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Planning on growing a hedge/living fence

Nicholas Covey


Joined: Oct 09, 2008
Posts: 179
Location: Missouri/Iowa border
So I was thinking of inter-planting Osage orange, red cedar, and honey locust as the primary trees, then maybe adding some apples, mulberries, pears, etc into the mix.

The osage, cedar, and honey locusts are pretty insect resistant, and may even repel insects from other nearby plants.

the honey locust would provide a nitrogen boost to the soil, a thorny resistance to any grazing herbivore, sweet blossoms in the spring (food for bees).

The osage provides a tough, almost stony tough barrier to break through, also with thorns. Also grows into a tangle, which helps hold a hedge together.

The cedars I picked mainly as an all season privacy screen. 6 months out of the year here the leaves are either dropped or budding so that makes a bit of a difference in whether you can see your neighbors or not.

The fruit I just wanted to add as a bonus. Now I know that the mulberries will grow practically anywhere...

Will the first three species grow together or am I missing something? Anyone know? Will any of the fruit grow in a hedgerow with these other plants?
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
None of those are allelopathic.  Cedar does have the reputation, but that is mainly when it is used as a mulch.

I don't see a problem interplanting any of those hedge trees with any of the fruit trees, everything else being equal (sunlight, moisture, etc).

It sounds like you have a pretty good plan.  If something doesn't seem to be working, you can always yank it out.

In another recent post, you mentioned a gully.  Are you intending to place some barriers across it to slow down water movement?  Otherwise, it will probably get worse, unless it's lined with bedrock, which isn't likely. 

For your seed balls, rather than using expensive seed in little packages (even at end-of-season prices), why not consider cruising the bulk-foods aisle of one of your local grocery stores, or health food stores?  I've collected quite a few viable seeds there (mainly grains and herbs) that sprout perfectly well.  The only ones that tend not to sprout when I try them are the hulled grains, like millet and oats.  I usually buy just a spoonful for 20cents or so, and sprout them in a small plastic bag.

Also, making seed BALLS can be time-consuming.  You can make your mix and sieve it through wire mesh (1/4" is pretty good) thinly onto planks or cookie sheets or roofing metal leftovers. Let them dry and scrape them off into paper bags.

Sue
Nicholas Covey


Joined: Oct 09, 2008
Posts: 179
Location: Missouri/Iowa border
Maybe Gully isn't the right word... valley maybe? It's lined with trees and grass and there aren't any particularly fresh washouts. The pond at the bottom which i mentioned is to sort of stop anything that would wash from across the road and build up my soil at the expense of the neighbor's poor choices. I would say that the washout occurred long before my family came along. It has vegetation all along the sides.

Ok, now back to the subject at hand:

All of the three basic species I picked because they are mildly invasive, scrubby trees, able to withstand almost anything and can be found growing much closer together than most other local hardwoods. I usually hear of fruit trees being crowded out by or having issues growing near other hardwoods, specifically nut trees such as hickory or walnut. Thus I wondered if it's likely to be cast aside by more vigorous local nuisance trees.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I have never created a hedgerow.  Although I have done a fair bit of research. 

First, cedar is quite allelopathic.  Like all conifers, it makes the surrounding soil very acidic and the duff it naturally drops is loaded with stuff to make most surrounding plants sad.

Next up:  My impression is that coppice species make the best hedgerows for containing farm animals.  And I once saw a video of a guy maintaining such a hedgerow of, I think, filberts.  He would cut half the tree and then lean it over.  It looked like a lot of work.  It was about maintaining an existing hedgerow. 

15 minutes of searching on youtube turned up nothing.




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paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Got one:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H0yst93XO8

More:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Andv7a0NPEc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06TBXAMKCf4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrmT_EYw4uw

Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
Paul, I always seem to be opposing you!  I'm sorry!

But I understood that cedar oils were mostly in the heartwood.  That's why most of the cedar available today isn't much good against rotting, because they harvest it too young.

Competition with trees is just competition, as far as I know. Of course there are the walnuts and black walnuts, but any tree that shuts off another tree's light or competes with soil nutrients is competition.  If you coppiced the non-fruit trees and let the fruit trees get light, that would be one thing, but if you just let the other trees take over, it would probably have the anticipated (poor) results.

Sue
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Paul, I always seem to be opposing you!  I'm sorry!


Really?  I thought we agreed on almost everything.  Most of the time when I go to reply to something, I see that you have already said what I would say. 

