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(low fantasy) I like things to make sense at least somewhat logically in my world, and I'm wondering how close trees could be planted together to create a "wall." Obviously, this could be cut or burned down, but it's more of a cultural no-no to do that (thus creating a wall).

I'm okay with the process taking centuries if necessary, also not opposed to bamboo or another source like that if that would work.

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    $\begingroup$ I think you have just described a hedge! visitscotland.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/… $\endgroup$ Jul 6 '20 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Yes sort of, but I was thinking more of the trunks being visible for at least 3 meters or so. $\endgroup$ Jul 6 '20 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ You say, not opposed to bamboo or another source like that if that would work, You haven't stated what sort of work it is supposed to do. Are people supposed to get in or out? We need more details. $\endgroup$ Jul 6 '20 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ It acts as a bit of a border. A border within a state though. The "wall" holds cultural/religious significance so even if there is in-fighting people will respect it and use another means around an area. It's not supposed to be a fortification, just an area that most people wouldn't desecrate in most scenarios. $\endgroup$ Jul 6 '20 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ FWIW, I've seen trees initially growing within inches of each other. I have some such in my yard, even. In the long run, I think what really matters is the tree being able to have enough canopy to sustain itself and enough soil 'to itself' to get water and nutrients. Accordingly, the required distance between plants increases with the size of the plant. So... how big of a tree do you want? $\endgroup$
    – Matthew
    Jul 7 '20 at 17:39
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The property where I used to live had several acres of trees. Inside, the woods were fairly open, but at the borders with the grassy fields there were wild grape vines growing up the trees, sometimes with thorns mixed in. From the grassy fields the edges of the woods like like a solid mass of grave vine leaves. I remember this well because for a few months I had the task of cutting and sawing down the vines in the forest.

So if the wood is intended to seriously keep people out, it should consist of several parallel belts of trees separated by open grasslands. And there should be vines, mixed with thorns, growing up the trees at each border of the woods with the grass. And maybe thorn plants that do well in shade could be planted inside the belts of trees.

I also note that in the country many fields are separated by single lines of trees, which often have bushes or thorns growing among them. So a single line of trees would be adequate to mark the border between different fields and different farms, even though it wouldn't be very good at keeping trespassers out.

Did you ever hear of the Great Hedge of India?

It was the Inland Customs Line in British India, between salt producing and salt using provinces and states, where the tax on salt was collected.

There were customs houses on all the roads at the borders to collect the salt tax, but salt smugglers simply left the roads long enough to go around the custom houses out of sight.

The Inland Customs Line was started in 1834 as a continuous barrier to force travelers to use the roads and thus pay tax at the customs houses. The line was continually lengthened and strengthened over decades, finally reaching over a thousand miles.

Under Halsey's control the hedge grew to its greatest extent, reaching a peak of 411.5 miles (662.2 km) of "perfect" and "good" live hedge by 1878 with a further 1,109.5 miles (1,785.6 km) of inferior hedge, dry hedge or stone wall.[37] The live hedge extended to at least 800 miles (1,300 km) and in places was backed up with an additional dry hedge barrier.[37] All maintenance work was halted on the hedge in 1878 after a decision was made to abandon the line in 1879.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inland_Customs_Line[1]

I note that Banyon trees develop multiple trunks.

Frugivore birds disperse the seeds of banyans. The seeds are small, and because most banyans grow in woodlands, a seedling that germinates on the ground is unlikely to survive. However, many seeds fall on the branches and stems of other trees or on human edifices, and when they germinate they grow roots down toward the ground and consequently may envelop part of the host tree or edifice. For this reason banyans bear the colloquial name "strangler fig". A number of tropical banyan species that compete for sunlight, especially of the genus Ficus, exhibit this strangling habit.[5][6][page needed][7]

Older banyan trees are characterized by aerial prop roots that mature into thick, woody trunks, which can become indistinguishable from the primary trunk with age. Old trees can spread laterally by using these prop roots to grow over a wide area. In some species, the prop roots develop over a considerable area that resembles a grove of trees, with every trunk connected directly or indirectly to the primary trunk. The topology of this massive root system inspired the name of the hierarchical computer network operating system "Banyan VINES".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banyan[2]

So banyan trees can grow close enough to host trees to eventually strangle them.

I can imagine foresters planting banyon seeds in the branches of trees close enough together that the branching banyons will eventually have interlocking root & trunk systems.

You might also want to read up about hedgerows.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedge[3]

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Like this you mean?

enter image description here


Beech hedge at Meikleour, north of Perth. It's listed in the Guinness Book of Records as being the tallest hedge in the world (over 100' high).

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/39476934203401057/?nic_v1=1aL9Kbk6gd6C0VW9dIvnukxjt4sYMpO95qIG5UpfbcNSppP%2BR6E46osKZ6TBQG2CSa

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  • $\begingroup$ That could work, yes. Not exactly what I had in mind though. I was thinking more visible tree trunks. $\endgroup$ Jul 6 '20 at 18:29
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The term for the art of trees grown so that they fuse is "pleaching". This ancient art has recently re-emerged with several artists creating chairs, or gazebo like structures using living willow canes that root themselves into the ground when planted. There was an example of a similar structure, a bridge, that was created in India and is hundreds of years old. Over long periods of time, if such living fences (pleached hedges) survive, they should form a sort of living wall. [pleached willow fence][1] Whether or not the trunks are visible is highly dependent on how these structures are pruned.

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Same answer, just different examples. It can be pretty darn solid.

Solid enough?

enter image description here

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