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Shade trees in zone 6

 
vicke adams
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Hi Mark,
I know you are doing some good work in our area (near Tahlequah, OK). Unfortunately, I have not met you yet but I will! I am trying to decide on a couple of good shade trees to put on the west side of my cabin to block the hot summer sun. My conditions are: poor rocky soil, kind of dry, would like it to grow relatively fast, if possible would like it to provide something edible or be a companion/nurse for something edible. A tree that the goats wouldn't demolish would be nice but I know that probably isn't likely. I will just need to protect them from the goats, anactivity which seems to occupies a lot of my time.

I look forward to your answer and to meeting you at some event in the near future!

Vicke
Goingsnake Farm
Proctor, OK
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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So you are looking for a 30ft+ tree, in zone 6. Most nut trees would fit the bill, some mulberry, pawpaw, apple, pear.
If all you want is fast then hydrid willow, polar, empress is the way to go.
Are you just planting one tree or are you looking a 1+ acre setup.
 
Marvin Warren
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While the shade would be relatively dappled at first, honey locust would be a fairly good choice for goat-resistance and as a nurse-plant and minor food source. Mesquite is another option--the 'beans' make a sweet-tasting, protein-rich powder. In a wet or seasonally-wet area I might suggest a progression of species from poplar to locust to something more productive like a nut tree or mulberry. Look up 'zero-' or 'xeroscaping' for more suggestions on drought-tolerance. Digging out your planting hole extra-deep to catch water and adding lots of mulch to hold it always helps.

Also, I've been wanting to visit Oklahoma for a while, if for no other reason than no one I know can say anything good about the state, and I want to see all the amazing work y'all are doing there and spread the word! I'd love to be in touch with y'all about possibly visiting for a couple weeks sometime and helping out with any designs or installations.
 
vicke adams
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From what I have read, a PawPaw tree grows only to a height of 25 feet and requires protection while it is small. I have nothing on the west side which is why I am looking for rather quickly growing shade trees. I have had both apple and pear trees at other locations and do not consider either of these to grow large enough to provide good shade. Also, I don't think that I have good growing conditions for a Pear tree. A fruiting Mulberry is a thought. I have grown them before and they do fairly well in this area. I have used their berries, as when the kids were small, they would collect them and I would have to do something with all those little berries. However, I guess I was hoping that Mark would suggest a type of chestnut or other productive tree that would grow into a large tree (more than 30 ft) and do well in the poor rocky soil we have in this area.
 
vicke adams
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Yes, I follow all the traditional permaculture guidelines for maximizing water retention. I have to as I use only rainwater collection for all indoor and outdoor needs. Whatever trees I plant will require all the help that I can give them. We are way behind on rainfall here in a drought that is now at least two years in the making. I live in a very woody area with only a small clearing for my pasture and garden. However, most of the trees that grow around me are scrub oak and hickory. There are some smaller trees that grow in the understory, like Redbud. I am towards the top of a rocky hill. Here they call it a mountain but compared to where I was raised, it's just a hill or more correctly alluvial plateau. I've only been here for about 18 months and spent most of the time working on my cabin although I do have a producing greenhouse, goats, chickens, horse, guineas, etc.
 
laura sharpe
Posts: 244
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I live near chicago but i am also zone 6. My tree solution was a maple, I do not know what goats would do for that but isnt that why they sell chicken wire? This was a choice I made before I considered a food forest but I do not regret it, red maples are food for the soul...but it will be years and years before that particular tree will shade the house....so there is an intermediate solution running right into the permies philosophy.

Bamboo...nothing will shade a two story house faster than bamboo. Will it grow tall enough...yes you buy a taller variety (which is not rare at all), I made sure to buy one that could take full sunlight while my tree grows. I also looked for a variety with thinker stalks so I could built things with it as well as not weep too much. I wont lie to you about bamboo suitable for this task, it is all a running bamboo which could become a problem if you do not keep it in control.

Controlling bamboo can be fairly simple but it does require attention twice a year for my solution, a ditch filled with sand. You can read all about this at http://www.bamboogarden.com/ so no need for me to repeat.

This is a picture of the bamboo I chose http://www.bamboogarden.com/Phyllostachys%20aureosulcata%20'Aureocaulis'.htm , to help me in the selection of the bamboo I used the price page to look at growing zone, light conditions tolerated and height of the bamboo. I went to individual pages to find how thick the stems would be. I had good experience with the people at bamboo garden in oregon but I see no reason not to buy elsewhere, it is just a very convenient sight for looking up growing conditions. I do not see that you get much benefit from ordering a larger pot, the bamboo will just lay there a year gaining strength then take off growing for you.
 
vicke adams
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Hmm... bamboo is a very interesting thought. I wonder if I could get it to grow in this rocky soil? I will have to look into varieties and see if I can find something. I like the idea. Also, I'm pretty sure it could survive occasional goat incursions.

Just so you know, I have not found that chicken wire is suitable for keeping goats out of anything. It takes that no-climb horse field fencing or electric netting. Last week I found Sugar (Nubian/Saanen doe) balanced with back feet on a tree limb and front feet on a barbed wire fence like a tight rope walker so she could reach the blackberry leaves on the other side! I love my goats.
 
laura sharpe
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lol a sight to see for sure.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://permies.com/battery
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