Of course, this "easy" hedge has to be protected from weeds, drought, livestock and probably stray butterflies. To this end, I put down a layer of landscape fabric covered in a deep layer of mulch hay.
I used these very dead round bales that have been sitting on the edge of my field for the last 5-6 years,
It was a nasty job, but I got them torn apart and loaded onto the trailer.
At this point, the herd still had access to the entire field. I foolishly thought I could get away with doing this job without their help since they were distracted by hints of green grass. Really, you'd think I'd know better wouldn't you? What was I thinking?
With a whole field to graze and good hay in the barn, this horrible, nasty, moldy junk that was left to rot because it was crappy hay to start with was just irresistible.
So, the next step was to move the loaded trailer back outside of the fence and build a new fence around the whole area to keep nosey noses out of the way. Then, with the help of the Farm Hand, spread the mulch over the fabric.
Once the fabric and mulch were down, I planted the willows. I put them about 30 inches apart because I want a dense growth. They are just little brown twigs and are invisible in the photos but they are there. Unfortunately, I got them planted just in time for a Spring drought and record breaking heat. I have no way of getting water to any of the trees I planted this Spring and many of them have clearly suffered for the two weeks of dry, hot weather we had. We finally did get some rain and things have certainly greened up, but it is too early to tell (I hope) if the willows are going to make it. They don't look so good at the moment. Although I do have a nice pathway to Oz. Or maybe a runway for stray butterflies?
I've done the best I can and I have found that any tree I plant up here on this inhospitable hill either makes it on its own or not at all. Anything that needs a lot of TLC won't survive its first winter anyway so I no longer try. They have to be tough enough to make it on their own. I manage after all so I gave them a lecture about self reliance and have left them to it.
I have several of these willows growing up here that got planted inadvertently as little bits of shrub that came home on my horse's feet. Of course, those are growing in the worst possible places and I need to dig them out. Hopefully, the ones I actually intended to plant will be just as tough.
As long as I can keep the livestock away from them, I like to think they have a chance. I'll post updates now and then.