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our own private nature trail! need some suggestions  RSS feed

 
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My husband cut three entrances and three intersecting "trails" through 16 wooded brushy acres. there are already blackberries and now I know honey locust.  there are many more things to identify that might be edible. I would like to make it an "wild edibles" path. do you have any suggestions for trees and shrubs? it absolutely can't be anything that will get out of control. but it also needs to be something that will carve its own niche out with minimal help from humans.

a mulberry tree is a possiblity and probably a pecan...but my mind freezes after that.

 
pollinator
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elderberry, blueberry..raspberry..(put a barrier around them to keep contained), logan berry, currant, gooseberry, serviceberry, dogwood, helmock, grapevines, kiwi, hazelnut, other nuts, paw paw, rhubarb, asparagus on the edges, in any open spots where the sun gets through consider dwarf or regular cherry, apple, plum, peach, nectarine, apricot, or other fruit trees...right there at the beginning where the path enters the woods..

put in a few flowers for pollinators..like columbine, hosta, some ferns? mosses..if there are damp areas.

put in a few birdhouses too..and bat and maybe your bees..here and there..and a bench or two to sit and observe..
 
Leah Sattler
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oh my! thanks brenda!

my neighbor just gave me four dogwoods. elder berry! I can't believe that didn't pop up first thing in my head!
 
Brenda Groth
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you are welcome elderberry is my favorite !!! I make jell every year, used to give it for christmas presents but when i found out people were passing it on and on and no one was even opening it to try it..i finally quit giving it and kept it for myself and those who really loved it..my mom..and inlaws.

it is so easy to make..don't even have to remove the berries from the stems to cook up the juice.
 
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Elderberry is recommended highly in this Oklahoma Gardening book that I have. So is Soapberry. It's berries are said to be toxic, but can be used for soap-making and it apparently attracts butterflies, bees, etc.

http://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/print.cfm?ID=152

http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/ethnobot/images/soapberry.html
 
Brenda Groth
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i have some berries in a wooded area that are kinda invasive but not thorney, they are called snowberries..i believe they are related to coralberries..but are white..large berries..not sure if they are edible or not..as my edible plants book has a snow berry but it isn't the same plant..that is a creeping one..and mine is a shrub..leaves are different.

elderberries are fantastic ..you can also use the flowers in fritters and wine and other drinks..

I want to cut trails back through our woods this year too..but we have a problem this spring we have never really had before..usually it is only a UP problem or Canada..but this year we have had such a cold wet spring we have a black fly (gnat) invasion..and it is awful around here outside..unless the wind is blowing your head off..the things eat you alive..hopefully it will not last.
 
Leah Sattler
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I have wanted to try my hand at elderberry wine for a while so i need to get going on finding some saplings. if they do well in oklahoma then it sounds as if they would be an excellent addition to the "wild" parts of the property.

brenda - your jelly story reminds me of my eggs. I gave some to my inlaws. they were afraid to eat them. they had them for months and months and then asked me around easter if they would still be good enough to dye for easter decorations. my sister and brother in law won't eat eggs not bought from a store either. 
 
Brenda Groth
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elderberries grow well from cuttings..here they are not in bloom yet so they might be in your area..watch for large clumps of white flowers that hang heavy in the trees, in the ditches along the roadways near wetlands or swamps

locate the trees this year..and plant to get some of the flowers for fritters and wine and then wait on the berries..also get yourself some cuttings..i'm going to have to look up the best time to take the cuttings cause it isn't on the tip of my brain..but get yourself plenty and you should have berries on your own in a few years..but make a note of where you see them and then go back and harvest the berries when they are black, before the birds get them..

take big bags to put your haul in..as one tree will fill a bag pretty full.

if you are making juice or jelly..don't do any more than just rinse off the bugs..and put the berries stems and all in a big kettle with a little water and cook the juice out of them..then pour off the jucie through a colander and save it and toss the berries on your compost heap..add sugar and pectin or apples and make your jelly..i prefer it without the apples..but some prefer with...or make wine with the juice if you prefer..or you can can up the juice for later too..it is best sweetened..and do not eat the berries raw.

you can make them into pies as well..i haven't..and you can mix them with other fruit for your pies..like apples or peaches or whatever..as they are ready about the same time.

i have a elderberry tree in my front yard that grew from bird droppings..go figure..and then i have 3 planted by my pond.

you might find some in your wetter areas of your own property if you are lucky..don't know when the bloom in your area..but we have a little while before they bloom here yet.
 
Leah Sattler
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I'll keep my eyes out! why can't you eat them raw? what about dried? I find wild cherries all the time. I am not the best at tree identification and for the longest time didn't know whether the tree in my backyard was a wild cherry or elderberry. I'm still not sure I would reckognize the diff if I were to approach them. 

I ran a across a cool list with good pics. its for texas but we aren't far from TX and so i'm sure many of the trees are the same. I wish they had a way to browse pics so I wouldn't have to just randomly open them just to find out they aren't even close to what I am looking for.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/natives/indexcommon.htm
 
Brenda Groth
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the cherry flowers on wild cherries tend to be along a stem in an elongated clump..the elderberry flowers are more of an upside down umbel shape..(like dill)..and white white..

the stems all come from one central point for the flowers..some cherries are like that too though..but the elder flower hangs down heavy..from the central point..

like the flower is too heavy for the plant..

the bark is different..wild cherry has a dark burgundy bark on the trunk often with tiny light colored spots on it..

also wild cherry are host to army or tent worms..
 
                          
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hazelnut if it will nut for you- chill hours issue
 
Leah Sattler
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that is what has made me hesitate with hazel nuts before. I found out recently that chill hours is why people tend not to try and grow sweet cherries. the moderate climate has its benefits and its downfalls pecans are pretty happy nearby so I think I will stick with them for now.
 
                              
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Leah

Walnut trees do well here, also consider hickory. If you have never had hickory nuts, trust me, they are soooo sweet! But they are also a B*#@*% to get the nut meat dug out.  Persimmon would be good also.

How I envy you and your family.

Leigh
 
Leah Sattler
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oh thank you! i hadn't really considered hickory or walnut. although now that I think about it I have found walnut trees while hiking around other parts of oklahoma and they seemed to be thriving and loaded with nuts.....although I can see why it would be a chore to get to the nut!
 
Brenda Groth
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so how is your nature trail coming along now? i wasn't able to get to mine..this year..just too many projects to do..maybe i can get a start on it in the fall..i did cut down a few saplings to make a path..but that is as far as i got..about 40 or 50 '..right now i'm building a shed.
 
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