Bio Fencing Plants, Benefits in India – A Full Guide

Introduction to Bio fencing plants in India

Bio fencings are lines of trees planted on-farm and field boundaries that give protection against cattle and wildlife, act as windbreaks, enrich the soil, and control dust. They are less expensive and useful than fences made of wood, barbed wire, or stone masonry. Various species have been tested to discover their suitability for use as bio fencing plant species have been widely used.

A step by step guide to Bio fencing plants

Bio fencings around croplands are not very common due to their large size. However, trees are normally planted around boundaries or bunds to demarcate plots and live fences are normally erected only on the sides of the field touching the road or cattle path. Bio fencings along parks and gardens require having ornamental and aesthetic value, besides protecting the site. Bougainvilla is being hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, colorful, and thorny, makes a good fence.

A guide to Bio fencing plants.
A guide to Bio fencing plants.

Purpose of introducing Bio fencing plants;

The purpose is to,

  • Reduce the man-animal conflict.
  • Bio fencing prevent wild animals from entering residential areas, and
  • Protect crops and livestock in areas adjoining the forests.

Why Bio fencing?

  • Solar-powered wire fencing is effective when local villagers maintain them.
  • Erection of walls in forest areas, building, and repairing them is a costly affair.
  • If local farmers agree to be part of the Bio fencing exercise, and they can earn by growing lemongrass, a good source of oil.
  • Once these Bio fencing plants are in place, the department will string beehives in the next phase to deter elephants.
  • The bio fences serve multiple purposes such as providing fodder, fertilizer, and windbreakers, besides conserving biodiversity and absorbing climate-inducing gases like carbon dioxide.

Benefits of using Bio fencing

According to officials, lemongrass, agave, and certain species of chilly and other plant species have been identified to be grown in areas where wild animals enter residential areas and near forests.

  • Bio fencing plants will be economical and environment-friendly as compared to the other methods.
  • Bio fencing with lemongrass will be done to prevent the entry of elephants as elephants do not like the smell of lemongrass.
  • It will help save the money the government spends on building walls, digging pits, and solar-powered wire fencing.
  • Bio fencing is cheaper than a brick wall.
  • Bio fencing helps maintain soil structure and presents erosion.
  • Bio fencing creates a good microclimate and good for the environment.

Disadvantages of Bio fencing

  • Takes a long time to establish
  • Not very strong
  • Risk of grazing in initial stages
  • Requires more maintenance

List of Bio fencing plants

Following are the top plants that can be used as Bio fencing;

  1. Euphorbia antiquorum (Tridhara)

This is the common spiny succulent shrub grown in India along the fence line of farmlands. Because of its look, this plant is misidentified as a cactus. Once established, this plant makes an impregnable, tall, protective hedge and reaches up to 3 meters high.  It is easy to propagate from seed or vegetative in late spring to summer season,  just take a cutting of the plant to let it dry for 1 or 2 weeks and then stuff it in the ground (preferably dry, loose, and extremely well-draining soil). It is an easy species to grow that is suited for any well-drained soil. This plant grows well when there is a layer of brick and charcoal pieces, on top of which sandy loam soil is spread. It needs no maintenance. But the young plant is happy growing indoors, where they can easily reach the ceiling. Give the plant an airy growing medium that consists of nonorganic material such us clay, pumice, lava grit, and only a little peat or leaf-mold. Water the plant regularly during the active growing season from March to September. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the plant roots. It is grown as an ornamental hedge and as a barrier. The plant is traditionally grown in living fences, it helps to exclude livestock and other animals; mark out land boundaries; whilst providing a range of medicinal and other uses.

  1. Pedilanthus tithymaloides (Devils backbone)

This spineless and often leafless succulent belonging to the spurge family is commonly used as an ornamental hedge. It’s a hardy plant that forms a thick live fence in real quick time. Stem cuttings are planted 10 to 15 cm apart in double rows spaced 15 cm from each other. Pedilanthus tithymaloides are used as an ornamental plant and for making fencing in the garden. Growing the plant is very easy and propagation even simpler. Just cut a 4 to 6-inch section of the stem from this plant. Let the cut end callus for a few days and insert it into a pot filled with perlite. Keep the perlite lightly moist until the stems root. Then repot the new plants in a good houseplant potting soil and care of devil’s backbone babies is the same as the adult plants. This plant produces the best growth with a once per month fertilizer solution diluted by half. Devil’s backbone houseplant does not require to be fed in the dormant seasons of fall and winter. Select a draft-free location in the home when growing Pedilanthus indoors. It doesn’t tolerate cold breezes, which can kill off the tips of the plant growth.

  1. Eastern Redcedar

The dense branches of the eastern red cedar give important refuge and shelter for songbirds and game birds, such as quails, bobwhites, ruffed grouse, pheasants, and turkeys. Butterflies and small mammals benefit from the cover this tree provides. The soft, silvery bark peels off in long, flexible strips which squirrels and small mammals use in their nest materials. Eastern red cedar plant is easily propagated by seed. Birds and small mammals eat the berries and then “disperse” the seeds along fence lines, telephone lines, and other perching sites. Cultivars need to be propagated from stem cuttings to get a clone of the parent plant.

  1. Clerodendrum inermis

This shrub is suitable for ornamental and protective hedging. The plant leaves are attractive and polished green in color. It is hardy, drought-resistant, stands trimming well, and does not harbor snakes as the leaves have an offensive odor. It is rather slow-growing and takes about 2 years to form into a good hedge. It is planted 15 to 20 cm apart in double rows spaced at the same distance. It is an evergreen mangrove plant, which has found a place in our gardens, can thrive near the ocean at the high tide mark, making it a potential weed in the coastal environment. The plant is not choosy about the soil and can even withstand droughts and it is a versatile plant and can be grown as a topiary or as a bonsai.

