Also called wattle, this kind of fencing is ancient; people have been building wattle fences for ages, because the materials are readily available and free, pluse the fence goes up really fast - and, it's fun!
I got up the guts to do this after reading an excellent article at Mother Earth News, which I found when I Googled "wattle fence". If you want to try this, I highly recommend reading this article first! The link is over to the right, under "Favorite Places on the Web."
Start with 2-3" around saplings, cut them down to about 1 foot longer than you want the fence to end up. Then - the hardest part, for me anyway - use a hatchet to make sharpened ends that will go into the ground easily.
Next, pound the stakes into the ground, about 14 inches apart and a foot deep. It's good to have help with this:
The boys are helping make pilot holes for the fence posts, using an old piece of bamboo that's pointy on one end.
Finally, gather some pliable saplings, less than 1" around at the thickest point and at least 6' long. Trim them of twigs and branches, and weave them in among the posts so that they look like this:
We'll gather more branches this week, and bring the fence all the way to the top of the posts. We also took this opportunity to turn our weedy, grassless front yard into a garden, with plants donated by a dear friend whose garden is about to be turned into a fabulous addition.
I feel so grateful, not just for the plants, but for the help of my boys, and the enjoyment of looking outside and seeing something that we built with our own hands. I am a lucky woman to have so much!