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Top five homesteading trees - besides fruit

 
paul wheaton
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Leaving out the obvious fruit and nut trees, what would be your top five trees for the homestead?

My own list:

black locust
sweet sap silver maple
willow for the wet spots
oak with a low tanin acorn for mast
mulberry

 
Gwen Lynn
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What is a sweet sap silver maple vs. just a regular silver maple?

I'm curious because in warmer areas with long growing seasons, Silver Maples can really be problematic. We had a wicked bad ice storm a few years back and the silver maples were hit very hard.
 
Leah Sattler
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I've never heard of a sweet sap silver maple. are they for harvesting the sap?  I guess silvers may be good for erosion control. they generally make the ground beneath them virtually unplantable due to their roots being so close to the surface. the larger ones I see are almost paved with roots beneath that have emerged from the soil to cover the ground. they spread like crazy too. almost like mimosa and as gwen pointed out they are destroyed in the ice storms because of their growth habits (my guess is the growth habit..it is weird. seemingly without a main trunk often) . silver maples and bradford pears are on my list of trees I don't like. maybe the sweet saps are different.

 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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paul wheaton wrote:
Leaving out the obvious fruit and nut trees, what would be your top five trees for the homestead?

My own list:

black locust
sweet sap silver maple
willow for the wet spots
oak with a low tanin acorn for mast
mulberry




would this not come down to needs for the site. EG: wind breaks, fire wood, fodder or even mulch trees, shade trees.
I would think each site would be different and needs would also be conclusive for direction/useage of property
 
Gwen Lynn
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Bird had a good point, I wondered the same thing regarding windbreaks, etc.

Regarding Silver Maples, a quick google seems to indicate that a silver maple is a silver maple, which is a tree known for fast growth & weak wood. (The latin name saccharinum refers to the sweet sap).

Somewhere in my mind I seem to remember hearing that fast growth trees have more problems in areas with short winters/long growing seasons. Maybe silver maples do better up north?

http://www.biosurvey.ou.edu/shrub/acsa2.htm
 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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A few years ago i heard of a tree called a palwonia some sort of quick growing tree used for nitogen fixing, timber good for construction, hardwood workable like a soft wood?
a friend tried growing them in SA (mediteranian climate) grew fast but cockies ate the tops and pollarded the trees and they were no longer any use as no longer able to grow straight timbers
 
paul wheaton
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These are YOUR picks - so, of course, you want to pick what is a good fit for your situation.

Sweet sap silver maple:  The sugar is 2.5 times more concentrated than a sugar maple and is tappable in nine years instead of the 30 years required for a sugar maple.

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I'm fond of persimmon: the fruit is tasty, and the wood is the traditional choice for golf club heads and for Japanese cabinetry.
 
Gwen Lynn
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Well, once again I learned something. I didn't know that silver maples were used for anything! I am still giving this five tree list some thought. I have to use my imagination because I don't have acreage to work with. So I guess it would be my fantasy list of trees. Hmmmmm....
 
Leah Sattler
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oak is definitly on my list. for wildlife, wood and durability.

willow for fast growth for animal feed and potential medicinal properties as well as providing easy to access rooting hormone for starting other plants. it also likes wet areas which is a need for me.
 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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this could be usefull in warmer areas

Samanea Saman (Rain Tree)

pulp in seed pops edible by humans
leaf, seed pods good animal food
timber used for construction, boat building, carving
fixes nitrogen in soil, so improves pasture near tree
supplies nitrogen rich mulch

Huge shade tree up to 100ft spread, not suitable for small areas

www.agroforestry.net/tti/Samanea-raintree.pdf
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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well for our property right now we have

aspen quaking..or poplar..it is a wonderful nurse tree and yes you can burn it for firewood if properly cured...it is also wonderful browse for wildlife, our deer love it.

oak, nothing better for a good shade tree with animal feed (humans can eat the acorns too) and i plant them all over, they do take a while to grow but they are worth it.

white ash...although the ash tree borers have become a problem, we have a lot of white ash here, it is great for shade and firewood and provides a lot of keys for human or wildlife food, but i admit we are worrying about the borers.

Canadian Hemlock is a staple tree for our property, it keeps its branches to the ground, and it provides tons of shelter for our wildlife as well as makes a very fast growing windbreak, they smelll wonderful and you actually can eat the needles if you are starving.

Red Maple, we distribute these here and there throughout our property cause they grow quickly, make good shade trees and firewood and they are absolutely gorgeous in the fall..they provide good leaves for garden mulch as well and they aren't as seedy as some of the other maple trees.

i also agree with some of tthe others mentioned
 
                                
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My top five for this area, middle Tennessee zone 6.
Red Cedar, Tulip Poplar, White oak, Bois D'arc and Maple.
 
