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Creating an Oak forest

 
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Hiya everyone

I have been trying to create a forest on my land. The vast majority of trees are oak, red and sessile, there are also large numbers of crab apple/plumbs/damsen/bird cherry/wild cherry/flowering cherry/hawthorn. All these trees have been grown from seed collected locally. I also have approx 60 pear trees and 300 apple trees that I purchased in the last 2 years.

I have been planting approx 300-400 trees each year, taking them from a nursery section and planting them out onto farm land that is grazed by sheep.

I took a video of the oldest section today, this is planted on land which is kinda boggy/wet.

Not sure if it's possible to embed a YouTube video

https://youtu.be/WqhkmNTG-d8



 
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Your video was surprisingly calming and peaceful.  Thank you.

Someday when all those oaks are mature, it will be a great piece of land for finishing pigs on (they LOVE acorns).

Great work.
 
Marco Banks
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And puppy dog seems to do a pretty good job of keeping up in spite of his challenges.  Good for him, and good for you for talking him along on your walk.
 
Jay Mullaky
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Thank you for the nice comments

I have taken another video of the nursery section. The larger trees are approx 12 years old. I will be planting out, hopefully, 400 this winter.



 
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Great Job...

This is interesting as just the other day I was out in an area of my forest where I did this as well. We have quite a few acres here, but oak generally does not grow, so one day I was at an oak forest and the acorns were EVERYWHERE, so I just gathered up a few 5 gallon bucketful's, went out in my woodlot and scattered acorns. I told this to my forester and she said it was all for nothing, that the animals would take the acorns and so nothing would come of it.

Was she ever wrong.

This area of my forest is now sprouted here and there with plenty of oak trees. That is pretty good for the hour so of time I have invested in gathering and scattering seed across the forest floor.

If I did it again, I might take my tree planting bar and deposit the seed into the soil to help start them, but just scattering acorns worked well enough.
 
Jay Mullaky
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Hi Travis

Do you have any deer in your area? They might hoover up all your oaks

I am here in Ireland and we probably have different deer, the forest I got most of the acorns from is called Union wood and I have seen hundreds of little oaks sprouting under oak trees but return a few weeks later and they are gone

Thankfully we don't have many deer on my land, they will not go on land that has sheep.
 
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hello Jay , enjoyed those clips , nice to hear a another person in ireland building a forest , mines a bit smaller and lower , very jealous of that stream you have , i  collected 2 buckets full of acorns from a local forest ---many were already sprouting ---planted each one ---and waited ------and waited -----about 6 came up high enough for me to notice them---no deer around my place ----its bloody voles that mow them down---they dont eat them ---just nip them down
 
Travis Johnson
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Jay Mullaky wrote:Hi Travis

Do you have any deer in your area? They might hoover up all your oaks

I am here in Ireland and we probably have different deer, the forest I got most of the acorns from is called Union wood and I have seen hundreds of little oaks sprouting under oak trees but return a few weeks later and they are gone

Thankfully we don't have many deer on my land, they will not go on land that has sheep.



Yes we have a lot of deer here, but they do not eat the saplings unless there is nothing else to eat. But I live in Maine, which is VERY different then Ireland, about polar opposites actually. Whereas Ireland is about 10% forest, and 90% field, here in Maine we have 90% forests, and only 10% fields. So that might be why, they have plenty of trees to browse on. Maine and Ireland are about the same in topography, but of course due to the jet stream you are a lot warmer than us. Interestingly enough, Maine is almost the exact same size as Ireland, within 4000 acres difference if I remember right.

I have not spent a lot of time in Ireland, but really enjoyed it. I stayed at a farm in Kilimahil, and it was interesting in that town was very, very similar to my home town in population, how it operated, and the townspeople. Most of my travels were on the west coast, traveling around between Galway and the Dingle Peninsula.


 
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Jay Mullaky wrote:Hiya everyone

I have been trying to create a forest on my land. The vast majority of trees are oak, red and sessile, there are also large numbers of crab apple/plumbs/damsen/bird cherry/wild cherry/flowering cherry/hawthorn. All these trees have been grown from seed collected locally. I also have approx 60 pear trees and 300 apple trees that I purchased in the last 2 years.

I have been planting approx 300-400 trees each year, taking them from a nursery section and planting them out onto farm land that is grazed by sheep.



Hi,
You really remind me of that famous french short story « The_Man_Who_Planted_Trees »
It is quite impressive to see people planting oak forests. Great work for future generations.
Staff note (Pearl Sutton):

30 minute movie of The Man Who Planted Trees
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYlsIZXCQa4

 
Travis Johnson
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I have planted more than just oak though, and with varying degrees of success. I have planted White Pine, Japanese Larch, Black Spruce, and Oak.


