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Planting two or 3 trees in the same hole...outcomes?

 
Posts: 165
Location: Greenville, Mississippi, USA
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Hi to all,

Two closely planted trees have competing root systems and may end up stunted for that reason but is anyone using a practice of placing two trees (one nitrogen fixing ) in the same hole?  How about two different trees and a nitrogen fixer for a triad? I ask this wondering if I cant create a series of dwarfing bushes for my birds to feed on,  examples: Mulberry-Hackberry-Pigeon Pea,   Serviceberry-Mesquite-Leucaenea.

A related question about planting forage trees in circles, if anyone has done it, what happens in the interspace other than it being a shady refuge? Anything interesting?

I am also interesting in artificially dwarfing the trees as the region has annual hurricanes and would like to try low-profile plantings in a backup that might escape heavy wind damage and even lighting strike.

 Bees make honeycombs, how about 5 short trees locked together for additional strength?  

Thanks, Zone 8a/8b 60 inches of rainfall annually. (Hurricanes AND tornados.)
 
gardener
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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I've tried planting two in one hole, and I don't do it anymore. One will usually out compete the other. If they do grow equally, they will usually grow on just one side and be lopsided.

I do plant them close by though and have had good results as close as 5 feet, and the nitrogen fixers can always be cut back if needed.

I live in a hurricane prone area also, and I've found that larger and more well rooted trees seem to do well in a hurricane. Dwarf trees tend to have tiny root systems that are much more easily blown down. Making sure they are in an area that doesn't get too wet will also help resist getting blown down.

Best of luck Michael!
 
Michael Littlejohn
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Location: Greenville, Mississippi, USA
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Thanks for that Steve.
 
steward
Posts: 5662
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I see a lot of "weedy" trees. By that, I mean trees growing up out of hedges, or growing in orchards. Trees that planted themselves, and were able to survive, and even thrive, in spite of competition from other species. In orchards especially, the weedy species often grow immediately adjacent to the orchard trees, because they avoid the mower.

When I planted apricot seedlings a few years ago, I planted them three feet apart. That is wonderful spacing. It allows me to evaluate the trees. The root systems interlock. They would be great chicken forage. Too dense for the hawks to navigate easily. Some winter-killed. Some may get chopped out for ghastly texture or flavor.
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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I sometimes plant multiples of the same tree in one hole, but always with the idea that they will be thinned to 1 at some point... I put nitrogen fixers quite close sometimes, like a foot, but even that gives a very different config to a shared hole... (so far I have heroically restrained myself from making at least two obscene jokes...)

When I had some overly tall saplings in underly small pots in a windy area, I tied them together with baling twine looped around clusters. Stupid simple, conpletely effective... No more blown over pots. I can see connected circles of trees being very resistant to uprooting, especially if kept short... but the connections seem like the new weak link, and trees that cannot sway with the wind as easily may lose more branches/foliage...


Planing an entire garden or food forest for wind resistance sounds really interesting to me... nice burly hugel berms on the outside?

Carefully graduated heights of everything rising behind the berms, pruned/trained to an over-all shape of a shallow dome?
 
Michael Littlejohn
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Location: Greenville, Mississippi, USA
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Nice thought, 3 foot spacing in time would create a hawk-deflecting cover and the birds could travel beneath it.
 
Michael Littlejohn
Posts: 165
Location: Greenville, Mississippi, USA
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Thanks D for those observations, the idea of planting an entire forest zone built as an experiment in wind resistance is very interesting.
 
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