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Question of the Week



Permalink How can I use living fences?

Answer: Living fences are fences made of live trees and shrubs. Their installation and use is common in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and Australia. While historically used in the United States as livestock fencing, living hedges are being increasingly implemented for the many additional benefits they offer to sustainable agricultural systems. Living hedges are an important component to permaculture design as their multiple functions are integrated in the planting of forest gardens.
    
The benefits of a living fence include: 

-Crops are protected against harmful pests.

-Habitat for beneficial predator animals and insect pollinators.

-The living fence can act as a windbreak.

-It can prevent soil erosion.

-Various products, such as food, firewood, medicines, timber, and nectar, can be harvested.

-It can prevent terraces from collapsing.

-It can be used where materials for fencing are difficult to obtain.

-The living fence can save money.

For more information, see the ATTRA publication Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control, at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=145. This publication contains information about increasing and managing biodiversity on a farm to favor beneficial organisms, with emphasis on beneficial insects. The types of information farmscapers need to consider is outlined and emphasized. Appendices offer information about various types and examples of successful 'farmscaping' (manipulations of the agricultural ecosystem), plants that attract beneficials, pests and their predators, seed blends to attract beneficial insects, examples of farmscaping, hedgerow establishment and maintenance budgets, and a sample flowering period table.

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