Osage-Orange Hedging
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Reva Marin
Posted on: November 18, 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 etc.

If you don’t trim the plant it can grow to 18 by 12 meters in height and width. The branches are usually spiny and the leaves are 7 to 15 centimeters long and 2 to 5 centimeters wide with a pointy tip. It is hardy in zones 5 to 9 and will succeed even on poor soil.

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?

It should do very well.

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

Other shrubs suitable for low or high hedges in zone 5 are: bayberry, Scotch broom(low ), boxwood, devil’s club(very spiny), forsythia, possibly: Siberian ginseng(needs acid woodland soil), hawthorn, juniper (low), English lavender(low), mulberry, golden privet, classic roses, witch-hazel and Chinese wolfberry.

4) Right now there’s only grass on the front lawn. Do you recommend that I prep the lawn in any way if I want to plant the hedge in early spring?

Rototill the lawn in a one meter strip where you want to plant the hedge. Repeat once every two weeks until you are ready to plant the hedge. Working in some well-rotted manure, peat moss or well rotted compost will help get the plants off to a good start.

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

Plant osage orange plants 30 to 50 centimeters apart and start nipping out the top buds right away to encourage bottom branching. The final height is as you choose for this plant - up to a maximum of 18 meters of course!

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