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The Hearty Orange Tree - Osage Orange

Posted by Chelsea Renteria on 6/14/19 12:03 PM
Chelsea Renteria

Orange Osage

Osage Orange, which is also known as hedge apple, horseapple, bowwood, or bodark, is native to the Southern United States. Its tough wood has been used for fence posts, archery bows, and wheel rims for horse-drawn wagons by pioneers. It also was commonly planted as a living fence line before barbed wire as another way to contain livestock.


The Osage Orange is a medium-sized tree, that when mature can grow up to 35-60 feet tall. This dioecious tree pollinates in the spring by their flowers that appear after its leaves.

It also has the following traits:

  • Thorny branches
  • Dark green, glossy leaves that are 2-5 inches long
  • Produces fruit, known as the "hedge ball". This fruit is about 3-5 inches in diameter and is yellow-green. Many compare the appearance of the hedge ball to that of a brain.


Though the Osage Orange thrives most in wet areas, this tree can withstand drought, extreme flooding, and a variety of soil types. In the right conditions, it can live for up to 175 years. It is resistant to termites and rotting, which is why it has been ideal to use in making fence posts. In areas with poor land management or overgrazed land, the Osage Orange has become an invasive species and has taken over land with its overgrowth.

 Orange Osage Distribution Map

EDDMapS. 2019. Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System. The University of Georgia - Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. Available online at http://www.eddmaps.org/


Some have used prescribed fires or various chemicals to try and control Osage Orange. There are also some mechanical solutions, such as a chainsaw. However, with this tough hardwood tree, we recommend the mechanical solution of Diamond’s Skid-Steer Drum Mulcher or Skid-Steer Forestry Disc Mulcher.

Both of these attachments help with cutting the tree close to ground level as recommended. It is important to perform continued maintenance in areas that have been overgrown with Osage Orange to keep down the regrowth.

Watch the Diamond Skid-Steer Rotary Mower in Action:

Topics: Skid-Steers & Attachments, Invasive Trees/Plants, Application: Forestry