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best sources to buy trees? and what do i do with extra downed wood.

 
faith alkire
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ok we have the land. we have the house plans. and we are ready to start clearing the part that has to be cleared to build the house and a few other site options. Also due to serious allergies we will be removing all conifers from the site. Now I want to replace these trees with fruit and nut trees partially to add to the food supply but also so we are not losing an oxygen source. so my question is where would be the best place to buy trees should i go to a big box store a local greenhouse or use an online source like the arbor day foundation. also should i go with dwarf semi or full size. they will be on the west side of the house to provide shade in the summer but i want them to allow light in the winter. Also since we will not be using any of it for firewood though we will be using some of it in the places we need timbers in our framing of our earthbag house (Roof and 2nd Floor) what should i do with the rest of the wood there is only so much to mulch and compost on an acre of land. And i know it may seem wrong to some but i refuse to sell it for firewood as i don't want the carbon released into the atmosphere.
 
John Polk
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In the past, there have been a lot of negative posts here about the quality of Arbor Day trees received.

A local nursery is probably the best, as you would be buying trees that were grown in your climate.

In another post, you indicated that you were in WV. If so, check out this ($1-2 ea) for nut trees:
http://www.wvforestry.com/2011-2012%20Seedling%20Catalog.pdf
That is Clements State


 
John Elliott
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Make biochar out of it. First, pile it up and make a big bonfire. No, no, it's all right, you have to release a little CO2 into the air to be able to turn the rest of the biomass into carbon that will stay sequestered in the soil for a long time.

When the bonfire dies down and the pieces in the fire no longer look like logs and branches, but more like coals in the fireplace, it's time to quench the fire. Hose it down good and stir or rake it around, realizing that it can still be quite hot and re-ignite. Usually, I let it steam for 10 minutes and then give it another drench and stir.

Now that you have a pile of biochar (but much, much smaller than the pile of wood you started with), you can apply it to your soil. Biochar application rates are measured in tons per acre (10 tons per acre being about a half-pound per square foot), so it's real hard to overdo the application. Those terra preta soils in South America were probably built up over centuries of biochar application by the indigenous people. Work it into your soil, add it to the mulch around the fruit trees, grind it up in a blender and add it to compost and compost tea, there are many different ways to get the benefits of biochar.
 
faith alkire
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to both John's thank you as I had completely forgotten about the forestry's program and I had never heard of bio-char. I admit that we have a lot to learn as we try to go as green as we can. heck you should see our notes on a grey water system. which the county we are in allows for use as irrigation as long as you are more then a certain yardage from a ground level water source. I'm half way up a mountain and the closest stream is at the bottom so we are golden on that one.
 
Terri Matthews
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I also got trees from my state forestry department: the selection was limited but the trees were strong and the price was right!

Oh, yes: when the woods rots the carbon is released, just as if they were burned. So, you might as well do what is convenient. Also google hugelculture on the permies site: I have never done it but, apparently, wood is buried and when it is half-rotted it retains water. People plant vegetables over the buried wood, and the damp wood waters the plants.
 
faith alkire
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Terri Thank you i was planning that big german word for my raised beds i just can never remember what it is called. Oh and when wood rots in the ground the carbon is returned to the ground to nourish plants not all at once to the air where it won't get absorbed fast enough. we originally were looking for something already cleared to build on but since my parents are willing to deed over part of it early I figure that starting for free is better then starting with a loan. permiculture on a budget and trying to be responsibly green that is our goal as we want there to be things for our kids when we leave this world and i don't want that to be a gmo processed pop-tart.
 
John Polk
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Yeah. Starting with a loan can be a tough way to go.

It often means becoming a slave to an outside job, and the lender.
And since the land will eventually cost you 3X the sales price, you have very little 'spare cash' to put into the land.

 
Rebecca Norman
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food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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Q about bio-char
I tried reading all the pages I could find about biochar on this site but couldn't find the basic info. Could someone please give a link to the basic concept and instructions for biochar?

If we happen to have bits of charcoal after a fire, would it be useful to throw it down the composting toilet or in the compost heap? Will that improve the compost as well as inoculating the the biochar?
 
