How can I use living fences?
Answer: Living hedges are fences made of living trees and shrubs. Their installation and use is common in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and Australia. While historically used in this country as livestock fencing, living hedges are being implemented as they offer many additional benefits 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 hedge include:-Crops are protected against harmful pests.-Provides 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, nectar, etc 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. 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 have 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.