You may have seen hedge apples before and wondered what they were, what the softball sized fruit is used for or are they even good for anything at all?
This yellow-green fruit is produced by the osage orange. It is a small to medium sized tree which commonly grows 30 to 40 feet tall and has dark green shiny leaves. The osage orange is a member of the Mulberry family.
The wood from the tree is very hard, tough, and durable. It also shrinks or swells very little compared to the wood of other trees. The wood is most often used for fence posts, furniture, and archery bows. Many archers consider the wood of the Osage orange to be the world’s finest wood for bows.
During the mid-nineteenth century, it was planted by midwest farmers for use as a living fence. When pruned into a hedge, it provided a barrier to livestock. Farmers stopped planting the osage orange with the introduction of the barb wire fence. You may have noticed osage orange trees growing along fence rows for this reason.
As for it’s uses hedge apples can be used as a natural way to repel insects like cockroaches,spiders, boxelder bugs, crickets ,and small pests away from areas where they are not wanted. Folklore states that if the hedge apples are arranged around the foundation of a house that pests such as mice and spiders won’t try to enter the home. There is no scientific evidence to back these claims.