Anyone have any info on fruit/nut tree guilds, and nitrogen fixing trees that occur in the northern hemisphere? Particularly temperate/boreal canada. Im looking into planting a small guild on a 1/2 acre, any suggestions are much appreciated .
It seems that the reason most folks don't publish actual guilds is that it will change so much from region to region. And then what happens next will be different based on whether you are near a creek, at the bottom of a valley, on a hillside, next to a road, or whatever.
Maybe you have a spot you want to tell us about and some ideas on what you would like to try for that spot and then we can come up with guild stuff for that spot.
here in zone 4/5 of Michigan, not quite Canada, i have planted a lot of fruit and nut trees, the nuts are still babies, but i have done a lot of study of what will grow, and what will actually fruit here..most will grow but some won't fruit in our frosty cold.
I have 3 kinds of walnuts, black walnut, hardy english walnut, and butternut, the black and the butternut are the hardiest of the walnut family but there is also heartnut that might grow in your area.
I have planted 6 hazelnuts, or filberts, they are doing really well. I have 2 sweet chestnut trees doing well. I have planted 4 hardy pecans, only one lived and i don't know if i'll replant those..they aren't as reliable this far north. I have also planted one Halls Hardy Almond, so far it is still doing ok. I put in 2 hickory nuts, they are growing fine.
as for fruit trees, most apples and pears will grow just fine but check the zones and ripening times..cherries and peach family are a bit trickier so you really gotta look for the hardy ones for this far north..sour cherries are hardier than sweet, but i have some north star sweet cherries planted here..I find reliance and some other peaches are hardy, but the trees are not so long lived..plums are also iffy, i have some planted here but so far haven't had anyh grow very well..grapes are good but go with the really hardy ones..i ahve both seedless and seeded varieties..Kiwi are really iffy here.
black and rapsberries grow really really well here..and are very very prliflic, they love our areas..strawberries are more iffy, they will frost in the late froses and freezes.
i have planted paw paws, but aren't sure on them yet and have ordered mulberries buyt haven't been able to get them causwe of recent failures of the crops.
elderberries are really good if you have the proper soil conditionos and also blueberries grow really well if you can give them acid soil. another fruit that does really well here is rhubarb and perennnial crops like asparagus do really well in the north..hope this is helpful
Bloom where you are planted.
I kinda wonder .... somebody could make a "fruit tree guild" seed mix which has all sorts of stuff for all sorts of conditions. And the stuff that does well on a particular soil/climate will do really well. Everything else dies. Business opportunity?
Are you looking to do a homescale 'feed yourself' set of guilds or are you going to be marketing some of these plants? If so that's a real game changer.
Oh and a tip for finding nitrogen fixers in the Evergreen Database link I gave... At the bottom in the 'Interesting Tidbits ' section, you can type in 'nitrogen fix' and it will give you a list of species that do just that.
Kari, P.R. 1995. Tanaina Plant Lore: an ethnobotany of the Dena'ina Indians of South central Alaska. Alaska native language center, U of AK, Fairbanks, AK
They lived and all these plant occur 60-63 degrees north... Veg gets simpler the farther N you go. Ive seen most of these in the land of Spruce.
Lupinus - lupines... lots of them up north - all N fixers easy from seed Mountain and thinleaf alder Alnus crispa and incana - easy from seed on bare ground, resprout from stump, easy coppice and nitrogen fixer, Alpine blueberry - Vaccinium uliginosum, ovalifolium, probably domestic too. Amelanchier alnifolia - selected varieties make nice berries - deer love Vibernum edule - highbush cranberry -- not to my taste personally Salmonberry, red raspberry - Rubus spectabilis and idaeus, easy from root or stem cuttings. Sheperdia canadensis - soapberry... i think this is a N fixer?! Rumex - dock tap root nutrient accumulator, medicine, easy from root cuttings Nettle - fiber and spring greens, nutrient accumulator - easy from root fragments in spring. Wild Potato - Hedysarum alpinum... the one that killed the 'into the wild' guy... eat the roots not the seeds... other pea family plants of the same genus, all nitrogen fixers Norther Yarrow - Achillea borealis - insectary
And one other that is real pretty... Quaking aspen... very clonal, good wood. will spread
Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
i do find that my trees do best if i keep perennial flowering plants under them..in the deep shade areas i have hostas and ferns and solomons seal under apple trees..funny..the deer don't even eat them, they just wait for apple drops..i have things like iris and daylillies and hardy geraniums and violets under some other apple trees, mixes of perennials flowers under cherry and peach trees, and asparagus under wild plum and apple trees..
i plant all my trees in mixed beds with perennial food and flower plants..comfrey and rhubarb are also great under fruit trees, but best to use them under trees that will bear after the frost knocks down the perennials..as otherwise it is difficult to pick up the drops.
or get to them.
i have strawberries also under my sour cherry trees, as a ground cover....they bear before the trees..
i have always combined everything together..but keep grasses away from all of my fruit and nut trees..as grasses will rob from the trees.
Bloom where you are planted.
I would suggest plants of the Elaeagnaceae family for inclusion in your guilds. many are nitrogen fixers and produce delicious and nutritious fruit, not an easy combination to come by. three of the more familiar are goumi, autumn olive, and sea buckthorn, but there are a number of others. very cold hardy, as well. they're great to plant with your nut trees: enrich the soil so the nuts grow faster and you'll get fruit long before the nut trees are mature.
there is a native fruit producing shrub that fixes nitrogen. It is not a legume though. It is an elaeagnus. I am planning on planting it on my place in WV. I only have a half an acre though. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SHCA
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