White Pine: It was a monocrop tree plantation in an old, 4 acre field, and they grew, but also developed White Pine Blister Rust and so they will never be saw logs due to their crippled growing

Japanese Larch: This is a hybrid tree, growing to full size in 15 years (12" dia/60 feet tall), and it did well, and I was able to pull a commercial crop off the 10 acres I planted. They did get Larch Beetle Disease, but that was mitigated to 3-4 trees per acre, per year so it had little overall effect on the health, or growth of the forest.

Black Spruce: I planted 15 acres of selectively cut forest back in 1994, and they have grown, but it is a very wet location, and while this type of tree likes wet feet, and has grown, black spruce grows VERY slowly. My Great Great Grandchildren may be able to get crop of logs off these trees.

I planted oak as I described in an earlier reply on about 10 acres, and they have grown well, but Oak is a slow growing tree so my Great Grandchildren might be able to log them in their lifetimes.
 
Jay Mullaky
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Jean Dupont wrote:

Hi,
You really remind me of that famous french short story « The_Man_Who_Planted_Trees »
It is quite impressive to see people planting oak forests. Great work for future generations.



From Wikipedia

"Bouffier is no longer a shepherd, because he is worried about the sheep affecting his young trees, and has become a bee keeper instead."

I know how he feels

Sheep love to itch off trees, and with all that wool they really need to throw their weight into the tree, not great for newly planted trees.

Some also decide to eat the bark, they team up with the hare, one goes high one goes low.

And then if the rams get into the tree...... Game over
 
Travis Johnson
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Sheep are hard on everything; yes trees, but also gates, fences, fence posts, barns, pens...how could a 180 pound animal be so destructive?

I once saw a ram bust its way through a barn with 1 inch thick boarded up walls.

Sadly...or not sadly...depending on how you look at it, today was my last day of having sheep. Our last of our flock of sheep are going on the cattle trailer tomorrow.
 
Jay Mullaky
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That's some good planting Travis.

I'm not planning on harvesting any of the trees I'm growing but the odd one might end up as fire wood if they are damaged by weather or are too close to each other.

Ideally I would like a big area of oak that is joined and then a lot of smaller orchards, 50ish trees, dotted around.

I have a lot of trees growing in the tunnel that have been planted in the last two years.
Few hundred horn beam
Large amounts of apple,cherry,Spanish chestnut
Hazel
Alder
Few figs
Even have a few redwoods I bought online as seed.

Wish I had planted more hazel, apple trees years ago, but have only got into these trees lately.
 
Jay Mullaky
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Travis Johnson wrote:Sheep are hard on everything; yes trees, but also gates, fences, fence posts, barns, pens...how could a 180 pound animal be so destructive?

I once saw a ram bust its way through a barn with 1 inch thick boarded up walls.

.



I will take some pictures tomorrow of flowering cherry trees that were damaged by 2 rams. The rams were in the field for less than a day. The damage was done almost 10 years ago and the trees still have huge scars. Incredible that they survived in the first place. Luckily they were planted along a fence so one side was protected.

Wait till you see the pictures, gives me shivers.
 
Travis Johnson
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What amazes me is that a lot of people think that a tree grows from the bottom up, but a tree actually grows from the top...not the bottom. Where I live you can see that because people nailed fences to trees a long time ago. If the tree grew from the bottom up, that fence would be stretched 40 feet in the air, but it is not. It is in the same place at ground level because the tree grew from the top. It is kind of counterintuative until your really think about it.

Unfortnataley that scarring will eventually kill a tree. I run into this in logging. After about 20 years, the trees I bumped while logging years earlier, will eventually kill the tree. I typically get around my woodlot every 20 years or so, so eventually I cull the tree before it rots and is worthless.

Here is an example of what I mean by a "bumper tree". You can see the base of the tree that is circled with red. Just that little bit of scarring will eventually kill that hemlock.

In that case, it is no big deal because that tree is pretty big, and will be removed before it dies from disease, but it does not take much to start the killing process of a tree.

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bumper tree
bumper tree
 
Jay Mullaky
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Damn that damage looks very minimal. I suppose different  trees are more resilient, I'm hoping my cherries can hang in there.
 
Travis Johnson
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Yes it is minimal damage, but it is still a wound, and that is where rot begins. They scab over those wounds, but eventually it kills the tree, it just takes a long time.

In your case it is Cherry, and here in Maine anyway, Back Cherry is one of the fastest growing non-hybrids.
 
