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Productive Hedgerows & Windbreaks

Productive Hedgerows & Windbreaks

This year at the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s 39th Summer Conference, Keith Zaltzberg presented on ways to create agriculturally productive hedgerows and windbreaks in northern climates.

What is a Hedgerow

Hedgerows are living fences designed to separate or protect one element in the landscape from another.  These lines of plants might keep the cows out of the corn, shelter the cows themselves from cold winter winds, or even protect the neighbors from the pastoral perfume of a farm’s bovine inhabitants.

Usually planted of woody species, hedgerows can be categorized into four functional groups:

  1. Screens for privacy and separation of uses
  2. Laid Hedges fro livestock fencing and crop protection
  3. Windbreaks and shelter belts
  4. Riparian hedges and waterbreaks for stream bank stabilization

Pages from Hedgerows-Windbreaks 2014KZ_Page_4These patterns can be woven into the fabric of most farms and homesteads to reduce stress on crops and livestock, limit soil erosion, attract pollinators and improve working conditions. With some creative thinking and use of permaculture principles, the primary function of these plantings can be enhanced to generate an agricultural yield, increase soil carbon (fertility) and create habitat for wild animals and plants.

Click here to view an introductory presentation on productive hedgerows drawing on examples from Regenerative Design Group’s experience throughout the Northeast and the work of the National Agroforestry Center.

Here are a few resources on design theory, establishment strategies, and management practices for those of you who want to learn more.

RDG has helped clients throughout the Northeast implement productive, multi-functional hedgerows and windbreaks.  If you need advice or design support with your project, contact us anytime to speak with one of our staff.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. Your site is wonderful!!! I would like to use a couple of your pictures for a program for the University of Wyoming Extension on Permaculture and Pollinators. I would make sure you are credited.

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