Building
the Osage..

Staves and
Billets

An Osage Orange Corner
post of about 8 inches in
diameter that has been in
the ground for over 20
years.
Thorns on an
Osage Orange
limb.Ouch!
We also call the Osage Orange a
"Hedge" tree.These are Hedge
apples.Deer and squirrel eat on
these.They get about 6 to 8
inches in diameter.
Mr.Hedgeapple
Hedge Apple
MARCH 2000
There was once estimated to be over 250,000 miles of Osage
Orange hedge rows such as this.Many are long gone as they
are easy places to cut the Osage for fence posts and the
farmer no longer needs them to contain his livestock.
Osage Orange seed was once priced at 50 dollars
a bushel in 1850 as settlers moved west.This is SE
Iowa hedge.
No other wood played such an important part in the early movement
west of the settlers as the Osage Orange.It provided the necessary
means to divide land and contain livestock.As it grew the branches
were intertwined to make the hedge almost impenetrable by animals
as well as man.The thorns were also very good help for this as was
the quick growth.

Al Herrin publishes the White Bear Newsletter.James
has subscribed to this for sometime.It has bits of
information that blend very well with the Longbow
Hunter.
His "Cherokee Bows and Arrows" should be read by
every person who wants to make their own bow.This
Signed book can ordered from me at 319 835 5892.This
book will interest you enough to read it twice or more.

click here
The Hedgeapple...
You can cut the hedgeapple up very nicely with a common fine tooth Hacksaw
as shown.Pick them or buy them in October and November and they will be
full of the milk that insects really don't like.Place the wedges on something
and then place them around where you want the little creatures to leave.The
Milk is sticky and will feel like alum on you skin but it washes off quickly.

"Planting the Osage" by Robert McMuririe comes from a little
booklet put together by James Conrad called "A brief History
of the Bois d'Arc Tree".
A place called Commerce, Texac takes the Osage Orange
Tree serious and has a Bois d'Arc Bash every year that is all
about the history of the this tree.Their web site is listed at
osageorange.
Growing Bois d'Arc Fences

By Robert C. McMurtrie


Raising Plants. - The seed can generally be purchased of any
seedsman. I soaked the seeds in water for forty-eight hours
before planting. When treated thus they sprouted almost as
freely as could be desired. Those not soaked came up
sparsely and very badly.

The ground was prepared as for ordinary garden seeds. The
seed was placed in rows, about one foot apart and about one
inch deep. I kept the plants carefully weeded from their first
appearance till the autumn. The result has been that plants
raised one spring are fit for setting out as hedges the next
spring.

Preparing ground for the Hedge. - In the autumn the line of
the ground on which the hedge is to stand is dug as a trench,
about eighteen inches wide and one foot deep. The earth is
laid on the side of the trench and the bottom broken with a
pick. In that condition I left it during the winter for the frost
to do its work.

Cultivating or Tilling. - In the spring when the ground is
warm enough to cause the plants to show the first symptoms
of life, by pushing, I put a quantity of the best barnyard
manure in the trench or ditch, and on that placed the loose
earth left lying at the side during the winter. In this ground
the plants were placed. If in two row, eighteen inches apart;
if in one row, nine inches apart. The latter, I am inclined to
think from experience, is the best for every purpose.

The plants thus set out were kept carefully weeded and
cultivated all summer. They sprouted slowly and very
irregularly. But these were plants purchased. Those I grew
were much quicker and more uniform. By the end of July
nearly every plant was growing. In one instance, by count, I
found two out of two hundred and eighty failed.

Subsequent Treatment. - In the autumn, the plants treated as
above stated had grown, in single stems, from three to six
feet high, depending on the earlier or later start. The stems
were quite thick.

These I laid down without cutting, nicking or breaking, by
simply bending them nearly flat to the ground and weaving
them as one would osiers in wicker work. There is little
elasticity but great toughness in the wood, and the thorns
secure them in place, when bent and woven, without tying or
any other sort of fastening.

The next year the hedge started with an average height of six
inches from the ground, or the stems thus lying laterally
along the ground. The leaf buds sent up shoots similar to
those of the first year, but thicker and higher; many grew
eight feet. The ground was cultivated with a hoe and
weeded. In the autumn these stems were again laid down,
without nicking, breaking or cutting. This made a hedge of
lateral stems about eighteen inches from the ground.

The next summer the shoots grew, the upright ones much
more vigorously than the laterals. When the upright shoots
reached three feet or more I cut the tops with a sickle at the
height I determined. This was repeated at intervals,
whenever there were a few inches above the line determined,
from time to time, as the height of the hedge. This permitted
the shorter and weaker stems to grow without checking till
they reached the proper line.

The result was, that in the third summer from setting out the
plants there was a good hedge, sufficient to turn ordinary
cattle, as it seemed. Certainly in all subsequent years it was
impervious to man or beast. And it had a foundation as firm
as a fence.
osagebow@iowatelecom.net
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