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Newbie tree strategy.

 
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Hi,

Last year I bought 23 acres of land in the southern part of France near the Dordogne. Two-thirds of the land is forest - oak, scots pine, chestnut. In the middle of it all is a valley which runs towards the south. That land is pasture. It was grazed but for the last 7 years nothing has been grown on the land.

This is where I want to plant some trees - all kinds of fruit and nuts - whatever I can grow that is edible. I've mostly been preparing the land to plant trees this coming winter although I have planted a few monkey puzzle trees and pomegranates, kiwis and raspberries which I had available. (Btw, the monkey puzzles grow much better in the forest than they do out in the pasture. Squirrels are usually a problem with growing nuts in the forest but I know from experience that the squirrels can't get monkey puzzle nuts until they hit the ground. The way to collect the nuts is to hit the cones with a long stick in the autumn and knock the nuts to the ground and collect them before the squirrels come).

I can't afford to fill the valley with grafted trees and besides I've noticed that the valley is full of microclimates and I don't know which variety of which fruit will do well where. So I'm thinking of this as a strategy - just plant mostly rootstocks throughout the valley and then graft different varieties onto the rootstocks and see which work best. Perhaps I can try several varieties on one rootstock and them remove the least useful.

I'm new to this and I haven't seen this strategy mentioned anywhere so I'm wondering if there's something perhaps obvious to experienced people that I'm missing with this plan.

Any advice would be most welcome.

Thank you.

John
 
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John, I think is a great idea. I recently bought 400 antonovka seeds to do basically the same thing. I also take lots of cuttings from trees.  Between seeds, cuttings, and transplants, you can create a great number of trees for next to know money. Best of luck to you.
 
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I bought a ton of grafted trees that died by the root stocks survived. I've tried grafting onto them several times but it is HARD. Maybe it's me. My husband says it's because I suck at grafting. But yeah, I think grafting root stock in a greenhouse controlled environment is probably a thousand times easier than trying to graft something out on the plains. I speak as a plains dweller myself.
 
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I'm not super experienced with grafting or picking out trees either (it's on the to-do list) and you might have already considered this but different varieties of rootstock are also going to be more/less suited to the different microclimates. I've been looking at rootstock options recently and there are rootstocks that are more/less drought resistant, or tolerant to swampy areas, etc.

I hope if you decide to go through with this project that you post what you find out!
 
John Pedersen
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Thanks folks.

Maybe the problem with grafting it on the prairie was wind? Here, it is not a windy place and this enclosed valley is really sheltered.

I'll certainly try a variety of rootstocks.

There are hawthorns dotted about that I've read you can graft pears onto. I'll give that a shot. I have a couple of varieties of pears and some Asian pears I grew from seed.
 
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