Competition with trees is just competition, as far as I know.


Take a look at a cedar grove.  Usually there is almost nothing growing there besides cedar.  Even though cedar makes a pretty dense canopy, you would think that there would still be lots of shade loving plants under a cedar.  Even the few that tolerate shade *AND* tolerate the toxicity of being near a cedar don't do particularly well.  Thus making a stroll through a cedar grove easy.  There's rarely a bush.  No grass.  No ankle high plants other than baby cedars.

Oh, and here is something I've learned just this last year:  If it is pouring rain out - under a cedar can be the driest place around.  More still:  if you need to build a fire and it is raining, you might find some really dry wood under a cedar.

So this makes me think that the corollary might be:  another way that cedars beat the competition is that they keep water from the competitors. 

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
ronie wrote:
Black Locust may not be friendly around other trees.. it puts off a natural poison of some kind that protects it.


Are you sure you aren't thinking of black walnut?


paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
While it is true that black locust contains interesting bits of toxins, I think they are so low that it is actually used as a food source for goats!

I'm quite sure that black locust is an excellent permaculture plant.  It's a nitorgen fixer that likes to share.  The leaves are small and tend to not smother little plants growing underneath.
ronie dee


Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 586
Location: Cosby MO
    
    2
Black Locust is an excellent tree.


Sometimes the answer is not to cross an old bridge, nor to burn it, but to build a better bridge.
Nicholas Covey


Joined: Oct 09, 2008
Posts: 179
Location: Missouri/Iowa border
Around here the locusts and cedar don't seem to have any trouble growing together. Most here are honey locust though, not black locust. And the Osage orange seems to grow almost anywhere. All three are considered "trash" trees around here because they are semi-invasive and will grow in varying soil conditions, making control difficult without some vigilance and a lot of hard work.

I prefer the honey locust because it has an edible seed and seed pod, which helps in their propagation, and to me makes a more suitable permaculture plant.

I'm gonna plant all three in the same hole and see what happens.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
It seems to me that a key ingredient in the sorts of hedges that contain animals, is the idea of being able to make that cut and bend the tree.  I suspect that only a few trees tolerate that sort of thing.  And I suspect that cedar isn't one of them.

                          


Joined: Apr 12, 2009
Posts: 66
if you can plant hazelnuts in it!!!
Nicholas Covey


Joined: Oct 09, 2008
Posts: 179
Location: Missouri/Iowa border
Ooh, good idea with the hazelnuts. I love Hazelnuts. They grow wild here but are hard to find.

I think I'm not so concerned about the animal holding ability with the cedar as I am the windbreak and visual screen abilities. I think I may stand the cedars off a few yards along the roadbed side of my property (which happens to be on the windward side as well). That way they don't poison the deciduous trees and it gives me a buffer lane to plant brambles and things like the above mentioned hazelnuts and trees like mulberries, which I have actually seen grow up through the canopy of a thicket of cedars and crowd them out. Consequently, they can grow next to a black walnut too.

I like the idea of having a buffer zone which produces all kinds of vines and nuts and fruits and not having to install a nasty looking old fence which begins to degrade from the moment it's installed. It gives plenty of space to birds and beneficial insects as well, so the pest population will be kept to a manageable level.

Dave Boehnlein


Joined: Jun 10, 2007
Posts: 291
Location: Orcas Island, WA
    
    2
If visual screening or dust barrier is important your on the right track to include evergreens. If cedars and the other species seem to grow well together where you are, I'd say go for it.

I would also like to make a plug for Oikos Tree Crops (http://oikostreecrops.com/store/home.asp). These guys have awesome stuff. I just ordered some honeylocusts selected for pod production. The seed pods from the best ones are supposed to be a reasonable human food (according to Tree Crops by J. Russell Smith). In terms of forage for animals, the selected honeylocusts beat out oats as a forage crop in some trials. However, I don't know if I would count on honeylocust being a n-fixer. That is somewhat debatable. Either way, it can grow in tough, gnarly conditions.

Good luck!

Dave


Principal - Terra Phoenix Design
http://TerraPhoenixDesign.com
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
it sounds so beautiful..i would keep the thorny away from the need to be picked..other than that i think they sound like they would work well together..

