What is a hedgerow? Why would I want one?

wildways

Hedgerow at Petrini Land Company

Question:

What is a hedgerow? Why would I want them on my farm?

Answer:

  • Hedgerows are a linear row of mixed native plants that provide a spread of flowering and fruiting periods, resulting in food resources being available for beneficials most of the year. Hedgerows bring new and diverse living features to the farm, conveying some of the wildness of nature.
  • Short and medium-sized shrubs can be planted that won’t shade out a crop; medium and tall-sized shrubs protect crops from dust; and tall trees provide crops shelter from wind and cover for canopy loving birds. The bigger that shrubs and trees are, the more birds present and the more carbon is stored in woody tissues.
  • Soils also benefit. Hedgerows prevent erosion, increase water infiltration, and enlarge carbon stocks in the soil as a duff layer is formed from sloughing off leaves. Including an understory of herbaceous plants can help crowd out weedy vegetation. 
  • Hedgerows and other wildways can be located along fence lines, farm roads, and in other non-crop areas; they increase the biodiversity of the farm and in the region.

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