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Old 08-24-2009, 11:36 PM
hbillyjim hbillyjim is offline
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Years ago, I remember reading an article about a thorny shrub that was (and maybe still is) used as a thorny fence row on farms in England. They claimed that after it was started it would grow quite high and only needed a bit of trimming in the late spring to work the new branches into the barrier itself. They used it for almost all the full fence needs and noted it was very good for hogs and horses as it would grow tall and had the branches all the way to ground level. The men who tended the shrubs had to use a thick leather padded glove in the spring for all the maintenance or risk serious cuts. As it was a living plant there wasn't a big problem with annual upkeep and it was a great place for small animals and birds to nest and live.

If I could learn the name of this shrub, I'd like to plant some on a fence line and not bother with it too much as it would seem a nice defensive plant and maybe a few around the house, around the window area might be a good location for this plant.

Anyone know which plant it is? While I recall a lot about it, I haven't been able to locate it yet. Or do you have an alternative?
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:15 AM
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I've heard of people growing blackberry bushes on trellises. After 3 years or so it's a pretty sturdy barrier, and there's the added benefit of being able to make loads of blackberry jam. Might not be what you had in mind, but it's what all the farmers used to use around my uncle's old house.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:23 AM
hbillyjim hbillyjim is offline
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Around the house that sounds good. But this shrub was also used as regular fence for animals.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:38 AM
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I believe the plant the OP is referring to is the Hawthorn. Wiki didn't specifically mention that it was used in the UK, but it is used extensively throughout Europe as a hedge plant and it does have thorny branches and trunk.

I'll keep looking to see if I come across another similar plant, but hawthorn was the first one which came to mind.

Incidentally, if one is planning on building a barrier hedge, perhaps a Devon hedge would be appropriate. It is basically an earth embankment faced with either turf or stone, topped with shrubs.

-Cheers
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:44 AM
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Yep we have a very nice Blackberry bush we are training along our fence. Any poor fellow trying to get over the fence will probably land on that or deep water. LOL!
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:39 AM
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I thought of the hawthorn too. But what I found on them seem to state they were more tree than shrub. The basic difference as I understand it is a shrub will have branches all the way to gound level with an overall growth per year whereas a tree will develop a trunk to grow upwards.

If this type of a barrier would grow it should be really effective.
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Old 08-25-2009, 05:58 AM
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My understanding of the hawthorn is that is a sort of dense shrub or tree that can grow between ~15 - 45 ft in height. As I understand it, when using hawthorn to make a hedge half of each of the upwards growing branches and shoots are cutoff, and the remaining half is the pliable enough to bend. This is done is such a way so that the hedge 'plumps out' as it were, instead of just having the plants grow straight up. What might be worthwhile is doing searches on hedge laying, as that is what it is called. There are apparently a few UK sites on the topic, as there is also different methods as well as a certain level of knowledge (like how thick a cut to make, yet leave a plant alive and viable) required.

-Cheers
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:38 AM
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At my BOL we've planted Pyracantha or "Firethorn" around the perimeter, I call it natures barb wire. It's nasty stuff, and to a lot of people getting stuck by one is like being stung by a bee.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:47 AM
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Buckthorn was the tree that was brought over from Europe to America to be used as fence rows. They are not as good as multi-floral rose bushes though. When they get old enough they are like living razor wire. One of my hounds got caught in one and I had to cut the bush to get her out. I had to give her 11 stitches across her chest where she tried to push through. I do believe multi-floral roses are from Europe too.
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Old 08-25-2009, 10:57 AM
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LOTS OF GREAT INFORMATION IN THIS THREAD KF
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:00 AM
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I believe you are thinking of multiflora rose. It was planted in the midwestern United States in the 50's and 60's as fence rows. It is loaded with sharp crooked thorns and grew quickly, so soon, no fence was needed to keep livestock in.

The problem with it was that it soon spread all over the countryside and is difficult to kill.

Google multiflora rose and you will find plenty of pictures and information on it.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:25 PM
hbillyjim hbillyjim is offline
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I'm sure it wasn't a rose as we had those on our place. I'll look into that buckthorn and Pyracantha or "Firethorn" as a plant though. Thanks for all the replies so far.
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Old 08-25-2009, 05:39 PM
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It doesn't look like a rose. Here is a picture of it:
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:14 PM
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Poncirus...

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Old 08-25-2009, 11:04 PM
hbillyjim hbillyjim is offline
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So far the one most similar to what I remember is Common Hawthorn.
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:20 PM
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Osage Orange has a long history of being used as a barrier. Is also ideal for fenceposts and was sought after by Native Americans for bows. I believe it also grows in Europe. As a kid, I ate the fruit and got sick. No, it is not an "orange tree" in the usual sense. The wood is incredibly hard and the barrier it forms is solid.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:09 AM
S.O. Backwoodsman S.O. Backwoodsman is offline
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I think osage orange is the same or very close to what we call hedge apple or ironwood around hear. Honey locust and hedge are murder on truck tires.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:10 AM
S.O. Backwoodsman S.O. Backwoodsman is offline
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Here, I had to correct that last post. Looks like I have been around "hear" too long.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:26 AM
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I have a blackberry bush and a holly bush which I also think act as a good fence and possible burgular deterrant.Though you do have to control the blackberry bush in particular,one minute it looks fine,the next its taken over your garden
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:30 AM
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Definitely Hawthorne. I have them growing up the entire length of the west side of my property. They are the nastiest trees going. The spikes on them are about 2-3 inches long, razor sharp and do not snap off easily, except when you try to pull one out. They are barbed. When you get stuck and try to pull one out, a 1/8 inch invariably breaks off the tip and stays in ya. It then gets infected. The entire bush/ tree is covered in these thorns- trunk, big branches, little branches. everything. I hate the [email protected]#$ things, but they provide the best security fence going. Two other things about the trees: the berries are used in jellies and herbal remedies, and the wood is excellent stovewood. Burnsclean and hot, beautiful coal bed. You have to be very careful working around them. I've had spikes go thru the bottom of my sneakers into my foot on a few occasions, and even leather gloves won't stop them. All in all, a real bugger of a plant, but I love having them as a natural security fence.
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