The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Osage-Orange Hedge, Part 1

Decaying osage orange fruit.A month or two ago, osage-orange fruits started washing up on the ford.  I've always been intrigued by the brain-like fruit, but as far as I know they're not good for anything so I let them wash on by.

But then I saw a blog post by Julie A Carda, reminding me that osage-oranges are also called hedge-apples.  As you'll read in this week's lunchtime series, I have a new bee in my bonnet about hedges, so I immediately set out for the floodplain in search of osage-orange fruits.

Floods had washed the ford bare, but a quick wade downstream through frigid water turned up one osage-orange fruit rotting on a sandbar.  I scooped it up and headed home with my prize.

According to, it's quite easy to turn your osage-orange fruit into a hedge.  Just let the fruits sit in a damp place all winter (my fruit is already well into this stage), mash up the goo in early spring, and spread it into a shallow trench.  The seeds will sprout thickly and turn into a hedge.  Just what I need!  Too bad I was only able to find one fruit.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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They actually sell them up here in MN in the grocery stores to use in your house as a natural insect and spider repellent. Just tuck them somewhere household pets wouldn't be prone to get at them and set them down in a little piece of foil/can-lid/etc...
Comment by Sena Mon Nov 30 12:10:17 2009
I'll have to try that about the hedges sometime! One thing my mom told me was that house spiders don't like them, so if you're ever overrun with house spiders, you can bring an Osage orange into your house and put it in a corner and let it sit there all winter. Supposedly it'll get rid of them. I don't know if it works on insects as well (and I don't even really know about the spiders, but she said it worked on them).
Comment by Sandy Mon Nov 30 12:14:28 2009

An old wives tale is that Osage oranges are good for pest control. I don't know if there is any truth to the matter but every fall I gather some up and put them in the garage and basement and hope for the best.


Comment by Fostermamas Mon Nov 30 12:37:37 2009
I'd read that about Osage-Oranges repelling insects --- from the number of you posting about it, sounds like it must work! I guess they have a use (beyond hedges) after all!
Comment by anna Mon Nov 30 13:17:16 2009

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