Osage Orange Hedge
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Reva Marin
Posted on: November 15, 1998

Before I order I need to ask you some questions about growing a hedge. You list osage-orange in your catalogue as being a good hedge plant ("hardy in southwestern Ontario...")

Here are my questions:

1) I couldn’t find osage-orange in my plant encyclopedia: could you give me a brief description of it, how tall it grows, soil requirements, etc.?

Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) is a small deciduous tree native to Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. It has been planted throughout the United States, from the New England states, to Michigan, to Washington and Oregon. It will grow up to 10 meters (30 feet) high, but it can be pruned as a hedge.

It has leaves 10 cm (4 in) long 5 cm (2 in) wide. The stems have thorns 15 mm (1/2 in) long. It produces a large orane-like green fruit (inedible).

Southwestern Ontario is the northern limit of its hardiness range, approximately zone 6.

2) I want to plant the hedge on my front lawn, which has an eastern exposure with very few trees around, so it gets plenty of early-day sun. Would osage-orange do well in that location?

You are located in Toronto which is zone 5 to 6. You may have good success with it, but it would be at its northern limit of hardiness. You may find that most of the plants survive the winter, but one or two might not, which is not acceptable for hedging purposes.

3) What else would you recommend from your catalogue as a good hedge plant?

For high hedges we really do not have anything for the Toronto area. For low hedges, such as what one would plant for knot gardens, there are several possibilities including germander and lavender.

4) Could you be specific about planting distances and final height so I can calculate how many I would need to order?

For osage orange, the spacing is 30 cm (12 in) apart. For the low hedging material, plant 10-15 cm (4-6 in) apart.

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