Beneficial Landscaping - Hedgerows
Hedgerows Offer Function, Beauty
Hedgerows bring to mind the beautiful English countryside, where farmers use hedgerows to contain farm animals, create pasture boundaries, and protect their land from erosion. Have you ever wondered why not here?
Whether you live in a rural setting where pasture fencing is needed, or in an urban or suburban setting where privacy or other objectives prevail, consider adopting this highly beneficial landscaping practice.
Hedgerows differ from ornamental or suburban hedges: they are usually composed of a mixture of native shrubs, small trees, and groundcovers, and they are not sheared, but rather are interwoven. Limbs growing outward are woven back into the hedge. This produces a thick tangle with spaces that allow birds to fly in and out, but which prevents the passage of larger animals. These living fences can provide many benefits, including beauty; cover, food, nesting habitat, and corridors for birds and small mammals; windbreaks; shade; soil stabilization; sediment and nutrient capture and retention; odor and noise reduction; visual screening -- functions provided by "regular" fences, but so much more. Depending on the species used, hedgerows can be established in a variety of garden or landscape settings.
The tradition of hedgerows has been revived in Washington's King and Snohomish Counties. The King and Snohomish Conservation Districts have established the Snoqualmie and Snohomish Valley Hedgerow Projects, which are funded jointly by Washington State's Centennial Clean Water Fund, to create living fences for livestock owners in the Snoqualmie, Snohomish, and Skykomish watersheds. Their objectives are to establish native plant hedgerows along waterways to prevent pasture erosion, protect water quality, create wildlife habitat, shade streams and provide woody debris to improve salmon habitat. Landowners along the Snohomish, Skykomish, and Snoqualmie Rivers and their tributaries can be considered for funding. The project funds fence installation, removal of invasive species, installation of additional watering sites, plants, and labor crews.
In King County contact Geoff Reed at 206/764-3410 x 103, and in Snohomish County contact Jamie Bails at 425/335-5634 x 106 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for project details or for a copy of their hedgerow fact sheet.
If you cannot participate in the Hedgerow Project but still would like to establish hedgerows, take heart! Many local Conservation Districts offer late winter/early spring annual native plant sales where the public can cheaply purchase plant starts ideal for hedgerows. They also can provide a directory of retail native plant sources. We encourage the use of a variety of plants native to your area because they create a diverse and dynamic thicket, are well adapted to the local conditions, resist pests and pathogens, and provide food and shelter for wildlife. Check with your local Conservation District, Cooperative Extension Office, or Native Plant Society for a species list appropriate to your area. For a listing of all conservation districts in Washington visit www.conserver.org . For access to the conservation districts in any US state visit www.NACDnet.org. Top