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Starting a food forest  RSS feed

 
Rianna Stone
Posts: 12
Location: Oklahoma
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I am thinking about putting in a food forest on our property but I had a couple of questions I was hoping you guys could help me with. We have a section of trees between our house and our pond that I think would make a good area for a food forest but there are several cedars in there. We have already talked about taking out the cedars and leaving the oaks that have been growing for a long time. I know cedars have an allopathic effect and I was wondering what would need to be done to the soil to get other plants to grow there once they are removed. Of course many of the cedars are large so they will have extensive root systems. Unfortunately we have a lot of red cedar growing on our property and we plan on removing many of them simply because of the fire hazards they present. There is also a wet weather creek bed that goes through that part of the property and the land gently slopes back to that area so when it rains the water flows back to the pond and the creek bed. Any info you guys can offer is greatly appreciated!

Rianna
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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How big of an area is this? If big enough, I'd lean towards planting a buffer of plants that can handle growing near cedars between the cedar stumps and your production trees.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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if you are removing the cedars, remember that they make wonderful fence posts and other lumber so use them in that way if you have the ability to..maybe even trellises..

I'm not sure about the alleopathy but in gaia's garden there is information on barrier plants..putting a plant between the cedar(or in the gaia's garden case juglone) and the other plants you are putting in..the barriers will help protect the other plants from the alleopathy..

you might look up cedar alleopathy..i did that with walnuts, as we have lots of baby walnut trees I put in..and I'm always putting in more, i love my walnuts.

the info I found most helpful was from the local universities..so when you are googling look for university sites.

i've never really had any problem with the few cedars (eastern red) growing on our propery, but they are in evergreen hedgerows for protection and privacy at the road line..so..they aren't planted near my food forest plants anyway.

things seem to grow quite well on the sunny side of them, but of course they cast so much shade not much would grow in their shade..anyway.

 
Isaac Hill
gardener
Posts: 357
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
9
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And as long as you add a lot of OM it should be alright. Just plant some hardier species that aren't too badly affected by the cedar's alleopathy (a good hint is to look at what grows around it in the wild) around where you had the cedars. There are probably plenty of plants that could go there.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
184
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I agree, add plenty of organic material such as compost or animal bedding. Any effect from the cedar should dissipate in a season of soil activity. This first year your plants might not do so great but after that they should do fine. We have many "cedars" (Ashe Juniper) which we're gradually removing from around the oaks near the house because of the fire danger, and I haven't noticed things doing especially poorly where cedars used to be.
 
Rianna Stone
Posts: 12
Location: Oklahoma
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Thanks guys! The area I am thinking about runs the width of our property which is about an acre or so wide. So it would be about an acre in length and about 50 feet wide. This area is heavy in cedars and wraps around the side of our property up to the house. We probably have around 100 cedars to take out. Many are small but there are few that are 1-3 feet in diameter. We are thinking about using these when we get ready to build our house as support posts where they can be seen so we can enjoy the beauty of the wood. This is such a large area that once it is all planted, we would have more than enough for ourselves and our animals. Once the trees are cut down, would it be best to get a stump grinder to grind down the stumps?

Rianna
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
184
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We just chainsaw the trees off at ground-level and the stumps eventually decay or after a few years can be dislodged with a pickaxe. You can just garden over them; the only place they're a problem is paths and you could solve that by making a nice thick mulch path to cover up the stump.
 
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