Living Fence - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-30-2016, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Living Fence

I am preparing my Minnesota farm for a pair of Shire's and am curious if anyone has any experience with using a living fence, specifically lilacs, for pasturing? Any input or suggestions are appreciated!

- Kristian
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-30-2016, 04:10 PM
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We call 'living fences' hedges in the UK
I wouldn't use lilac for horses especially shires, its not going to keep them in unless you put a fence around it and its going to be no barrier at all in the winter when it sheds
Hawthorn is probably the most traditional hedge for livestock
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-30-2016, 11:15 PM
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Shires are awesome, so I applaud you on that. Definitely wouldn't recommend living fences, though I can't boast personal experience. As the previous poster wrote, you will have virtually no barrier in the winter when it sheds. A shire can push/eat its way past the bushes no problem, and if even one bush dies without you noticing, you have a convenient little escape hole in your fence. Sure, they're attractive, but save yourself the headache. Best of luck!
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-01-2016, 01:51 AM
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It is possible to plant a hedge and put an electric wire along on the paddock side to keep the stock from eating too much of it or from walking through it if it is sparse in places.
If you are planting lilac, you will need the electric wire a bit back from the plants as the horses will lean over and keep it well the ground if you are not careful!
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-01-2016, 08:22 AM
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I would never think of using lilac!

As Jaydee said hedges are the norm in the UK amd the usual is to have hawthorn and blackthorn, very prickly all year though they are deciduous. To keep stock in it needs to be at least four feet thick which takes a while for it to grow and thicken up. It also needs cutting top and sides to keep it thick rather than growing into trees.

Nowadays many farmers are having hedges cut and laid which involves cutting three quarters through the trunk of the mature plant and laying it along the fence line. This keeps it as a far better barrier.

All this takes time and any stock has to be kept off it or they will eat the young plants.
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-01-2016, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the feedback!

NO lilacs, no problem! I will save them for closer to the house, I guess, and not for the horses.

I have a few more years before retirement so I will have time to grow an appropriate hedge, if I can from younger plants. Appropriate dimensions sound like they should be at least 4' thick, so, I'll go for 6' just to be on the safe side, and 6' high as well. Any other suggestions are welcome!
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-01-2016, 05:38 PM
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If you have the time, one of the best and safest fences was when three feet in width of hedge plants were put in and then on either side of this new hedge ash tree saplings were planted about 6' apart. After about eight years every other one ofthe trees were half cut through about three feet up and woven through those to the side of it. The cut is made way from the side it is being bent to.

After a while they had a woven fence with the hedge growing in the centre.
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fencing , new animal , shire

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