cleaning fence rows.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by marvella, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    before the advent of chemical herbicides, how did farmers keep their fence rows clean?

    my son wants me to call the co-op to have them come out and spray my fence rows, like all my neighbors. i really don't want to do that, because of all the really cool "weeds" that don't grow anywhere else except in rocky fence rows. i like the creepy crawly and chirping things too. call me silly, but's it's one main reason i live where i do.

    anyway, i've been clearing them by hand, and as you can imagine, it is a tedious, ongoing, time consuming job. i got to wondering if there is an easier way to do it?

    anyone know what the old timers did??
     
  2. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

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    You are right on the money that cultivating the life that lives in the hedgerow and along the fences is a smart idea. For details see Gene Logsdon's books(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...104-1784027-1399964?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)

    or some of Joel Salatin's stuff.

    Killing the weeds will also kill the worms, bugs and birds that would lower the parasite populations, if you keep cows.

    By the way, a few goats will work wonders on the fences because they are browers, not graizers.
     

  3. dlangland

    dlangland dlangland

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  4. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    We didn't clear ours this year- I'm like you, too many good plants growing there (in our case, our bees forage on them). But, next year I am putting my goats to work on the fencerows.
     
  5. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    DON'T clear the fence row what about the Rabbits the Quail and other wild life????????
     
  6. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    Good advice James, but we have 80 acres and 2 little goats- I think the birds and rabbits are safe, lol. I just want to keep all the really brushy stuff from getting too established, grass and weeds are fine.
     
  7. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    well, i DO keep goats, but this stuff is growing on the outside of the fence, and also between the hot wire and woven wire, places they either can't get to, or i don't want them.

    i suppose i could turn the fence off for a day, and let them have at it. :help:
     
  8. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    oh believe me, this whole area is a jungle- they've got plenty of room. besides, the overgrowth is shorting out my electric fence.

     
  9. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge Well-Known Member

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  10. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    The old way was to burn the weeds and grass off. Try to do it when the birds/rabbits etc aren't nesting.
     
  11. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    aha!! now there's an idea. i forgot i already have one of those propane torch attachments. used to use it to ignite burn piles

    bet that will work!! thanks!!!

    ;) it's a constant battle around here to keep living things alive. the county was really slack this year about roadside mowing, so of course i'm not about to cut it down. there is a real weedy patch at the end of the driveway, and about a week before the mowers showed up there was the most amazing number and variety of butterflies hatched out of there! maybe i should put this chore off until after killing frost.


    thanks all y'all!! :cowboy:
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You folks do know you must control your noxious weeds, don't you? r, you become a seed farm for them, and contribute to other farmers having to spay more & more to control what you are releasing into the environment.

    I'd do a hand/ spot spray on those nasty broadleaves. About 2 years of being real uptight about it & 90% of the problem will go away.

    Roundup (glysophate) will kill anything - but then, it allows anything to grow back, so it creates it's own problem. Now you have bad weeds resprouting every year on the bare patch....

    You can carefully hit just the broadleafes with RU - but that is a big task on 80 acres....

    3,4D is cheap, but will only knock down the broadleaves - doesn't eliminate them. You'll be at that for years....

    Some better products are Clairity or Banvil (dicomba) mixed with some sticky oil, will really knock these things down. There are others. Some of the brush killers are just high-priced mixes of the above active ingredients.

    For thistles there are some very good specialty products, Hidep is ok, Stinger works real well - need to hit the thistles at the right time, and they disappear. These will get most other broadleaves as well, but are a bit spendier to get the thistles.

    The goal is to get rid of the broadleaves, but let the grasses grow. This keeps your cover if you love wildlife, but eliminates the weed & fence shorting issues.

    In 2-3 years, you will have things in good shape. First year really knocks everything down, but the tough ones will try to come back, and bigger shrub stuff is hard to knock down. Hit them again the 2nd year, maybe early & late - and that should do it for a few years again, maybe only a little quick work each year after that.

    --->Paul
     
  13. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    rambler- thanks for the advice, but you may have missed my point. :baby04:

    to me, there is no such thing as a noxious weed. every bit of it is either food or medicine, for someone or something. i'm glad it reseeds it self. :dance:
     
  14. palani

    palani Well-Known Member

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    We had some real nice wild roses growing along our fencerow until the neighbor decided to spray.
     
  15. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ok - this is one of those topics that turns into a 'big farmer' against the 'new hobby farmer on 10 acres that moves in' type of deal......

    So, let me assure you that I'm just chatting with you, and don't mean anything bad. Just trying to explain the 'other side' a little bit. Ok? :) I'm a little bitty farmer, I only have 10-15% as many acres as average around 'here', and newest real tractor is a 1977 model. I'm actually picking corn with a corn picker today, & use clover & alfalfa for a plowdown, soil building. So I'm not some big huge farmer.....

    And yes, I'm bringing up a bunch of social issues, who has rights, yadda yadda...... I know, people feel different on some of this stuff. That's ok.

