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Hedgerows: A Tool For A More Resilient Valley

A photographic journal by Oscar Elias

Looking at California’s Central Valley in the cold and wet winter months, it is easy to forget the dry and arid environment that comes during the summer months. Because of the intense heat and farming practices that cause soil disturbances, the once retained soil becomes dry, easily blown away, and lost as dust. 


We at the University of California Cooperative Extension Fresno have just recently planted a hedgerow in one of our research sites in Parlier, California! Hedgerows are rows of plants, shrubs, or trees usually planted at the perimeter of a plot to surround the crops. Hedgerows have multiple benefits and uses: for example, they can help reduce soil erosion by keeping roots in the ground year-round and providing windbreaks for bare soils.


This season, we were fortunate enough to receive native plants through the Xerces Society - enough to allow us to install three new hedgerows for our research plot of jujube trees!


"Because of the intense heat and farming practices [in California's Central Valley], the once retained soil becomes dry, easily blown away, and lost as dust."
"Hedgerows have multiple benefits and uses: for example, they can help reduce soil erosion by keeping roots in the ground year-round and providing windbreaks for bare soils."

My coworkers and I after bringing the plants out to the field!


A big thank you to the Xerces Society for the native plants!


We started out by first measuring the distance between the rows, then the distance between individual plants within the row.


Top: row distance measurements; bottom: between-plant measuring.


Much of the soil was heavily compacted, so augers and shovels were used to dig the holes for the plants. We are hoping for the hedgerows to help with soil compaction!


The plants were then brought to their new home to await planting.

A young plant ready to find its home in the hedgerow.


"This season, we were fortunate enough to receive native plants through the Xerces Society - enough to allow us to install three new hedgerows for our research plot of jujube trees!"

Home at last!


Drip tubing was then laid down to give the plants the water they need. The plants are now sitting in their new home with ample space to grow and spread out!

Drip tubing installation.


With the planting done, now it is time to let the plants establish in their new home and see how they grow in upcoming seasons!


Many farmers have adopted planting hedgerows in their farms to help with erosion and soil cover.

"[In UCCE Fresno's hedgerow planting, much] of the soil was heavily compacted, so augers and shovels were used to dig the holes for the plants. We are hoping for the hedgerows to help with soil compaction!"

On the other side of the field, we have a hedgerow planted one year ago (above), and another from two years ago (below). It's helpful to imagine how the youngest hedgerow will turn out.


Hedgerows installed in 2022 (top) and 2021 (bottom).

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