Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A San Joaquin Valley Hedgerow Creates a ‘Natural Insectary’

Heading down a dirt road west of Interstate 5, you pass rows and rows of almond trees and a small plot of cotton.

Suddenly, you come upon an oasis-like stand of lush vegetation in the midst of dry, open fields. There’s no creek nearby – but rather some black drip tape.

Dr. Pete Goodell says hedgerows are complex habitats.
Welcome to what is the southern-most perennial hedgerow in California’s Central Valley. Tended by the owners of Windfall Farms, the hedgerow is a half-mile long and is located on the western end of Fresno County.

Grower Mark Fickett describes the benefits of hedgerows.
What are hedgerows? They are rows of trees, shrubs and perennial grasses that surround farm fields. Their benefits include air and water quality protection, weed control, protection against soil erosion, increased biodiversity and beneficial insect activity. Hedgerows provide shelter and nectar for insects, mammals and birds.

“It is a very fascinating, complicated thing,” Dr. Pete Goodell told a gathering during the recent Cotton Tour sponsored by the Sustainable Cotton Project. By providing a haven for pests, the bad bugs “don’t bother the crops nearby,” he added while surveying the row of native plants, including California lilac, sugar bush, valley oak, coyote bush and coffee berry.

Hedgerows are more common on farms in the Sacramento Valley, Central Coast and Bay Area. Experts say more research is needed to prove the absolute benefits of hedgerows. 

However, a University of California study in 2011 found hedgerows attracted more beneficial insects than pests and suggested growers replace weedy areas at the crop field edges. The idea is to enhance natural pest management and reduce the need for pesticides.
Getting a shot of bugs found at the hedgerow.

“The idea is to have a natural insectary,” Mark Fickett of Windfall Farms told the tour group. “It can reduce the amount of chemicals we use on a given crop>” Plus, it’s aesthetically pleasing.

Indeed, neighbors and farm employees will stop by to enjoy the greenery amid the bare landscape. Fickett and business partner Frank Williams are constantly adding plants to the hedgerow. “We are always looking for things to plant here. It keeps evolving and being more diverse all the time."

“Are there any plants that you don’t want?” one tour participant asked.

“Weeds and morning glory,” Mark replied quickly. He then pointed his foot toward the unwanted plant, adding “they are an invasive plant.”

Another asked why more local growers aren’t planting perennial hedgerows.

Mark paused and then said, “Maybe people aren’t thinking about it. Farmers here aren’t thinking about it. Farmers usually need to be exposed to the concept.” He then added, “We always tell people about what it means to us. It’s a good thing.”

Well, someday neighbors may follow his lead.


  1. خدمات نقل الاثاث متعددة لدينا حيث يوجد لدينا خبرة في كيفية التعامل مع العملاء في تنفيذ اعمال فلدينا مدينة مكة افضل شركة نقل اثاث بمكة التي تتميز بالدقة في تنفيذ اعمال وتوصيل الاثاث من الباب لاننا نمتلك عمال متميزون في شركة نقل عفش بمكة فعليكم التواصل معنا من اجل الاستفادة من الخدمات التي نقدمها كل هذا ايضا تلاقه في مدينة الدمام من خلال التواصل مع شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام التي تمتلك فنين متميزين في اعمال الفك والتركيب كما لديها اسطول سيارات مجهز يساعدها علي الوصول الي منزلك الجديد فكل شئ يكون جاهز مع شركة نقل عفش بالدمام التي اثبتت انها نقل شركة لديها خبرة كبيرة في مجال نقل الاثاث
    كما يوجد لدينا خبرة في خدمات نقل الاثاث بجدة من خلال

    شركة نقل اثاث بجدة

    شركة نقل عفش بجدة