Creating Multi-Functional Hedgerows
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.
Hedgerow is an old English term that refers to narrow planting strips that grow along field borders, fence lines and waterways. In the Northwest this ancient design method is being expanded to incorporate a diverse number of plant species with a wide variety of functions.
Hedgerows can 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 screen for privacy. Hedgerows can also be income producers. The landowner can decide which of these functions they want their hedgerow to provide.
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.
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
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 and have been struck by the importance of this resource as a tool towards enhancing biodiversity.
If you have a potential project and would like to find out more, please contact me.