Creating Multi-Functional Hedgerows

Hedgerow is an old English term that refers to narrow planting strips that grow along field borders, fence lines and waterways. In my work this ancient design method is being expanded to incorporate a diverse number of plant species with a wide variety of functions.

Hedgerows often consist of trees, shrubs, ground covers, perennials, annuals, and vines depending on the function, size, and location of the planting strip.

These diverse plantings have multiple benefits. They develop into shaded areas for cooling water temperature, offer wildlife habitat, encourage beneficial insects, reduce soil erosion, provide bank stabilization, and uptake nutrients and pollutants. They are shelterbelts, windbreaks, and screens for privacy. Hedgerows can also be income producers. The landowner can decide which of these functions they want their hedgerow to provide.

Hedgerows are a valuable tool for enhancing biodiversity

A great deal of discussion and research focuses on the impact of planting buffer strips to improve water quality. To my knowledge, there has not been any research on the income-producing potential of these sites. Having worked on farms and ranches, I understand that when land is taken out of production there is income loss. My interest in including products that provide income goes beyond the ‘natives only’ policy. The Hedgerow designs we incorporate demonstrate the environmental and potential economic value of good watershed management through this self-sustaining practice.

Links for Information about Hedgerows:


A Guide to Multi-Functional Hedgerows in Western Oregon (Publication)

The Function of Hedgerows and Living Fences

Multi functional Hedgerows. A Book in Progress

Some products that can be grown in the hedgerow are:

Fruits and berries


Medicinal herbs (leaves, flowers, seeds, bark and roots)

Seeds for collection

Nursery stock


• Floral greenery

Willows for craft material  

Secondary wood products such as lumber and firewood

Goumi Multiflora ‘Sweet Scarlet’

Since 1982, I have been working in the Willamette Valley as a landscape designer and horticulturist. My experience is with a wide variety of sites, both urban and rural, and has yielded the knowledge of what plants grow well in what conditions. The focus of my work is on holistic land management – with an emphasis on integrating edible, bird attracting and native plantings. I have been involved with implementing hedgerows since 1998. 

I am interested in consulting with organizations and individuals who wish to demonstrate the environmental and potential economic value of good watershed management the through self-sustaining practices of multi-functional hedgerows.

If you have a potential project and would like to find out more, please contact me.