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What is your favorite tree and why?

 
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My favorite tree is chestnut.

Reasons:

Pro:
- Excellent firewood, mostly easy to split, high kWh/kg (dry), nice vision of flames
- Excellent construction wood, especially outside, very durable/resistant
- Makes good/straight posts for fences and so on
- Chestnuts are excellent food, high in calories and much other, unlike many vegetables (it is said one-two big tree(s) can get a complete family through the winter)
- With enough space around they form beautiful trees
- Bees make a special honey out of them
- Simply regrow after cutting
- They look nice

Cons:
- On the one side a pro on the other hand a problem if you want to reuse space, they simply regrow no matter what you do, only thing to get rid of them quickly is an excavator.
- Every tool to work on them needs to be resharpened frequently!
- Logs need to be stored at least one year without a roof, to get rid of the stuff (tanilin or so), that tends otherwise to destroy your chimney/etc.
 
garden master
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Awesome info Mike, enjoyed seeing the pros and cons of chestnuts!

That's a great question, it's so hard to choose just one!

Mine are ever changing, but these are my favorites right now!

My favorite fruit tree is a Japanese plum. It has beautiful white blossoms in spring that can cover the tree, followed by both sweet and tangy delicious fruit in the summer! It is fast growing and pretty disease resistant in my area. However the wood can be weak and can break pretty easily, especially with a lot of plums. It also can be very early blooming, making it very susceptible to early frosts which can destroy a lot of potential fruit. It also can be targeted by the plum circulio which can ruin a lot of the fruit.

My favorite nut tree is a pecan. I haven't grown any nut trees yet, but hope to very soon. I have fond memories of watching squirrels steal most of them, with a friend who loved squirrels so much they didn't care if they got all of them! I guess that could be a positive and a negative.

My favorite non fruit or nut tree is the eastern redbud. It's such a beautiful tree to me with beautiful pink blossoms in early spring and heart shapes leaves. It's funny that today is Valentine's Day. I guess it could be a good creative gift idea that will last for years, especially if you have a special someone in your life who loves either growing things or permaculture! It can be found growing wild in my area and has grown well in a mostly shaded area where it is planted. It has thin light brown seed pods that can be a little unsightly, but I personally think they are neat! They self seed themselves pretty well also, so you can get more of them pretty easily if needed!


(source)


(source)
 
master steward
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My favorite tree is the Mimosa,  Albizia julibrissin.

It is a beautiful tree and they are attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Being in the  Fabaceae family, they are excellent nitrogen fixers.



Source
 
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Hickory is my favorite, There almost geometrical in there growth pattern,  and the way they produce the leaves from candle flame like pods is quite unique among trees.
 
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My favorite tree grows on the lawn of the county courthouse where our farmer's market it held. Her roots are wide and gnarly, perfect for providing a bit of cover for a weary primate to hunker down and find refuge from the commotion of the big city. Her energy is calm and long-term, in stark contrast to the rushing short-term energy on the nearby streets. I visit her most every week after market, and thoroughly enjoy being embraced by her roots.



 
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This is my favorite tree.  I has to been seen to be fully appreciated.

On my own land, I couldn't possibly choose a favorite.  I have Dawn Redwoods that are amazing, white pines that I love for the privacy and the way it's nearly silent when you are in a group of them, autumn olive for so many reasons, the list goes on and on.
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Banyan tree
 
gardener
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I suppose I would have to pick the fig as my favorite tree, they provide nice shade and good food for humans, birds and some of the four legs.

My land has many trees of just a few species but I love all of them, the hickory and oak give me good firewood and building materials. The persimmon give me meat (by attracting the deer) fruit and a very hard, tight grained wood for making planes or mallets.
The Red, aromatic cedars are sacred to my people and they give me peace of mind as well as being used for offering smoke to the great mystery wakantaka, they also give me juniper berries for many uses and their branches make wonderful siyotanka (NA flutes).
The slippery elms give me medicine, the ash give me mycorrhizae to gather for other trees to make bonds with and good bendy branches for making low walls with.
The pawpaw gives fruit and attracts the flies when it blooms so I know where they are. Peach, pear and apple trees we planted now give fruit and smoke wood for fish and other meats.
The Mulberry give us fruit and bees and feeds the birds more than all the others combined.

I love all the trees that call my land home but the fig and I have had a very long, enduring relationship so they are my favorite trees.
 
Mike Homest
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Steve,

great suggestions I have already checked out the eastern redbud, that would make a really nice contrast in the garden, perhaps I can get one.

The Japanese plum can be one of those:

Japanese plum is a common name for several trees producing edible fruits and may refer to:

   Prunus mume
   Prunus salicina
   Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

Without the Latin name it is somewhat difficult to find, as even if you are native speaker, which I am not, there can be several names for one or more different trees.

