U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Published by the United States Department of Agriculture in Leaflet No. 200 (1940) 8 p.


On many farms in the Southeast patches of briars and small scrubby growth have been allowed to grow up in pastures, fields, and meadows, where they interfere with good farming. Shrubs have therefore come to be thought of all too often as plants that should be destroyed. The areas they occupy are shrubbed out and burned in an attempt to combat insects and to present an appearance of clean farming. This treatment destroys ground cover and hastens erosion. It deprives wildlife of food and shelter. It reduces the number of beneficial insects but does not exterminate the noxious kinds.

Shrubbing out and burning may be called fighting shrubs blindly. It is easier to manage them.

Shrubs may be managed so as to fit into patterns of neat, orderly farming. Putting shrubs in the right place or leaving them there is the first principle of such management. Shrubs belong at the edge of woods, in fence rows, in hedges, on stream banks, along drainageways, on steep slopes or rocky outcrops lying within cultivated fields. Here they do not interfere with cropland, pasture, or woodland. They enhance the beauty of the farm and the value of fields and woods. They bear small fruits that can be used in making jellies and preserves. They provide protective cover for eroded or erodible areas on many sites not suitable for other vegetation.

At the edges of fields and woods, on shrub-lined stream banks, along hedges and shrubby fence rows, wildlife seeks food and cover. Greater numbers of rabbits, bobwhite quail, and insectivorous birds will be the reward of the farmer who keeps shrubs in the right place.