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Live Fencing

Live Fencing

Fences are built to define the boundary of farm and also to protect from wild animals, thieves ravaging the farm. There are various choices for building fences some people collect random stones lying in and around empty space and build and some use wire barbs with current flowing thru but this can be hazardous as it can kill… Some build solid wall.. the cheapest and eco-friendly are live fences where we plant one or few rows of plants and trees… Live Fences invite many beneficial insects ,birds and animals that help farmers in long term viz 

Bees - We need to have Bees for pollination and hence we need to attract the Bees to our farm. For this, we need to have flowering plants all through the season and if we plant the flowering plants in our fences, it serves both as food for Bees and also look pleasing to the eyes and enhances the aesthetics of the farm.

Birds - We need to have Birds for limiting/removing the worms in our farm and also the excreta dropped by them acts as a good manure and enriches the soil. For this, we need to have Singapore Cherry and other fruit trees in our fences that birds eat and survive. Birds build their nest generally in a multi- branch tree or shrub and hence it is important to have those plants and shrubs in our fences.

Owls - Owls generaly live in dead trees and hence we should not cut down dead trees. Rather we should allow the Owls to take shelter in them as they are good at limiting the rate menace.

InvitesBats - We need to have plants (to be updated later) in our fences so that the Bats can take shelter in them and their droppings are very good for our soil and also they good at limiting the rat menace.

Others - Rat Snakes, Foxes, Spiders and other animals may take refuge in our fences. We should welcome them rather than being afraid of them. These animals eat rats, insects and hence limit the damage to our crops.

Water - Water is required for all the bees, birds and other animals. We need to have multiple water points near our fences so that they can quench their thirst. This water needs to be made freshly available every couple of days.

Benefits of Live Fences
The following are some of the reasons to go for Live / Natural Fencing:-

Minimizes Monetary 

Loss due to stray cattle and humans

Increases Soil Fertility
The different parts of the crops like leaves, branches, fruits, flowers etc fall into the soil automatically due to the various climatic conditions and this increases the soil fertility. We need to ensure that the crops are able to survive in the first few years and thereafter the crops can sustain and grow by itself.

Increases Water Retention
Even though it is true that every plant in our farm will help retain the water and improve the water table, the different crops in the Fence will further allow the roots deep into the soil and help the water to reach the bottom rather than leave the farm altogether.

Acts as Windbreakers / Shelter Belts 
Plant the trees in a V Model to ensure the wind is not allowed to travel very fast in the same direction and hence scatter the wind and reduce the speed of the wind as well

Increases Bio-Diversity
Bio-Diversity here means both in terms of crops as well as animals, birds etc. By planting different crops, we can ensure that different birds, bees, reptiles etc can take shelter in these areas. This will help us to maintain the pests at a reasonable level and as well reduce the need to go for pesticides.

Increases Monetary Benefit in the long run
While fences are built for a different reason, we can use it for a different crop which is different from core crop and also can benefit out of them. By doing this, we can get rarely used food as a by-product and also monetize them without extra effort, soil improves and this greatly benefits main crops. Like planting thorny yet fruit bearing plants like Indian jujube (Ber, ilandai, regu, baare hannu) , Crane berry (vakkai, kowli hannu karonda) etc …

Minimal Expenses
Generally, the other fencing options need more money when compared to Live/Natural fence.By only going for seeds, cuttings, saplings etc we can greatly reduce the expenses incurred for this activity.

We have to be clear about the fact that the Live/Natural fence will take at least 3 years to be able to provide the kind of stability we are expecting. Once the fences have grown completely and has become mini-forests, human interference or our own cattle should not go near the fences as it will disturb the wild birds, reptiles etc.

The following list of trees can be grown in your fence for attracting birds, bees etc:-

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