              
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Location: West Iowa
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Top trees I like for permaculture besides fruit and nut trees would be

1) hybrid willow, specifically the hybrid that was bred in new zealand, also known as the austree and many other names.  Good along streams, good erosion control, temporary windbreak, good rabbit and deer fodder, also a deer rub favorite.  Also, I think squirrels strip upper branches.  They become huge in a hurry, and probably would have holes form in them, which would be good wildlife habitat.  Example: planted 5ft stake this spring along an everpresent stream, and it grew 13ft this year, so it was 18ft tall  by the end of its first growing season. 

2) white poplar, a beast among trees, forever suckering, and creating its own world to thrive in.  Perfect for needs of alot of low quality wood in short time frame.  More drought hardy than alot of poplars, easy to transplant.  Beautiful on a windy day.  Can start from suckers and cuttings easily. 

3)  black locust, if it didn't have insect problems, would be one of the most known trees in america.  Is said to have very durable wood in contact with soil, nitrogren fixing,  and no other tree besides sumac transplants for me better than this tree.  Very fast growing in its youth.  It is beyond comprehension how useful this tree would be if borers weren't such a problem.  I've only started growing it in last 5 years, so they are still small

4)staghorn sumac seems like a good nurse tree.  Harsh climate here and these grow fast and spread fast, so they create their own mini environment.  I also have native smooth sumac, but doesn't grow as fast, as tall, or spread by roots as fast for me.

5)I love evergreens such as norway spruce, redcedar, ponderosa pine, and pitlolly pine  for fast growth, greening up the winter and stopping winds and for wildlife cover, and their aroma..
 
Travis Philp
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Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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I'm in central Ontario, Zone 5b. I'm in a flood plain with groundwater close to the surface, and loamy/sandy soil. My top picks would be:

Black Maple- supposedly similar sugar content % in the sap compared to sugar maple but more suitable to wet areas

White Birch- suitable for firewood, lumber, and syrup production, and a pioneer species

Eastern White Cedar- fast growing, suitable for firewood, lumber, fenceposts, and evergreen windbreaks

Green Alder- one of the only native nitrogen fixing trees in my region, suitable for firewood and wet areas

Balsam Poplar- fast growing, sprouts suckers easily, decent firewood or low grade lumber, the buds are medicinal, and as with my other picks its good in wet areas
 
Travis Philp
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Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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Brenda:

Have you tried making syrup with your red maples? I found a stand of about 45 mature red maples near my cottage and the sap from them was sweeter than any sugar maple I'd ever tasted, with more of a complex flavour as well. Almost fruity. Maybe this is not the norm and was due to specific genetics or microclimate but I couldn't believe the difference!

I highly recommend giving it a try if you haven't already.
 
Heda Ledus
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Location: San Francisco
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Acacia- Nitrogen fixer; drought/fire/frost resistant; quick growing; with edible chocolate/hazelnut flavor seeds.

Honey Palm- drought/fire/frost/ resistant; fronds used for construction, basketry, thatching, compost; edible golf-ball sized coconuts with rare sap for profit to be made into wine or syrup.

Tagaste-drought/fire/frost/cool tolerant; nutritious fodder; nitrogen fixer; soil builder; windbreak

Andean Alder- cool/frost/fire tolerant; coppices well; fodder.

Giant Redwood- cool, drought, fire, frost tolerant; soil builder; high-value lumber; soil builder; wildlife forming, native, ecological cornerstone.


 
                          
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paul,

u've got me all fired up about the sweet sap silver maple and the possibility of using dozens of mature silvers i have on my place.  i don't know if u read my post in the maple syrup section, but the syrup i made from silver maples in ohio was TERRIBLE. it was so bad i couldn't eat it.  have u had any success with it?  yes, the books say it works, but i have yet to hear from someone who has actually tapped them and made delicious syrup.

also, do u know of a cheaper source for the sweet sap SM than the $22/each guy?  thanks!
 
                          
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LOCUST: i love singing the praises of locust.  i think it is one of the most under-apprectiated trees out there. above and beyond fence posts, which everyone seems to know about, the wood is fabulous for building.  it's the second hardest wood in north america second only to osage orange.  i mill my own lumber and even though it is very slow to cut, it makes awesome lumber and is worth the time and effort.  forget nailing it even when it's green.  u have to drill it.  and even then it will bend the thickest nails if ur hole is drilled too small. turners love it, too.

POPLAR: it's the softest of all the "hardwood" in north america. excellent framing lumber. strong, light, fast growing and usually grows straight as an arrow.  when it has "mineral stain"  it can have the most amazing rainbow colors;  purple, green, yellow, orange and blue all swirled together.
 
Did you see how Paul cut 87% off of his electric heat bill with 82 watts of micro heaters?
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