    There are laws in most states about controling noxious weeds. You really do have to do this. It is the law. People get written up on it all the time. Someone farms near you, with pretty clean fields, and your thistles, cockleburr, ragweed, milk weed, nightshade, and other weeds blow & get carried into his fields. That really messes him up. Now he has to work hard again to spray all that junk out. If I were him, I'd sure turn you in....

    It's like a mumps or small-pox or polio vaccine - shame on you if you are the carrier for it, and keep spreading it to generations & cause millions to have an outbreak of it again because you were 'too good' to bother vaccinating.

    That is being a poor neighbor.

    So, control your noxious weeds, Fine if you love them - just keep them the heck off the neighbor's property.

    It's the law.

    I think you missed my point? :) Letting those weeds grow - if they are noxious - is being a really bad neighbor. Shame on people who do that. It creates bad feelings between people in the same neighborhood. How many times have we seen questions on here about spray drift from a farmer coming onto a 5 or 10 acre hobby farm? Well, here we are - the shoe is on the other foot now. If you don't have to follow the law - then why should farming neighbors? Good for the goose, good for the gander.

    Now, see, those are pretty harsh & strong comments. :) Don't mean anything at all by them - not at all. My point is, see how people with different lifestyles in the same neighborhood can get on the wrong side of each other? Without even realizing it? We gotta think about others, not just ourselves.

    And if we do, we will realize there _are_ noxious weeds. Period. :) There is no other way to look at it - you don't have a point on _noxious_ weeds. They are a bad thing - a really bad thing. Look up the list for your state, & realize most are invasive, non-native, etc.

    Good luck with the weeds, that is a lot of fence line to control & get control of. In the old days, families were 5-16 children, and they were told to take care of it. You likely don't have as big a free labor force. :D

    If you can get the bad weeds to go away for 2 years without harming the grass - you have it pretty easy after that. Doesn't make those 2 years any easier tho!

    --->Paul
     
  16. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    round here the farmers used a sythe to keep the unwanted plants at bay. did not use fire as the dividing fences were(are) log rail (on our farm at least). herbicides can be used as a tool again weeds but like rambler we spot spray and then only nasties like thistle,snakeweed,stnging nettle and loose strife. the rest we let go and the sheep nibble on some and the horses on others. contray to common knowledge round up does not kill all the first go and must be applied at the right stage of plant growth to get most of the weed .then kept up. but other than those our fence rows and ditch banks grow up with lots of trees and plants in contrast to some of our neighbours (they have weeds too,lots and lots of very nasty weeds !! though canot recall the name look like mini sunflowers on a 12 foot stalk,one the first year the next the filed is covered and no spray!!) you keep fighting :viking: marvella more reason to hand weed than spray! as to the couty mowing :bash: block head mowing late knocked out half the street signs and the posts marking the culverts!! :stars:
     
  17. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    ---->paul- i can appreciate your comments. however, that is not the situation at all where i am living. here in the appalachians we take pride in our independence, and are perfectly willing to let a man do exactly as he pleases on his own land. besides, my neighbors granny is probably the one who pointed out the usefullness of these plants in the first place.

    how 'bout you and i agree to that as well? you tend your farm, and i'll tend mine, ok?


    fordy-- stinging nettle is an excellent herbal remedy. and yep, the county mower guy took out a couple of rows of fencing while he was at it, even tho they were clearly marked with flags.

    you should see the display of wild daylilies i get in spring!!! now, along with purple and white asters, are ironweed and joe pye weed. it's glorious!!!! no roundup = lots of katydids, spring peepers and other frogs too, to sing me to sleep!!
     
  18. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    Paul, you are right about the weed laws, but we have an organic farm and don't spray anything- our next door neighbors are also organic farmers and they do not spray either. The 80 acres across the road from us is vacant- the elderly owners are in a nursing home, no one sprays their weeds either. We do have a weed officer here in our county, but we have never seen or heard from him.

    I don't want to cause problems for my neighbors, and there's no point in our being organic and not spraying if our weed seeds migrate to the neighbor's farm and HE has to spray twice as much as a result, not sure what the answer is to that. Well, our fields are either in hay or planted to small grain crops, so I guess it's just the fencerows we need to worry about. My plan is to set up temporary electric fencning in areas where it is practical to do so, and where it is not, to use a running tether to keep the goats in a small area.

    If that doesn't work I guess we'll have to rely on the DR trimmer. I just hate to "waste" all those good weeds.
     
  19. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use a scythe. A scythe will outlive you. Got ours from www.scythesupply.com Complete instructions and the do-hickey for keeping it sharp.

    You could also use a weed wacker, but it won't outlive you. Grape vines growing along a rail fence would be attractive, or roses. These, you wouldn't have to upkeep much except for the occassional drastic pruning. And you can make wine or jelly from the grapes.
     
  20. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    only reason we take out the nettle and snake weed is some of our lambs munched on it . the nettle mouth ones were in pain for long time and we lost some , there is on conservation area near us and lots of nettle and other weeds growing there. lilys we have spread along our side road behind poles and obstructions,living in an orange area the mower operator leaves the lilys grow!! don't want a Shalalee up along side his head! :viking: (should be a lepricaun!).