Pecan tree is somehow related to walnut, but needs fewer years (5- to produce its first nuts?
 
pollinator
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
My favorite tree grows on the lawn of the county courthouse where our farmer's market it held. Her roots are wide and gnarly, perfect for providing a bit of cover for a weary primate to hunker down and find refuge from the commotion of the big city. Her energy is calm and long-term, in stark contrast to the rushing short-term energy on the nearby streets. I visit her most every week after market, and thoroughly enjoy being embraced by her roots.





I have a very deep fondness for Grandmother Maple who resides in our front yard. She similarly has gnarly roots that snake across the ground. She has an undulating trunk that one can lean against and cradle your back. She's the likely mother and grandma to many of the maples on our property. I sit with her often, and when I am not leaning against her or lying in my hammock in her shade, I appreciate her shade when I sit on our front porch on a hot day. She is not a fruit tree, although she produces copious helicopters each spring. She is a lovely older tree. As a grandma myself, I identify more with her than the young and highly useful whippersnappers. 😸
 
pollinator
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-CK
 
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Guava - high Vitamin C, makes good wine.

Because there is a hundred in my village, feeding kids at the school, making jam for the frugal. Delighting the fruit bats!
Most of the trees have grown by kids on bikes, tossing half eaten fruit into ditches for many decades.
Even when there's no fruit, you can crush a leaf and get the aroma of guava stimulating your nose hairs.
 
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My favorite tree is Comfrey

It is not a tree, but I don't care

Maarten
 
Mike Homest
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Jondo Almondo wrote:Guava - high Vitamin C, makes good wine.

Because there is a hundred in my village, feeding kids at the school, making jam for the frugal. Delighting the fruit bats!
Most of the trees have grown by kids on bikes, tossing half eaten fruit into ditches for many decades.
Even when there's no fruit, you can crush a leaf and get the aroma of guava stimulating your nose hairs.



Sounds interesting, unfortunately it does not support frost. -(
 
gardener
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Anne Miller wrote:My favorite tree is the Mimosa,  Albizia julibrissin.

It is a beautiful tree and they are attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Being in the  Fabaceae family, they are excellent nitrogen fixers.



Source



The mimosa is my favorite, too (the runners-up list is vast, lol). The mimosa is also a beautiful, sweet-scented shade tree, has edible leaves & flowers(which are all stamen, no petals); the bark is a valuable herbal remedy source (https://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/mimosa-tree-home-grown-food-forest/), is a quickly renewed source for firewood; and both livestock and wildlife have been known to forage it. Unfortunately, it can (unless managed) become invasive, rather easily.

**Edited because I'm pretty sure no self respecting mimosa would allow any of our current statesmen to occupy it's lovely branches!!
 
gardener
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Hi Mike.  My favorite tree is also the chestnut.  For the food (gracefully given while building the soil) and form, but also because some of them can end up living for 1000s of years.  I love the idea that perhaps by some lottery like luck that something I plant will last that long and be loved by so many generations of people and wildlife (and perhaps fungi and other plants....totally open to that :) ).  I will stack the deck and plant lots of them!
 
Steve Thorn
garden master
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Mike Homest wrote:Steve,

great suggestions I have already checked out the eastern redbud, that would make a really nice contrast in the garden, perhaps I can get one.

The Japanese plum can be one of those:

Japanese plum is a common name for several trees producing edible fruits and may refer to:

   Prunus mume
   Prunus salicina
   Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

Without the Latin name it is somewhat difficult to find, as even if you are native speaker, which I am not, there can be several names for one or more different trees.

Pecan tree is somehow related to walnut, but needs fewer years (5-8 ) to produce its first nuts?



Yeah, the redbud really creates a beautiful landscape, being a smaller tree and tying in the taller trees to the smaller bushes and other plants!

The one I was referring to was prunus salicina!

I don't think I've ever actually tasted walnuts, but I've heard pecans have a sweeter milder taste. They are also smaller and have a smooth thinner shell.
 
pollinator
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What a great thread. But how would one choose just one?

For food, I like persimmon. When introducing it to thosbunfamiliar, I like to say if caramel was a fruit, it would be a persimmon.

For nuts, I like hickory. Prolific producers of calorie and fat rich nutrition. Crush them, boil water, enjoy as nut milk. Good in coffee or as soup base.

For shade, I like really old oak trees, especially if the branches reach the ground. Majestic.

For climbing I like old magnolias, which take on a spiral staircase effect.