Jay Mullaky
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Few random pictures
The picture with the dog is off a very large flowering cherry tree that I planted last winter, took about half the height off it.

The heart shape is a design I noticed on some birch I was chopping up, in the end got about 12 one inch rings.
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Travis Johnson
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The heart shaped ring is kind of cool.

Do you do any woodworking?

I used to do a lot of woodworking, and got kind of good at it. One thing I used to do a lot of was make "Lovetails". These are just like dovetails, except they were in the form of hearts. I am not sure if you can see the lovetail inthe photo, but in the drawer that is slightly ajar on the right side (left of the locomotive) , you can see a row of lovetails where it was pinned in heart-shape into the wood. It is kind of neat, and like your pictures, unites hearts and wood.

This train cradle I made for my first daughter was put together with dovetails and lovetails.

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Jay Mullaky
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Have some pictures from my tunnel. 18 years of the Irish weather and it's still standing...well just about.

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Jay Mullaky
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Got some posts for planting. Currently have these in the tunnel to dry, will then soak them in bluestone as a preservative.
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Jay Mullaky
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First trees planted today. Still too early to go at the oaks but I have 30/40 apple trees in pots/grow bags in the tunnel that I can plant out as they have a nice rootball and I can keep it intact.

When I initially planted these trees I added a seed potato in each pot so now I have a pile of potatoes lol.

The trees I planted are all apple but with a few I'm not sure if they are crab apple or apples I grew from apples I bought in the shop.

Am using drainage pipe to protect the trees this year, no more  tree guard bullshit. And I have good quality fencing posts that I have dried and treated in bluestone.

Only 10 trees planted today but I will be planted a few each day, before the main planting starts.


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Marco Banks
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Beware!  Demon sheep, just in time for Halloween.  
 
tony uljee
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like the drainage pipe idea , and i see why the big vampire killing tree  stakes are being used---demon sheep ---your fields will become an irish version of the system in use over in portugal and spain---start growing some quercus rotundifolia --its become my favourite oak for a variety of reasons---like the apple choice as well ---i have also grown apple seeds from shop bought or just apples that have been scrumped from peoples orchards---if they grow they grow --if they dont give good crops they will become timber or root stock.
 
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To what extent is Oak Wilt an issue in your area?

I am hugely fond of oak, but I have heard cautions about relying too heavily upon it for those reasons.

I love the Oak Savannah that is being kept in High Park, Toronto, as a token remnant of the oak savannah of the Carolinian that used to exist before damage and changes in the local climate caused by early settlement from Europe took their toll.

But to try to encourage the proliferation of species that are particularly at-risk of catching and transmitting such a fungal infection is, to me, a little like trying to encourage Elm copses in ground still ravaged by dutch elm disease without sourcing tree seedlings with inherited immunity to such, or planting ash copses in the path of spread of the Emerald Ash Borer.

I am encouraged by programs to breed disease-resistant or immune varieties of the Elm, of the American Chestnut, and of the Ash tree, as they were once prominent in areas they now can't exist; I can only guess that reintroduction to areas where they formerly thrived would benefit what remains of original ecosystems, but I look forward to finding out.

As to the oak, I haven't heard anything about programs looking to breed oak strains that are immune or resistant to the fungus in question, but I may have a measure that might help people planting oaks: find out what species of culinary fungi not only grow in your area, but symbiose readily with your oaks. I know that some, I believe western North American Chanterelle mushrooms, have symbiotic relationships with some oaks, and they're delicious besides.

Generally, though, if there is a fungus, or group of fungi, that will compete with the wilt fungus for dominance, I would apply regular fungal slurries around your plantings, and feed the fungi in the soil with compost extracts, preferably of the actively aerated variety. I would look primarily for culinary mushrooms and those that they grow with in the wild simply because it will provide an added return for your disease-control efforts. Plus, I freaking love chanterelles.

But good luck. I hope simply being aware of the issue is enough to arm you and others to combat Oak Wilt on your own.

-CK
 
Travis Johnson
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You can take Ash off the list. The Maine forest Service has found a natural predator to the Emerald Ash Borer which is why our state still has Ash Trees. When the dreaded EAB is noted in an area, they release these natural predators that eat the Larvae of the EAB and keep it in check.

That figures, I have been eradicating Ash from my land for the last 4 years, and now that I am about done, and they found a way to stop it before it got here!

But every tree species has issues. Back in the 1980's it was Spruce Bud Worm, my Hack had a bark beetle infestation, and White Pine has blister rust...and so it goes.
 
