Curious to discover whether hedgerows could increase biological diversity and augment production on his home ranch, Phil Foster decided to plant two mixed native hedges on opposite sides of his organically managed vegetable fields in the mid 1990s. After observing insect predators and parasitoids on the newly planted natives, Phil has installed hedgerows interspersed throughout most of his crop fields over the years.
Near his house, he replaced invasive species with riparian trees along the edge of the San Benito River, and planted a windbreak to moderate the strong winds that blow through the San Juan Bautista, California, countryside. Besides attracting beneficial insects, Phil has enticed barn owls to move in by placing nest boxes high above the now 15-foot-tall sequentially flowering hedgerows. During nesting season, many regurgitated pellets replete with gopher and mice bones can be found at the base of the barn owl boxes.