybugs, lacewings and parasitic wasps tiny ones, don't sting humans. Hedgerows can also provide nesting sites for native pollinating bees again, small and non-aggressive. Hedgerows provide wildlife habitat, like mini-wilderness areas. As wilderness shrinks, backyards and gardens can take up the slack by providing plantings of native shrubs and trees. A hedgerow is one way to do that without needing a whole lot of space. For more information on hedgerows, see www.nps.gov/ebla/hedgerows.htm or Birder's World, June 2000 has a great article by Mary Louise Boldan on hedgerows to attract birds.
Hope this is helpful. </p>
03-24-2001, 01:47 PM
Thanks Kate for your help here!!! I really appreciate your detailed explanation of how the hedgerow operates. I'm inspired about the possiblity of including this on my property. After reading the article you suggested I have one more question: Do you think that planting a hedgerow in my Santa Monica yard is also going to attract snakes and mice too? I'm not sure that I am ready to be this popularha ha. Thanks for your inputLaura</p>
03-28-2001, 03:42 AM
Laura - I'm not a snake fan either, although I know they are a vital part of a thriving ecosystem. I don't know who or what will show up - it depends mostly on what is happening in your area and how developed or undeveloped it is. Most snakes in CA are harmless and very shy of people, so if snakes were attracted to live in your hedgerow, they would probably stay out of view and not come into the yard where people are. I have heard that berry vines, such as raspberry or blackberries, are particularly attractive to rodents, who love the fruit, thus attracting snakes or hawks to eat the rodents. I think the first inhabitants would be birds, since they are quick to discover new food sources and exist in any neighborhood, no matter how dense the human population. Also, butterflies will fly long distances to reach appropriate food sources which they can detect from miles away. Perhaps you could start small and see what happens Kate</p>
04-02-2001, 04:16 PM
Thanks Kate--quite helpful. I appreciate all of your knowledge here. I am definitely going to at least give it a try--I'll keep you posted as to who is going to show up in our yard---any specific plants for attracting blue birds??</p>
04-03-2001, 11:09 AM
Laura, I have never seen bluebirds here in Menlo Park, but plenty of blue jays who eat quercus agrifolia acorns and plant them too! However, the western bluebird is supposed to like fruit, particularly elderberries sambucus and wild grapes vitis californica or the desert grape. The Audubon Society says also to try these non-natives: raspberries, blackberries, fig trees really! and California pepper trees, which are actually native to Brazil. You might also try putting a bluebird nestbox in your yard, as bluebirds use them eagerly, unlike some other species. Good luck!</p>
05-24-2001, 12:34 PM
Bluebirds and a lot of other songbirds enjoy the berries of Poison Oak in the fall and wintertime.. If you have kids and it sounds as though you might from one of your last posts, poison oak is probably NOT a good idea as it can sprawl a good deal and, of course, many people are quite allergic. Perhaps Ribes or Gooseberry?? I have often found bluebirds in or near blue oaks. Perhaps they like munching on the moths found on blue oaks. Blue oaks are only recommended for a dry, interior location, however on hilly slopes..
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