Living Fence Lines


Costa Rica fence recipe:

Dig hole.

Insert branch.

Repeat as necessary.

Let it rain.

Branches root.

Tree grows.

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Prune as necessary.

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Or not.

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You could write a book about these fences, and fill it with hundreds of photos.


3 responses to “Living Fence Lines

    • Hardly pruning! But the plants have a specific job to do.. To be a fence. Not to be trees! The continual pollarding makes for amazingly shaped growth. It’s not something our USA eyes are used to. But pollarded willows are ubiquitous in Europe…the resprouts are harvested yearly for basket osiers. The Japanese have their heavily pruned “Niwaki”, which is similar, though overlaid with a whole lot more esthetic purpose. See:

  1. Common giant yucca works very nicely as a deer fence. I happened to get mine from work where a client needed a big specimen removed. Canes of any size will grow, but I cut the biggest of mine about eight feet long (including the tips of the foliage). (They fit neatly into a pickup that way.) They got planted with a post hole digger. After getting plugged two feet into the ground, the tallest were nearly six feet tall, with thee feet tall canes in between. They could have been shorter, since they grow rather fast. (If they start out at six feet, the foliage is up a bit higher than it should be, with only foliage of shorter canes down below.) The deer avoid the foliage, as if they perceive it to be the sort that could stab them, such as that of the related Joshua tree. They could easily get through it, but do not even try. If the canes are close enough for the leaves to touch, they keep deer out. The only problem is that the yuccas eventually get too dang big! I prune them down, but the trunks continue to expand. In drier parts of Central America, Yucca valida is more practical as a fence. The leaves are shorter, so the canes must be placed closer together; but the leaves are also stout enough to repel cattle. Fig trees root so easily from cuttings that they work nicely as fences too, but will not keep deer out unless woven into a mesh.

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