Creating the perfect fence hedgerow for my track
As some of you may know I am preparing to start my next track project which is planting a hedgerow that doubles up as a fence and a wind barrier to shield the horses from the elements.
As you walk into the track on the left side we have a large over hanging tree that the horses love to sleep and rest under. The hedgerow will be directly in front of this tree, marked blue on the drawing. It seems to be one of the horses favorite spots so hopefully it will help block the wind from the front making their favorite spot even crosier.
There is a few things that I want to take into consideration before planting.
~ I would love everything that I plant to be edible for me.
~ I would like to attract other wildlife
~ I would like to keep the hedgerow native, this isn't essential but it is desirable and also if I can find shrubs or trees from the The Great Basin that grow in the UK it would be a bonus.
~ As stated above I would like the hedgerow to be dense enough to act as a shield/barrier from the elements but also to double up as a fence.
~ I would like everything to be ok for the horses to nibble on if they choose to.
Firstly I put together a list of trees and hedgerows which can be used for their wind break ability but also have other uses. (Please note that there are a lot more varieties out there, these are just the ones that have caught my eye).
The evergreen small shrubs:
1. Barberries (edible fruit)
2. Juniper (edible fruit)
3. Salal (edible fruit)
4. Oregon grapes (edible fruit)
5. Chinese bramble (edible fruit)
6. Gorse (attracts the bees)
The evergreen large shrubs:
1. Strawberry tree (edible fruit)
2. Hawthorn (attracts and feeds more than 300 insects)
3. Arrow bamboo (Acts as a really great wind barrier)
Small trees (Not evergreen and most of these are under 10meters )
Sea Buckthorn (fruit)
Crap Apples (fruit)
Cherry plum (fruit)
Willows (attracts other wildlife)
So then from my list above I have to narrow it down to the trees and shrubs that can tolerate heavy clay soil.
- Oregon Grapes (Non toxic to horses)
- Gorse (Non toxic to horses)
- Hawthorn (Non toxic to horses)
- Crab apples (Non toxic to horses - unless they eat a very large amount of apples)
- Cherry plum (Some research to suggest this is toxic to horses so will have to be eliminated)
- Damson (Again some research to suggest this is toxic to horses so will have to be eliminated)
- Willows (Non toxic to horses but not all types of Willow will grow on heavy clay soil)
- Elderberry (Some research to suggest this is toxic to horses so will have to be eliminated, although I must say I have in my field already and I have seen them occasionally eat the berries - I am always annoyed at them for getting their before me, it's like they don't even care about Elderberry champagne!!)
- Rowan (Non toxic to horses)
I then found a list of Shrubs and plants listed in the Great Basin - from this list I narrowed it down to what could grow on clay soil and could be found in the UK;
The Final list (Always subject to change if I come across something new)
- Oregon Grapes
- Crab apples
The next steps for my hedgerow is to build up the ground into a mound. I will do this with the horse manure because believe it or not I have tons!! Once this is done I will decide on whether I need some sand on top to help with the drainage or just plenty of compost.
The Gorse, Rowan, Willows, Hawthorn and Crap apples will be started by cuttings as these can all be found in my local area. I now need to research on when the best time to do this will be and luckily I have a friend helping me out on this who knows what he's doing.
I will need to buy in the current and Oregon grapes. However before I do this I will need to determine the position of each of the shrubs and trees for the area and how many I will need.
Who knew planting a hedgerow was this complicated !!