Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hedgeapples


I nearly peed my pants when I saw the big green balls laying everywhere in Ensley Park last week when we were in Topeka! I don't even remember the last time I saw a Bodark tree, they are kind of hard to find. My Grandpa had them as fence row trees, to mark the boundaries of his pastures. Scrubby and gnarled, he attached barbed wire to them and for decades they did the job of holding the cattle in. By the 1960's he began to replace all of those fences with posts and new barbed wire, and in time the trees simply died. 

Osage Orange, hedge apples, horse apple, Bodark, I've heard all of these names to describe them, they are a favorite of squirrels but poison to humans. Folklore tells us that hedge apples deter spiders, crickets, bugs and cockroaches from getting in your garage or basement. If you Google for info, you see that it's true, one university study showed that a natural chemical in the hedge apple deters cock roaches. People put them in dark corners, by doorways and porch steps to prevent insects from entering the house. Everyone that uses them swears that they work!

I don't remember a can of bug spray being a staple at my house as a kid, but the hedge apples were placed in the basement and in the garage and I don't recall ever seeing bugs. Maybe not as well as a commercial pesticide, but they are a green choice for those of us who like that.


We had to dodge the falling bombs, they are heavy, but Aunt Nadine and I gathered up enough for her garage, her sister's and mine in a couple of minutes. We'll let you know if they work!

10 comments:

  1. Please do as spiders and other things come into my house about this time of year. Anything to help is a good thing ey?

    warm hugs and it sure looked like fun and your Aunt is a hoot!

    Cotton Peony

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    1. This is the time of year that bugs try to find a place for winter, I'm not inviting them in!

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  2. I have never heard of them!... let me know what you discover! I don't think they grow around here.

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    1. There is a lot of history to the Bodark tree. The Indians actually used the hard wood to make their bows. It was commonly used as a fencerow tree or for posts, it has a natural pest resistance because of the strength of the wood so lasted for decades.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, I was just thrilled to find these in the middle of Topeka last week!

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  4. Do you change them every year? I saw some in southern TN and I know they grow here in northern AL.

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    1. My parents did, but they had a source every fall for new hedge apples. They have a slightly sticky feel to the outside, that must be the natural repellent to the bugs.

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  5. My dear grandpa of Oskaloosa, KS (just north of Lawrence, home of KU [Dad's alma mater; my Dad's birthplace was nearby Oskaloosa on a farm] and Lawrence being just 14 miles from Topeka)... well anyway, grandpa was a woodworker and loved making great wood objects from Osage Orange trees. That's what I came here to say - LOL! after all that rambling.

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    Replies
    1. That is very interesting! Considering the strength of the wood, whatever he made would last forever, I love that. Do you have anything that he made?

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