The Q&A Archives: Hedge Balls And The Shrubs That Produce Them

Question: I have seen baseball sized green balls for sale in the fall that you put in the house in the winter in the basement to get rid of water beetles and spiders. A man at the store said that they were called Hedge Balls because they grew in a hedge. It is said that they are safe for children and pets. My problem is that I would like to plant some, but I can't find the plants or the plant name anywhere. I hope that you can help me as I would like to order some for planting this spring. Thank you for your time and any information you can send me.

Answer: Wow, I've learned something today! Hedge ball is another name for a the fruit of a tree also commonly called Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera). These plants grow fast to 60 feet, with a spreading, open habit. They adapt to most any soil condition, and grow best in full sunshine. The fruits are aromatic, and the odor is repulsive to insects. The tree is hardy to USDA Zone 4, so if you're in southern Minnesota, it should grow for you. You can mail order the trees from Mellinger's Inc., 2310 W. South Range Rd., North Lima, OH 44452-9731, Telephone 330-549-9861
Oikos Tree Crops, P.O. Box 19425, Kalamazoo, MI USA 49019-0425, Telephone, 616-624-6233, e-mail

Here's a great Web site for learning more about the rich history of the tree:

Have fun!

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