Chris Kott
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What is the name of this natural ash borer predator, if you don't mind my asking?

-CK
 
tony uljee
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its like nature has the last laugh every time we think we are able to short cut or out think it , lets plant trees for a profit ---no harm in that ----lets just plant one type that will make more money much sooner if possible----and name a tree species we have not had issues with when planted out in large monoculture plantations---i dont call them forests as my own personal interpretation of this is---a forest has a wide spread of trees species and age groups plus all the extras that go with it--like fungi, blossoms for honey, and so on. I dont have enough acres to do this large scale so my (future)food forest has only the species types i can harvest from and a few types that will provide shelter ,nitrogen,leaf mulch and improve the site for the slower growers ---and perhaps some coppice later or mushroom logs. One of my sources for seeds ---- our nearest large town has a large polish grocery shop---we do some of our  xmass food shopping at them every year ---they get in netbags of italian chestnuts and hazel nuts(source unknown) ---plus fruits we dont see in our other outlets---like quince---i got a very good germination rate from them ---and good growth rates from the nuts. The quince seeds about 20 or so did germinate ---but my rush to get them out side ---only one made it ---the rest got some rust and wilt ---but the survior is still growing away now
 
Jay Mullaky
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Few pics from today.

I haven't heard of Oak Wilt before. All oaks I am planting have come from local trees.

Ash dieback is in Ireland.

I am hoping the apples trees that I have grown from seed will grow to a good size, would be nice to have some huge apple trees.

The area I am.plantkng at the moment is all flowering trees = apples/pears/hawthorn/blackthorn/bird cherry/flowering cherry. There is also maple/holly/hazel and some rows of Oaks further down the field.

I am trying to get a head start by planting the trees that are in growbags/pots, plus I can reuse the pots/grow bags which is handy

I also have two pictures of posts I have made from spruce branches.

I have also started cutting off corners of fields and planting them. I can then use these areas during lambing as sheltered areas.
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Jay Mullaky
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Not sure if I can embed a Instagram video.

Found some nice patterns in a mountain ash log. Reminds me of a coastline on a map.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2z9ftQIz0w/?igshid=3b6ufs33hnvu
 
Jay Mullaky
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I am finding the drainage pipe very handy for sliding over the trees. I have to do a lot of pruning on the trees but I'm still able to get a decent amount of branches through the pipe.
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Jay Mullaky
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Ventured into the jungle in search of trees I could manage to dig up with the spade.

Planted out
3 Alders
4 Apple
1 Hazel
1 spainish chestnut
1 Oak
2 plum


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This is very inspiring Jay! My mind's been veering in this direction in northeast USA: shepherding sheep or cattle to manage meadow, and managing a tree nursery while reforesting fields.

Is the sheep your main business, at least paying for the cost of these land enterprises (having the animals, tree nursery and reforestation efforts)? How much land are you working on?

Your reforestation methods, so great to see!

Do the sheep harrass the trees or are the tree tubes sufficient?

How do you start the thickets of trees? I saw the potted nursery parts, that's more like what I have going on then I plant out 1 or 2 year old potted or bare-root trees. The thick groves of saplings seems like a nice way to get more mature trees for transplanting, though that transplanting can be hard work.

What's your mowing regime like for the nursery, new saplings, and sheep pastures?

Thanks for this work you're doing!
 
Jay Mullaky
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Up to 73 trees planted so far this planting season.
Planted 8 nice Alders in a wet part of ground that the Oaks couldn't tolerate.

1 Oak
8 Alders
1 Spainish chestnut
63 fruit trees - apple/pear/plum/blackthorn
 
Jay Mullaky
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Hiya Spencer

Sheep will definitely damage the trees. If you plant smaller trees they will jump up and snap smaller branches, and some will strip bark, certain trees are more numerable for this. The main issue I had in the past was them itching on the trees and loosening them, and rams....just keep them far far away.

I have plenty of land to plant trees but I need to keep a certain amount completely free from trees as I have to keep rams in these fields.

In tge past I have planted rows of trees and sprayed the weeds/grass that grow between then with something like roundup very early in spring, before the trees begin to grow but it's a pain. Recently I have just been planting seed in yogurt pots, second year I plant them in a bigger pot or in a ridge and then I use the grass from cutting the lawn on them to help keep the weeds down.
 
Jay Mullaky
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Up to 90 trees planted out.

I have been able to dig out some oaks with the spade, always nice to get a decent rootball.

In that picture there are two pear trees and 5 oaks
IMG_20191109_143113183.jpg
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IMG_20191109_143053123.jpg
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