For drinking, mimosas. No really. Make a simple syrup by boiling the flowers and add to yoyr favorite cocktail for a neat floral effect with a calming power all its own.
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pollinator
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I can't say that I really have a favorite tree, but I have recently planted some Redbud that others of you have already mentioned.  However, no one noted the prime reason I planted it which I think others around here could appreciate.  It's a perennial edible!!  The young leaves in early spring are edible along with the flowers and buds.  Later in the year, assuming you didn't harvest all the flowers, the tender young seed pods are edible.  The book I have listing this as a wild edible say's the pods are rather like snow peas.  It would be awesome to get to harvest "snow peas" from a tree!  I must admit I haven't yet gotten to try any, but I'm looking forward to it.
 
Mike Homest
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Greg Martin wrote:Hi Mike.  My favorite tree is also the chestnut.  For the food (gracefully given while building the soil) and form, but also because some of them can end up living for 1000s of years.  I love the idea that perhaps by some lottery like luck that something I plant will last that long and be loved by so many generations of people and wildlife (and perhaps fungi and other plants....totally open to that :) ).  I will stack the deck and plant lots of them!



Just be aware that given the right earth, PH (3.5-5.5) and a few other things, chestnut will spread. Though it takes if they are not plugged easily 8 or more years to make fruits and they will only make some if there is space for even more chestnut trees. Somehow the tree knows about its surroundings? Other trees have quite some trouble to compete with chestnut.
 
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It’s a hard one to answer because I love all native trees, so I’ll narrow it down to two natives and only one ‘introduced’ species:

1. The Ironbark is my particular favourite. It includes a number of Eucalypt species with essentially the same characteristics.

These are ancient trees found in a variety of places, but the ones I always admire sit on the barren, sandy and bone dry ridges in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. They’re exposed to severe elements of every type, from +40C to below freezing and snow, drought, heavy rain, high winds and bush fires.

They are theoretically immortal, growing from a lignotuber and sprouting epicormic growth when seemingly dead from bushfires. With a stoic, sentinel appearance they’re not particularly pretty trees, easily overlooked for the more showy ones in the forest community.

Their flowers are a rich source of nectar for native and introduce bees, wasps, moths and butterflies, bats, birds, possums and sugar-gliders. They are an important food for Koala’s, and the thick furrowed bark hosts many insects, including the very venomous Tree Funnel Web Spider.

The timber is prized for many uses: railway sleepers, fence posts, fine furniture, beautiful flooring boards, and burns exceptionally hot in a campfire/stove/heater leaving big nuggets of hot coals great for cooking on.

With a very fine grain, a typical hardwood, it’s one of the few species of timber that doesn’t float in water.


2. Snow Gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora).

They are just plain beautiful. In winter, skiing around or through a grove of them makes for some tricky navigation – they are not forgiving, they don’t bend and being impaled is a real fear.


3. Family Coat of Arms – don’t know the species of tree, guess it’s an oak

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Sagebrush might not be a tree, but when they are gone I sure miss them. Wildfires have struck the desert north of my home and the sagebrush is gone. More and more of the great America desert is turning into cheat grass prarie. My government has plowed the desert after the fire and replanted bunch grasses. This makes the cattlemen happy, but I wonder why no sagebrush has returned. Sage grouse habitat is shrinking. Oddly enough the government loves to drag battleship anchor chains across vast stretches of pinion pine in the name of sage grouse habitat. Cattlemen like that too!
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pollinator
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I can't possibly have a "favorite", that is like asking which is your favorite child!

One that I am really into right now is the White Tupelo (Nyssa Ogeche). It is happy in areas that are kind of soupy (which is getting to be more areas as I increase the organic matter), has grown pretty fast (but not so fast that I am worried about strength), makes amazing flowers and citrus-like fruits, and for my own vanity, no one else has any around here!

There are so many others. I have to say Dr Redhawks' list is very similar. I appreciate the figs and mulberries. My second place would be honey locust. It allows dappled shade in the summer, produces copious nitrogen in the leaves it drops, but doesn't smother the ground level stuff. Eventually it will be a fine apiary tree, and drop delicious and nutritious pods for the animals below. I am only allowing thornless ones around here.  
 
pollinator
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A Ranger/naturalist I worked with said when I asked him that question “whatever tree I am standing underneath at the moment”
 
Jondo Almondo
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Mike Homest wrote:

Jondo Almondo wrote:Guava



Sounds interesting, unfortunately it does not support frost. -(



Haven't seen a frost here in decades.

That said, regular guavas can survive very light frosts and I understand that strawberry guava is much more cold tolerant - a little less hardy, but much more tasty.
 
Mike Homest
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Jondo Almondo wrote:

Mike Homest wrote:

Jondo Almondo wrote:Guava



Sounds interesting, unfortunately it does not support frost. -(



Haven't seen a frost here in decades.

That said, regular guavas can survive very light frosts and I understand that strawberry guava is much more cold tolerant - a little less hardy, but much more tasty.



