Over the course of our 7+ years here on the farm, we have embarked on various remediation projects to remove invasives and improve both the ecological and agricultural quality of this land. Most recently we completed a mixed hedgerow project to contribute several solutions and benefits for the land. Watch this video or read below to learn more about building a hedgerow!
What Is a Hedgerow?
Hedgerows are dense plantings of mixed trees, shrubs, and perennials.
Benefit Of Hegerows
Hedgerows are known to have numerous ecological and agricultural benefits including: reducing wind impacts like soil erosion, creating better conditions for crop growth, wildlife gains (habitat for beneficials and biodiversity), increased plant biodiversity , calming and safety for livestock, improved rainwater infiltration and retention which can also help to mitigate oversaturation of soil in crop fields, increase carbon storage, and weed suppression. They can also increae the aesthetic beauty of an area and function as a cash crop for an additional source of income.
Factors To Consider
Some factors to consider when putting in a hedgerow include:
- Mature height and width
- Native plants can be preferred by pollinators
- Maintenance requirements
- Time spent researching
- Deer or other animals that may negatively impact a young hedgerow
Why We Planted A Hedgerow
The key challenges that we are hoping to address through our hedgerow are the flooding and high water table in that area during the wet months, the harsher drier conditions during the summer, and the stress to our livestock and unsafe situations caused by speeding traffic and sone visitors to our agricultural community who don’t realize the potential harm of their actions.
We also expect to benefit both wildlife and our farm through the increase of pollinators near our cut flower fields, wildlife habitat, increase songbirds, and visual beauty.
How We Chose Our Species
Given that the area we built the hedgerow is a production area for our farm, one of our key considerations was overall mature height of the species that would make up our hedgerow. While we did want to focus on species native to our area of coastal BC, we also wanted to ensure that trees would not get too tall and shade our pasture and flower fields.
We are in the Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone of British Columbia, with a temperate rainforest ecoysystem that experiences a high volume of rain.We needed to chose species that could handle the location and water table considerations. We focused on trees and shrubs with the idea that perennials will come in naturally with time. We chose lots of flower and fruiting species in order to benefit pollinators and wildlife, and of course we chose a blend of species for the seasonal beauty they will bring through spring, summer, fall, and winter.
NATIVE BC SPECIES
Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)
Black Hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii)
Pacific Crabapple (Malus fusca)
Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformis)
Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Hardhack (Spirea douglasii)
Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana)
Snowberry (Symphoricarpus albus)
Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii)
Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus)
Steeplechase Cedar (Thuja sp.)
Juliet Cherry (Prunus Juliet)
Romeo Cherry (Prunus Romeo)
Hakuro-Nishiki Willow (Salix sp.)
We worked with Linnaea Nurseries, Ltd to select our hedgerow ingredients and we thank the owner, John, for sharing his expertise. We woud also like to thank Langley Sustainable Agriculture Foundation for selecting us to be grant recipients for this project.
Centre for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems. 2020. Hedgerows and Pollinator Habitat. https://www.csuchico.edu/regenerativeagriculture/ra101-section/hedgerows.shtml#:~:text=Hedgerows%20are%20plantings%20of%20dense,storage%20in%20biomass%20and%20soils.
Thiel, B., C. Terpsma, M. Krzic and S.M. Smukler. Farmland Hedgerows:
Hedgerow Benefits & the Delta, BC Hedgerow Project. https://lfs-sal.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2013/01/Brief1-FINAL.pdf.