The Overstory #32 covered multipurpose boundary planting which are used for wind protection. In this edition of The Overstory, special guest authors Stefan D. Cherry and Erick C.M. Fernandes summarize strategies for boundary plantings that can serve as live fences.
Live fences can be divided into two basic categories; live fence posts and live barriers or hedges. Live fence posts are widely spaced, single lines of woody plants that are regularly pruned back and used instead of metal or wooden posts for supporting barbed wire, bamboo or other materials. Hedges are thicker, more densely spaced fences that generally include a number of different species and usually do not support other fencing materials.
The primary purpose of live fences is to control the movement of animals and people, however, they have proven to be extremely diverse, low risk systems that provide farmers with numerous benefits. Besides their main function living fences can provide fuelwood, fodder and food, act as wind breaks or enrich the soil, depending on the species used.