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need a suggestion for a special area

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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Hi Dave, love the books, read them twice. I have edible forest gardens all over my property in North Central Michigan. I have a couple areas that are giving me fits trying to figure out what to plant there though, it is a mucky wet area zone 4/5 hardiness. This area has some aspen and wild cherry growing as well as some tag alders along one side, but I would like to plant some food forest plants in the area and there is some openings in the canopy as well as a lot of trees dying (ash from emerald ash borer and aspens from old age)..so more canopy layer is opening up all the time.

There is heavy forest duff and good topsoil of black mucky stuff..and I want to put in some edible forest trees, shrubs, plants etc. Can't use blackberry in there as there is orange rust on the wild ones in the area..but would really love some suggestions from Dave or anyone dealing with a similar situation. This area does not really dry out completely but there are some drier areas on the fringes.

Elsewhere on the property we have willow and weeping willow so those are not of interest to us to plant here, we also have ponds with cattails so those aren't wanted either.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
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If you are thinking food, I'd say elderberry would be a prime choice. The native hazelnuts also don't mind some wet. You will have to beat the birds and squirrels to both, though.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Good question. Sounds like some areas I have where there might be standing water in spring for periods, and moisture into summer, but perhaps soils are saturated during bud break requiring tolerance of anaerobic soils, but also tolerance of drydown over summer (my problem, probably not your problem...). In my climate some of the common native shrubs surrogates are willow, spirea, lonicera, rubus spectabilis,... what about that ostrich fern... our ladyfern (athyrium felix-femina) is the local version for fiddleheads.
 
Daniel. Smith.
Posts: 12
Location: zone 6
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You could try
Pawpaws
Solomon's seal
Currants
Gooseberries
Ostrich fern
Elderberries
 
Kitty Hudson
Posts: 33
Location: SW KY--out in the sticks in zone 6.
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Cranberries also grow in seasonal bog areas.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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thanks for the info. I have tried paw paw here and haven't been able to get them to start yet, have elderberry and currant in other areas, think the area is too wet for currants but would probably work OK for elderberries. Really am more interested in canopy trees than shrubs at this point, as the canopy trees could drain off some of the excess moisture.

right now in our wetter areas we have red maple, canadian hemlock, tag alder, quaking aspen and wild black cherry that are growing, but would love to have something that produces food if anyone has any ideas..this is also a zone 4/5 area so they would have to be extremely hardy.
 
Greta Fields
Posts: 218
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Brenda, This sounds like an area here in Ky. where I have seen Ground Nut, a vine, growing. You can eat the tubers, but also the little nutlets that grow all over the vine when it gets big and bushy. The nutlets sorta remind me of soybeans. They are so delicious, I think they could be cultivated.
Indians used to dig up tubers from plants that grow in wet mucky areas.
the plant has a long leaf like an arrow, but I can't think of the name right now.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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I believe you are referring to Apios..I've been hoping to plant it but finding the starter tubers is very difficult..even on the internet.

I wasn't aware though that they grew in wet mucky soil.
 
Greta Fields
Posts: 218
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I don't have my botany book handy, but I think people just call it the Arrowhead plant. I bought some at a pond supply place years ago. I tried planting it in a pond fed by an ice cold creek. it may have been too cold. The next time I see it, I will get some and try growing it around a warmer pond. If I ever get it started, I will send you tubers. The Ground Nut grew in my yard for awhile, but I saw it mostly growing on the banks of a lake.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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oh I have arrowhead in my pond
 
Greta Fields
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Brenda, I never could dig up arrowhead plants. You dig forever, like trying to get up a water lily.
There is a youTube clip where a boy shows people how to start pawpaws in pots.
Also, if you plant native hazelnuts, they may not have any nuts on them, but you can increase pollination by adding Turkish and Spanish hazelnuts, like they do I Oregon. I can't tell them apart from looking at the leaves myself. Hazelnuts grow in wet hollows and on top of creek banks, but I don't know if they can take constantly being wet or not.
Once, I saw wild giant lettuce heads growing on a bog behind a pond. The pond went half down, and left sandy silt. I never saw anything like it in my life. It is up in the woods, so I don't guess it was tame lettuce that somebody planted.
 
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