I have worked my hedgerows with different aspects in mind..near the road where we had to have privacy and dust protection until they finally paved it..i had very heavy evergreen mix..such as cedar, white and red pine, black spruce, hemlock..etc..and there are a few non evergreen plants in the mix such as honeysuckle bushes, a few vines and even a snowball bush which is suffering from the dense shade..tee hee.

however, where I don't need the privacy so much in the winter, i'm sticking mostly to just a few evergreens in strategically placed spots where neighbors can see in ..and sticking to fruit and nut trees an shrubs where I'm not so concerned about the gawking..however our new neighbors do have a dog situation I hadn't planned on ..they come and dig here..so i did complain last time they were here (seasonally) and ask them to control their animals..but i may have to start thinking thorns and more solid higher fences....which doesn't thrill me..(dogs were following me digging up fruit trees last weekend)..

have found that fences are a bigger help than trees in this case..but my fence runs out near my woods and dogs have found that out


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I'll second oikos.  If nothing else, their catalog is powerfully educational.

Dave, that is fascinating stuff about honeylocust pods being edible.  It seems I keep finding all sorts of conflicting info on that one.  It does seem that squirrels love the seeds.  hmmmm .... I'm gonna start a new thread ....

As for road barrier stuff, I agree with Sepp:  a big berm beats everything else by far.

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
here is a short section of a privacy hedge that I planted along the road many years ago.. I put the lattice fence up FIRST as we had to have SOME privacy..and the trees were planted on both sides as well as vines..and grew up and some through the fence..a small cedar tree grew right through the lattice..there are vines of grape, trumpet, wisteria and others on the lattice..there are cedar, white and red pine, black and white spruce, etc..growing on both sides of the lattice..and that little oak tree you see there..i grew from a sprouted acorn in the 1970's
[/img]
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Zone 5
What a pretty photo, you sure have a nice place Brenda.  I know you have been working on it for many years. 

I have a problem area and could use some advise/ideas.  My north boundry had to be moved/adjusted as the house was over the property line (before we bought it).  So now I only have like 10 feet from house to fence and would like to put in some sort of windbreak/hedge.  What I have been reading tells me to place it much farther from the house than this.  What would you all do?
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
Jennifer we have a similar problem here..we have not only a 9' area between the boundry /fence and house but there is a steep hill on it..

it has been quite difficult for me to get this area planted to my satisfaction..but i have gotten some privit established there..but the critters have tended to eat it back in the winter..so this year i hope to wrap it to protect it from the critters..but otherwise it has worked well.

another thing that i have is pole apple trees, they are availble from several nurseries but i got mine from stark brothers..they grow very straight and tall and narrow and bear wonderfully.

they would make a wonderful tall hedge along your house and you should still have several feet between them and the house to walk..

on the slope I planted hostas, daylillies, creeping thyme, vinca vine, oriental poppies, and other mixed perennials down the slope of the hill..and on the fence itself i have grapes, sweet pea vines and clematis growing up the lattice fence that i have there.

i have put a few birdhouses on top of the fence posts and it is a very pretty view now from the window on that side of the house..and our neighbors have planted some evergreen trees, which eventually will grow up and provide privacy (and maybe too much shade? we'll see)

I sent you an email Jennifer so that maybe we can talk about your zone 5 delimna
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Are you talking about the sort of hedge that would keep critters in/out?
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Zone 5
On that north boundry is a barbwire fence with cows on the other side, forgot to mention.  Also, I went out to take a photo and the good news is it is 21 feet not 10.  (I took a tape with me as I seem to have no idea of time or distance) So here are a couple of photos, my before photos, lol. 


[Thumbnail for 001.JPG]

[Thumbnail for 008.JPG]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
So, are you wanting to build a living fence that would keep critters in/out? 
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Zone 5
Mostly it is wanted for privacy, but I would like it to keep my Pomeranians and geese in, cold wind and varmets out if that is possable.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I think building a living fence to keep horses contained is pretty easy. 

To keep varmints out is a bit trickier.  Anything smaller than coyotes? 

                          


Joined: Nov 12, 2009
Posts: 27
i asked this on another thread, i hope noone minds me asking here, too:

does anyone have experience growing a high living fence for deer protection (over 10'?  pictures and suggestions would be terrific.  i'm thinking black locust 2' apart to start.

anyone with approach graft experience?
                        