  1. Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea plants require support to cover a wall, fence, or another area. It can be trained to climb trellises or be planted as an attractive but thornily impenetrable barrier, and it can serve as a groundcover. Many hardy varieties of Bougainvillea plant form right protective as well as ornamental hedges capable of withstanding frequent trimming. Planting is done at 60 to 90 cm spacing, and plants are trained against the barbed wire of a fence. Stems, including side shoots, are trimmed to form bushy appearance, and plants without support can be prepared as a live fence, but supported hedge of Bougainvillea looks neat.

Bougainvillea plant needs at least 6 hours of full sun a day to flower profusely and look its best. Bougainvillea is a large climber with distinctive curved thorns, and hair on stems and plant leaves. Then, the bracts are crinkled, fairly large, egg-shaped, and possess colors in the rose, rusty-red, and purple. Flowers are cream in color, slender, with hairy tubes. Plant leaves are large, ovate to rounded, leathery in texture, and hairy underneath. The bark is pale and corky. Branching is close and short, giving rise to a dense plant.

You may also check this: Mulching Tomato Plants, Procedure, and Benefits.

  1. Carissa carandas (Karonda)

A bushy shrub which is used as an effective protective hedge. Apart from this, the plant produces delightful fruits in the summer season which are cherished all over India. Seeds are sown 60 to 75 cm apart in single rows. Stem cuttings root easily in monsoon. Read about monsoon gardening tips. It can be grown successfully in tropical and subtropical climate plant growth is affected in high rainfall and waterlogged areas. High temperatures and arid climate are suitable for growing Carissa carandas plant. Carissa carandas is a species of flowering shrub in the Apocynaceae family. It is a hardy and drought-tolerant plant that thrives well in a wide range of soils.

  1. Jatropha curcas

Jatropha is a perennial poisonous shrub, up to 5 meters high. It is an uncultivated non-food wild-species that have naturalized in India and it is used as a living fence to protect gardens and fields from animals as no livestock feeds on the leaves. Stem cuttings root very easily in rains. It is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. If planted in hedges, the reported productivity of Jatropha is from about 0.8 to 1.0 kg of seed per meter of a live fence. Jatropha curcas may be used as a bio-fence around pastures and plantation areas and in the rehabilitation of badly eroded areas.

  1. Duranta erecta

This large, fast-growing, and multi-stemmed shrub is famous as a screen, background planting, and live hedge. Pale blue flowers attract butterflies in the summer season and are followed by bunches of golden-orange berries, popular with birds. The variegated or golden yellow varieties look ornamental. It is planted 30-40 cm apart in multiple rows and can be kept quite low by trimming.

  1. Hybrid willow tree

Hybrid willow trees grow fastest if the soil is moist and drains well. Water the planted hybrid willow weekly during the first growing season. Hybrid willows will adapt to dry soil, but they want to be watered regularly until established. The Hybrid Willow tree will have you covered, quickly. With a growth rate of about 6 to 12 feet per year, this disease-resistant plant typically reaches its mature height in just five years. They grow well even in cold environments and their dense foliage makes great windbreak trees. They are also great for drying out swampy soil. Hybrid willows need little pruning and cut out dead branches and prune only to limit the size of the willow plant or to shape a willow hedge. Trim willow hedges once a year.

  1. Lawsonia inermis

A shrub that can grow up to about 2.5 m tall. Grows without care and it is a good hedge plant for dry localities. Then, the white sweet-scented flowers are borne in perfusion, followed by berries. The crushed plant leaves are used for coloring nails and palms. The shrub needs severe pruning if you wish to keep it in shape. It is grown from seeds or cuttings spaced at 40 to 60 cm apart.

  1. Murraya paniculata

A tall shrub, growing up to 3 meters and sometimes even more. The foliage is beautiful, dark green, glossy, and pinnate. White flowers appearing in rains are fragrant and this plant stands to prune well and forms a good, tall, attractive hedge when adequately trimmed. The shrub is propagated from seeds or by air layering method. Murraya Paniculata makes a fantastic hedging or screening plant. As it flowers it makes a wonderful feature hedge that is highly fragrant.

  1. Leyland cypress

One of the most popular trees for privacy, the Leyland Cypress plant is a beautiful, fast-growing evergreen that is great for solid, full coverage in large backyards. They have been known to reach heights of about 50 feet in just 15 years. When planted in a row, they make an impenetrable mass of branches that make them great trees for screening wind, snow, and even noise. Leyland Cypress plant is noted for its fastest screening tree for privacy.  Leyland cypress trees are planted to quickly form a fence or protection hedges.

  1. Spartan juniper

If your yard can’t accommodate some of the larger privacy fence trees, the Spartan Juniper plant is a great option for mid-sized backyards. Planted in a row, Spartan Junipers give a stately, uniform look to any backyard, and their compact foliage makes them effective windbreak trees.

  1. Hamelia patens

A perpetually flowering, handsome shrub with branching habit and it has ornamental shining foliage. A well-trimmed hedge of Hamelia is an object of beauty and it goes very well in a fence and grows well either in light shade or full sun. It is planted 30 cm apart, and branches at the center need pruning every year.

Apart from these, there are many more plants that can be used for fencing plants are Palms, Acalypha, Caesalpinia, Aralia, Eranthemum, Lantana Tecoma, and Cactus, etc.

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