Conservation Corner

Nov 20

[ARCHIVED] November Hedgerow Workshop

The original item was published from November 20, 2023 3:06 PM to November 21, 2023 9:16 AM

On November 11th, 35 Pierce County Residents including local farmers, people from NCRS (Natural Resources Conservation Services), community members, and some moral support dogs attended a hedgerow planting at Helsing Junction. Though the day was rainy and muddy, that didn't stop everyone's hard work or the positive atmosphere. At the end of the day's work, the entire 500 ft strip was filled with beautiful native plants! As if it wanted to reward everyone's success, the sun even poked through the clouds towards the end.

People work on planting at the hedgerow strip, while a dog sits looking outwards to the sideWhile people work on the hedgerow strip, a good dog sits on guard

This project was a collaborative effort between Pierce and Thurston Conservation District, Native Plant Salvage, Xerces Society, and the WSU Puyallup Extension Center. The Xerces Society is a national invertebrate conservation organization based in Portland that was founded back in the 70s. They are named after the Xerces blue butterfly that used to inhabit the dunes of the California Bay area prior to going extinct due to habitat loss. Corin Pease from the Xerces Society came all the way up from Portland just to join us on the 11th for this important work! 

Farmers Angie and Jess explained that one of the goals for this project was to create a windbreak for nearby crops. Additionally, the hedgerow would serve as a habitat for pollinators, providing flowering plants, nesting and overwintering sites. Pollinators aren't the only creatures that would benefit from this installation! Beneficial insects such as predators and parasites of pesky crop pests could also flourish in the hedgerow habitat. The project was planned and completed using a WSU extension hedgerow template and the SARE template for herbaceous perennials. More hedgerow templates are currently being developed including native plants for wet soil, for flower farmers, and dual purpose harvestable hedgerows.

This project's work started back in August of this year with preparation work like disking and landscape fabric laying. By the end of this workshop, the hedgerow strip was filled with 919 shrubs and 1040 forbs and grasses, which included tall Oregon grape, nootka rose, snowberry, yarrow, Douglas aster, blue wild rye, roemers fescue, and more. Once everything was in the ground, volunteers mulched the strip. Thanks to these volunteers' efforts, Helsing Junction Farm has a new hedgerow strip that will improve the quality of life for flora and fauna alike!

A picture of the strip of dirt before and after the hedgerow native plant plantings

"Hedgerow project"? More like "Hedgewow project"! Check out these results.