Joined: Jan 31, 2010
Posts: 2
your combination of trees was pretty common at one time.

the original owners of our ground used it in the late 19th C.

a hedge requires constant maintenance, the barrier effect diminishes as the trees grow. so you have to interplant or slash and bend the trees over to create a fence.

however their work ethic must of petered out as the ground passed through different hands. as a consequence a person walking through our woods (they were once fields and pastures) must have a certain level of courage or pain tolerance. the wildlife and cattle that have used the ground move about with impunity.

the hedge (osage orange) and the various locusts were used because of their thorns. as you drive through kansas and nebraska you'll see miles of hedges that have grown up and now require wire to act as a fence.

it's a great idea, though.

good luck!
                        


Joined: Jan 28, 2010
Posts: 175
When Alabama became a state in the 1820s many of the planters decided to plant hedgerows around their properties.  The properties were sometimes 5000 acres or more.  The black belt is an flat open prairie with few other trees with the exception of cedar and post oak.  The foundation of the hedgerows they planted were imported osage orange trees
which are not native to Alabama but they are native to the Ohio-Illinois area.  The young whips were bought from northern suppliers and planted around the plantations and also around the town house properties of the planters.  The trees were strong with hog wire -- since they were meant to contain free roaming hogs.  And old trees are still embedded with the original wire so that using a chain saw on them is problematical.

In fact I live next to a property line that has one of these hedgerows.  The osage orange trees do tend to sucker and become multitrunked.  And they are very long lived.  The one adjacent to my property was planted about 1830.  Its true that a number of animals like to hang out around the osage orange trees -- many birds including a local family of white owls,
rabbits, and the black rat snake who is a regular around here.

I wrote this article a few years ago and Ive been thinking about hedgerows ever since:

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/108/

Be forwarned that some people tell me there are annoying "stickies" at this site, so be prepared to clean your browsing history  (!).

The main drawback of the osage oranges is that they never die.  They simply get heavier and heavier with age and eventually fall over -- usually in my driveway.

I would not consider the osage a good street tree, but if you have some pasture land an osage hedgerow is a perfect edge to a property.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
wolfmtn wrote:
locust 2' apart to start.


I would strongly recommend that you don't go with just one species.  I suggest at least five species. 

Scott Reil


Joined: Jan 19, 2010
Posts: 179
Location: Colchester, CT
Roses would be good. We've ended up with that d**n dog rose because it was brought over to hedge animals, but there are good natives too, Shining rose, Carolina rose, pasture rose, swamp rose; all these give hips, nectar, pollen and pollinator attraction, not to mention just some plain attraction.

Just about any of the Rubus clan would be great here, you can train native grapes up the trees as well to add to the tangle. I've seen cows browse fruit trees; might want something to keep them away from the trunks.

Trees are great, I love em, but there are other good plants too and if keeping foxes and larger out is the goal, the smaller thorny shrubs would be way more effective...

S


Connecticut Accredited Nurseryperson
Accredited Organic Land Care Professional (NOFA)
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Zone 5
Thank you Scott for your help. 

Some naturally short, grows low to the ground, rose is a great idea.  When I think of roses they are more tree rose type maybe, or climbing.  I will have to study unless you know a short busy rose that is hardy to zone 5, and maybe likes some shade.

One place I plan my hedge/fence is also windbreak.  21 feet north of my house is fenceline then cows.  I can put out chicken wire to hold critters but do not want to look at chicken wire.  Have barbed wire now and do not like to see it in my photos. 

I am considering a living cross-fence now too. 

On the south line I need something to screen neighbors houses/sheds/cars out of my photos as well as discourage her dogs.  This is much farther from my house (and closer to theirs) so I am not as concerned as to what to plant there.  She may be.

In fact I plan to try to talk her into planting on her side of the fence.  She has no cows and this is in her yard, not where she keeps her horses, and along her drive.  Again a barbwire fence, with my horses on this side of it.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
My impression is that you want to have species that do well with the hedgerow technique where you hack at the base a bit and bend the tree over.  This closes little gaps near the ground.  So trees that coppice well I suppose.  I think this limits the choices a bit.

                                


Joined: Feb 11, 2010
Posts: 6
The process of cutting and bending trees to make a hedge is called laying a hedge. It has been used in the UK since the seventeenth century, and the hedges are stockproof - they keep cattle in/out.  A laid hedge lasts for about 50 years, so every 50 years you have to relay it to keep it stockproof.

Hedgelaying skills nearly died out in the sixties and seventies but there has been a big revival of interest recently.

Obviously you choose the species that do best in your climate. Here in the UK the main species is hawthorn (quickthorn) which has the advantage of being spiny; it is usually mixed with other species including blackthorn, dogrose and hazel.