Sounds interesting, though this is not very encouraging:

https://www.fs.fed.us/psw/topics/biocontrol/strawberryguava/strawberry_guava.shtml
 
Jondo Almondo
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I'm not inclined to blame a species of tree for poor management and it's hardiness in degraded landscapes.
How does it compare to the loss of diversity caused by the trillion kilograms of corn grown each year?

There are tens of thousands of acres of Hawaii that are growing macadamia nuts (another tree worthy of favoritism!), but that biological displacement was intentional, so its ok.

-
Interestingly, Hawaii grew more macadamias than Australia for many years until recently. Also, the majority of breeding work to improve cultivars was done in Hawaii.

Harvested macadamia nuts are long-lasting, delicious, pest-resistant and make amazing pesto and milk-substitutes.
Kids enjoy smashing them open with a hammer or crushing them in a vice while trying to keep the nut intact.
The charred hulls of the nut make a great soil amendment.
It's gorgeous when flowering heavily.
 
pollinator
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Easy: Tamarind.

Leguminous, hardwood, extremely hardy, delicious fruit, tastey leaves, evergreen, enormous, gorgeous, and builds soil as it sheds its bark. The real old ones host an entire mini forest under their canopy.
 
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Eastern Redbud. Because it is beautiful!
 
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For timber, shade, or agroforestry: Paulownia tomentosa - ornamental with huge leaves and large fragrant purple flowers, nitrogen fixing, provides dappled shade good for undergrowth or alley crops, extremeley fast growing

For fruit and medicine: Elderberry (Sambucus spp.)

For nuts or seeds: Pistachios for areas that experience wide fluctuations in water availability, like California. While they need a lot of water to produce well, water can be withheld in dry years with little damage to the trees, and other low water-use annual crops can be grown in the alleys instead. Elsewhere, where water availability is more consistent, the American Chestnut...sigh.
 
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The mulberry tree! It is extremely adaptable, drought tolerant and the wildlife go nuts for them; they are always gone before the blackberries and wineberries in my area. Since they are so adaptable, they prevent soil erosion in places that would otherwise be falling apart. I think Geoff used them in his "Greening the desert" projects. Excellent bio-accumulator.
 
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Mike Homest wrote:My favorite tree is chestnut.


Which chestnut species?

I am surprised Moringa has not made it on this list of favorites. I only started growing them (in south Texas) but I love how fast they grow and how much food they give (I blend the leaves and substitute for spinach in a saag paneer-style Indian dish).
 
pollinator
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Kevin Young wrote:

I am surprised Moringa has not made it on this list of favorites. I only started growing them (in south Texas) but I love how fast they grow and how much food they give (I blend the leaves and substitute for spinach in a saag paneer-style Indian dish).


Moringa grows just in hot enough weather. I tried to grow it in Southern California couple of blocks from the ocean, and it was not thriving at all, but a few miles away in the valley, where is much hotter, it grows well. Most people here garden in cooler places. I love moringa for my green powders, but have to buy it.
 
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A Victoria plum that grows in my back garden. It was the first tree I ever planted, and I did so about a year after moving here fifteen years ago. My children have grown up with it and our cat climbs it to get onto the garage roof. It is a quiet, fruitful part of our life in this place.
 
pollinator
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I like the Asian Persimmons. The non-astringent kind. Sweet crunchy and has no problems with disease or insects but birds are a problem.  They stay under 10 feet and are easy to harvest.  I am now finding more and more varieties but am running out of yard.
I also like the Jujube for the same reasons (except no bird issues) but mine have vicious thorns.  I recently found out that there are numerous varieties that are thorn-less.  These can be trimmed to stay under 10 to 12 feet tall.
 
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Personally, my favorite tree is the Maple. I have some family from Canada and I would always admire them when I visited when I was younger. Plus, they give us maple syrup. Bonus!
 
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My favorite tree is Snake fruit, of course. I'm a snake fruit farmer by the way.

Reasons:

Pro:
- The fruit taste great
- Many health benefits in it
- Makes good/straight posts for fences due to its spines
- Good commodity, even though it's cheap but we can harvest tons of snake fruit
- We can use snake fruit to make a coffee, wine, pickled etc
- It is slowly hitting the global market  
- The fruit is available year round
- It is an exotic fruit

Cons:
- Check out the cons in my homepage here Snake fruit (Salak) explained
 
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As our climate becomes drier I am planting Bur Oak. They are drought resistant and slow growing but over time become very tall and wide, 50 feet or more high and around. Eventually they produce huge acorns and lots of shade. We will need both as our pine forests fade.
 
Just put the cards in their christmas stocking and PRESTO! They get it now! It's like you're the harry potter of permaculture. richsoil.com/cards
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