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Help! I'm buried in trees!!!

 
pollinator
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Location: Kansas City, MO
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Say I have 180 acres at a family farm.  Maybe 90 of them are beautiful temperate mixed deciduous forest.  Maybe 90 acres have been farmed conventionally, and I'm trying to help my family move away from that. It could be that the wooded 90 is largely dominated by a wealth of trees planted by my great- and great-great-grandfather and protected by spring-fed creeks that make the land generally not favored by entities who farm with machinery that weighs many tons and is guided by satellite navigation.

Say I was anticipating a delivery of seedlings that looked something like this:

Black Chokeberry 25  
Black Walnut 60
Blackberry 25
Cottonwood Cuttngs 25
PawPaw 25
Persimmon 25
Red Mulberry 25
Sandbar Willow 25
Serviceberry 25
Witchhazel 10
Sycamore 10
Rose Mallow 25
Hazelnut 25
Deciduous Holly 10
Wild Pum 10
False Indigo 10
Buttonbush 10
Witch-Hazel 10
Ninebark 10
Eastern Redbud 10
Bald Cypress 10
White Oak 10
Elderberry 25

How would you suggest I approach getting these in the ground to make a lasting investment in the land?  

I like Sepp's radical neglect method of genetic selection, but I don't want to intentionally kill anything that won't tolerate such treatment.

I'm learning as much as I can about the species, their needs, their preferred neighbors, etc, but I'm no a seasoned tree dude, by any means.

I know that "it depends" on many factors, and I'll chime in with more detail as the thread goes along, but I'm ravenous for your thoughts and insights!  Tell me things!  

Of particular interest:
Where should I put these trees?  
Should I protect them from our crazy deer population?  
Maybe-it-looks-something-like-this-from-up-above..png
Maybe it looks something like this from up above.
Maybe it looks something like this from up above.
 
Posts: 65
Location: Haida Gwaii, British Columbia (7b)
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Not a tree guy either, but here’s My two cents:   Many of these trees require or tolerate shade (depending on our age), so you might look into planting some of these (pawpaw, hazelnut, elderberry, Saskatoon/serviceberry, etc) along the edge of existing forest where they can take advantage of weather protection.

Also, this looks like an awesome hypothetical project!
 
Beau Davidson
pollinator
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Simon Gooder wrote:Many of these trees require or tolerate shade (depending on our age), so you might look into planting some of these (pawpaw, hazelnut, elderberry, Saskatoon/serviceberry, etc) along the edge of existing forest where they can take advantage of weather protection.



Good word, Simon! I’ll put that on my spreadsheet.

Also, not sure how I managed to post this to the ethics and philosophy forum. Help, anyone?
 
master steward
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Mark Sheppard has some ideas about how to transition from conventional agriculture to a regenerative style.  I think it involved planting the trees and bushes in rows that allow the larger machinery to still plant/harvest a field crop while the perennials grow up.  Once they get bigger the alley ways get narrower (one pass instead of two) and then eventually you get to your final perennial farm with large nut trees and fruit for the pigs to eat (and to sell) with smaller berry bushes for sale or the critters and more room for annual or perennial crops like pumpkins, asparagus, strawberries, etc.
 
pollinator
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Don't forget about the varmits that love the taste of tree bark.     You might want to put pipes over the lower section of the saplings to protect them from rabbits and mice / rats.

 
gardener
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I will jump in here with my 2 cents as well.

90 acres is a LOT to plant without a major investment in both tree stock and labor.  I doubt you can do this by yourself, or even if you have a few friends to help out.  It would take years, decades.

My suggestion, which will still take a lot of work, would be to use the trees and labor to make wooded lanes across the 90 acres, eventually establishing a series of meadows.  With time the wooded lanes will help fill in the meadows.  Moreover, a series of meadows would look quite nice, especially if planted with a nice cover crop.

This is just a thought that might make the planting of 90 acres a bit less daunting.

Please let me know what you think,

Eric
 
pollinator
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That's a lot of hypothetical trees.

I think you need to spend some time listing the specific needs and tolerances of each tree you're going to use. I would then assemble them in guilds. You might be able to find guild lists for some of your selection, which may make things easier for you.

An example of what I am talking about is the following: let's say you're proceeding with wide treed alleys on-contour, to slow the progress of water off of your land and increase infiltration, and to allow for the potential for alley cropping field crops or for growing pasture in alleys (pastor-alley?). Wherever you have southern exposure on the tree plantings between alleys, that's where trees requiring the most sun should be placed. It is also necessary to think about succession over time. Nut trees, except for hazels, will overtop pretty much everything, and so their shadow should be anticipated, such that where it falls over time be transitioned to those species that thrive in the shade, like hazel and mulberry.

It is also probably a good idea to think about the specific properties of certain of your tree choices. Cottonwoods, for instance, love the water, and also tend to humidify their environment when it's dry. Pawpaws love a humid environment. I would therefore make sure that cottonwoods are planted somewhere wet and that pawpaws be planted within range of their increased effect on humidity, downwind of the prevailing wind direction.

Lastly, look into allelopathy in all of your tree choices. Black walnut, for instance, is allelopathic to a wide variety of other plants and trees, meaning that its root exudates include a substance which inhibits germination and growth of some other plants, to give itself and its seeds a competitive advantage. I would probably locate my "walnut guild" on the downplume side of the property with regards to how the subsurface water moves.

I aspire to having problems like these. Please keep us posted, with pics, if you're so inclined. Let us know how you proceed, and good luck.

-CK
 
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