Once the hedge is established it needs cutting every three or four years - in sections, and only in midwinter, so as not to disturb nesting birds in the spring.

Laid hedges like this will keep most livestock in place, but are not vermin-proof - foxes, badgers and rabbits will all dig under one, in fact the raised banks they grow on are often ideal for setts and warrens.  They harbour wildlife; this is mostly a good thing.
Joshua Chambers


Joined: Feb 03, 2010
Posts: 66
Location: the state of jefferson - zone 7
When I was in Britian, I saw this great BBC show on the history of agriculture and the "green revolution" and all that jazz... and of course, they talked quite a bit about hedgerows, of which there are many there (though far less in recent years since they've been removing them at quite a pace as they've embraced industrial agriculture.

They showed a great technique of planting cuttings at quite a close spacing (like a foot apart, maybe even closer).  Some of the species they used were hazel (filbert), rowan, and others of which I can't quite remember (though all plants that would coppice well, and that they could plant with cuttings).

Then once they got a bit less than a person's height they took a hatchet and CHOP, nearly all the way, but not quite, enough to where there's just like a quarter or less of one edge of the tree hanging on but they would then bend them down and sorta behind the next one, nearly weaving them together.  They would then grow like this, making an absurdly thick mess that I can imagine would even keep chickens in or out!

Of course, that is just one layer in what could be quite a thick hedge with many species.  I am planning to try this with hazel and apple, and perhaps another tree or two (suggestions to go with?).

On the talk of cedars, I'd like to say that we have LOTS of cedars on our land, and the shrub layer (red bud, red root... mostly) seems to grow up under and around them about as much as all the other evergreens we have.

Joshua
Paul Cereghino
volunteer

Joined: Jan 11, 2010
Posts: 844
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
    
  13
Working on my first experiment... I'll post pictures when (if) sprouts.  I have never had european or beaked hazel throw roots... however I read root cuttings should work.

Here's my list (primarily based on easy availability)

Rosa nutkana
Spirea douglasii
Rubus parviflorus
Holodiscus discolor
Ribes sanguineum

I am omitting cottonwood and willow for size reasons... I want to avoid shading.



Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute
Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Are you using all cuttings or are you also using some seed?
Wyatt Smith


Joined: Feb 19, 2010
Posts: 111
Location: Midwest zone 6

Hi,

I want to start an extensive osage orange hedgerow to contain all types of livestock.  This is a 166 acre farm moving toward a multi-species rotational grazing system, it needs lots of fence.  I'm wondering what is the quickest easiest way to get it established. 

We have hundreds of osage trees growing on the property.  Most of the apples are disintegrated by this time of year.  We are cutting some of the trees down for posts, the rest of the tops may just become brushpiles.  I started an experiment to see if twigs stuck in the ground will take root.  If it works, this is ideal.  But, I still would like advice on how to layout the system.  With machinery we might be able to uproot the stumps and start with root segments. 

I watched the videos of the English hedge system using hazel.  That system is excessively labor intensive for our scale using osage. 
Paul Cereghino
volunteer

Joined: Jan 11, 2010
Posts: 844
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
    
  13
paul wheaton wrote:
Are you using all cuttings or are you also using some seed?


All ~12" cuttings.  Two approaches... one is shoveling 2', 6" deep strip of arborist chips and sticking through.  Other is laying a strip of weed fabric, staking on the seam, then laying another strip alongside.

Some places I am filling in between existing plantings.  Others are new sites.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14828
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Are you open to the idea of marking an area where you did seeds and see how trees from seeds do compared to seedlings?

Paul Cereghino
volunteer

Joined: Jan 11, 2010
Posts: 844
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
    
  13
Anything is worth a try--what is the nature and sequence of your proposed treatment?  Are you interested/concerned about the genetic diversity?  I don't have seed--and my species selection means I am shooting for a 10' shrubby hedge.  Most of our Cascadian trees seem to take from cuttings... mostly floodplain shrubs.

I understand that many woody seeds of my species need cold stratification.  I guess fall sowing would be in order.

In most cases I am staking through wood chip.  I have had very poor growth sticking cuttings into sod without controlling competition for at least 1-2 years.  I can get 2-3' from a cutting in a year with irrigation.  With woody seedlings I'd expect to get 6-12 inches and I'd be more worried about competition from Eurasian grasses over the first and second seasons. 

I think that I generally have low faith in seeds in my setting.
 
 
subject: Planning on growing a hedge/living fence
 
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