Osage Orange or Hedge Apples? Do They Ward Off Pests? | The Hypertufa Gardener

Osage Orange or Hedge Apples? Do They Ward Off Pests?

It’s Monday again and here in Ohio and it’s hot.

 Is it seriously this far gone toward fall? I want summer for a little while longer…no, I need it to be a lot longer.  Around here, school starts in a few weeks , and my little grandson is so looking forward to it!

Shocking! I never wanted summer to end when I was a kid. But I had five brothers and sisters to play with all summer.  I think he loves getting to play with all those kids and staying up late.

But, let me give you some tips , but also a  discussion.  And I want your opinion too.

Osage Orange. Collect them in the fall for warding off spiders around the house foundation.

Osage Orange or Hedge Apples

I have a question about something that I have heard down the grapevine, and I don’t know if it is classified under an “Old Wives Tale” or maybe some of it is somewhat true. I researched some on the internet and it goes both ways…1.works…and then  2. no scientific evidence.  So here’s the thing.

 

What I have heard is that you can use these weird hard balls called Osage orange around the foundation of your home to keep spiders , crickets, roaches, and other insects and mice out of your house in the winter. These supposedly have a scent that these critters don’t like so they stay away. 

I tried it last fall (these pictures are from last Oct/Nov). I brought a bag home from the park here in Bellbrook where a few trees are growing. There are many of them lying around on the ground.  You may see them along roadsides etc. I see some crafts made from slices of them.

We put a whole lot of them around the foundation of my house, and also my daughter’s and my son’s.  We all felt that we saw less spiders. Now it could be just a mental thing, or it may have worked.

But I am visiting the park and getting another bucket of these things this fall.

Maclura pomifera or hedge apple

Have you ever heard of this? The tree is a Maclura pomifera ( Osage orange or hedge apple). These trees are something that the prairie settlers used to plant as a fence. Since they are very thorny and the wood is very dense, they could be planted close together as a living growing fence. A farmer or rancher just pruned them a lot and the horse, cattle, and even pigs wouldn’t go through them. 

Osage Orange Spider Repellant - The Hypertufa Gardener

Of course, after barbed wire came into use, they weren’t used as much. But there are still Osage Orange rows remaining here in Greene County. The wood is so dense it is resistant to rot and insects, so  fence posts made of this wood  lasted for decades. Don’t ask me how they sawed and cut them. Oh my!  See that bark pictured above? It is such a pretty orange color.

But here’s the thing. Do they ward off pests like spiders or mice?  It seems to me that they do. I kid you not. We like to gather them by large bags full and put them against the foundation of the house so that Little Varmints don’t seek out our house to spend the winter. I swear that I have seen less spiders since we did this starting several years ago.

Now I do see that the squirrel just love to eat them, so maybe there is such a flurry of squirrels around the foundation that the bugs decide to go to the neighbors. But I am still heading to the park soon to get me some Osage oranges! 

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These are some assorted creatures I have photographed in the garden, and I put them out here for just a tip. Don’t assume all bugs or beetles or insects you see need to be smashed, or sprayed for, or gotten rid of for some reason.  I know many of you are experienced gardeners, but some may be new. If you see an insect or spider, don’t just automatically squish it. Leave it be if it is not bothering you, or you know of some reason that it is destructive to plants and crops in your area.

Argiope aurantia or Garden Spider
Argiope aurantia or Garden Spider

Those spiders I know, look really gruesome, but we know they provide a service for us. The Argiope aurantia are orb weavers which means they are big circle web makers..Yeah, those…

Usually there is a little zig-zag in the middle where she sits. We like the fact that spiders get rid of a lot of pests which damage our garden. So let the spider do its work. Just shudder and go on! ( Probably wiping webbing off….eeek!)

(Magicicada ) Cicada
Cicada emerging

The cicada (Magicicada) is relatively harmless, but one of the noisiest insects and with a face only its mother can love. A cicada  singing is one of the loudest noises made by an insect. Cicadas make the summer sound like summer.  These insects are a symbol of immortality and good fortune in some cultures.

There is some tale that a prediction of war or peace is hidden in a cicada’s wing markings.  A little shape like a “W” or one like a “P”.  I have never examined a cicada myself to check for the alphabet!  

 

Wheel Bugs – They Do Have a Good Side!

These Wheel Bugs are really gruesome looking, a relative of the Assassin Bug and the Stink bug which we all just adore.  But they are important in the chain of life for our gardens. They eat a lot of bugs, one of which is the Japanese Beetle. So they can come dine at my garden anytime.

Wheel Bugs eat Japanese beetles - Hooray

But anyway, check on the insects you see and don’t just kill it because it is a bug. You may just decide that you want him or her around!

Sorry about getting slightly off topic. But I have always been fascinated by BUGS, even when I was a little girl. So when I see them in the garden, I have to capture them…with my camera. 

Didn’t you capture a jar of honeybees when you were a kid?   Not to mention fireflies at night…………..

Have a great week!

Kim, The Hypertufa Gardener

Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.

Of course, I have some recipes and some random family concerns which I hope interest you too! Please page through the Magazine and find what you like! and Subscribe!

I also have a YouTube channel called Kim’s Gardens where you can see my hypertufa as I make them. ( See My About Page)

 

2 thoughts on “Osage Orange or Hedge Apples? Do They Ward Off Pests?

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  • August 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm
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    Thanks, Bren. I seemed to have had less spiders this past year in the house. So I am planning to do it again this year. They are plentiful around here in the parks and roadsides, so why not use them? Can't hurt, right?

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