John Elliott
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Rebecca, if you do a Google search for biochar, you can find many sellers of it promoting their product and suggested application rates. If you search on Google Scholar, you can find all sorts of academic papers on how it improves crop yield. A name to search on is Johannes Lehmann, he is a prof at Cornell who has done a lot of groundbreaking (like that pun there?) work on the subject. There are also plenty of YouTube videos on both how to make and how to apply biochar.

But you have the basic idea right already. Biochar are the little bits of unburned charcoal left after the fire goes out, and throwing it in the composting toilet, the compost pile, soaking it with compost tea, these all inoculate all the little pore spaces of the charcoal with beneficial soil organisms. I like to grind it up with an immersion blender in a Big Gulp size plastic cup of water and then add it to a bucket of compost tea, use it as a root drench, cover the bottom of a new planting bed, etc.
 
Ivan Weiss
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Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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faith alkire wrote:so my question is where would be the best place to buy trees should i go to a big box store a local greenhouse or use an online source like the arbor day foundation. also should i go with dwarf semi or full size..


Everybody on permies.com should know about Lawyer Nursery. They are in Plains MT with a branch in Olympia WA. Do not be put off by the Web site's statement that they are wholesale only. They will sell to you if you ask them pretty please. They have a lot of plants that permies love. But you have to buy in large quantities to get the lowest prices. I hope this is helpful. This is an excellent source of excellent nursery stock.
 
faith alkire
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thank you all i appreciate all your advice and knowledge now to start marking trees to clear. ie the hard part. lol
 
alex Keenan
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I see alot of talk about price when looking for sources of plant material.
When it comes to plants or animals genitics count. With animals it costs the same amount of money to feed a good animals as it does a bad animal.
Plus the purchase price is seldom the major cost of ownership over the animals life time.
With plant it is a little different but similar. In my area we have fireblight. Cheap trees that can not take fireblight are likely to be attacked and many will die or be badly damaged.

So before price one should set requirements that must be met in selecting plant or animal.
Only when you have a solid set of requirement that meet your ecology and local conditions can you then start focusing on price.
With plants you then get into price versus time. Younger plants tend to cost less but require more time to grow.

Then there is also skill and knowhow. Can you purchase root stock and graft your own woody plant materials?

Finally, there is collecting seed from good stock and raising your own seedlings.

So best sources of plant material can be a very complicated question.

It would be easier to ask "What nurseries sells X grade of Y plant material at wholesale prices in quantities small enought for me to purchase."
 
Ed Waters
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Never been disappointed with Coldstream Farm. Blueberry Croft for Aronias. LazySSFArm for unusual varieties. Richters for small stuff and ground cover along with medicinals.

Good Luck
 
faith alkire
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alex Keenan wrote:I see alot of talk about price when looking for sources of plant material."


I actually wasn't asking about price i was asking for an opinion on where to look for the best trees not the best priced trees. a tree is a 25-100 year investment so i want good reliable sources
 
Ed Waters
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Burtridge, Forestfarm, and Raintree are all excellent, a bit pricey. We have also used some of the big wholesale nurseries in TN but the results have not been very good at all.
 
Kelby Taylor
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Location: SE Pennsylvania, USA
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I would suggest regardless where you buy, if you're getting bareroot trees to stick them in a pot for a year. Regardless what sepp holzer does, it is hard to get bareroot trees to grow well when directly planted.

I work in a nursery, we occasionally buy bareroot product and sometimes lose 25% even when babying them in containers. Letting them develop some root system will make transplanting much easier with fewer losses, giving you stronger trees.
 
Ed Waters
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Kelby: I have done this, but for the most part it was in the Spring when we are just too busy to get everything we ordered in the ground. Have not tried it for a whole year. What do you do with these plants in the winter? We have tried ordering and planting in the Fall, but have had problems with the frost pushing them out of the ground so your solution would be a big help.
 
Kelby Taylor
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Location: SE Pennsylvania, USA
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Ed Waters wrote:Kelby: I have done this, but for the most part it was in the Spring when we are just too busy to get everything we ordered in the ground. Have not tried it for a whole year. What do you do with these plants in the winter? We have tried ordering and planting in the Fall, but have had problems with the frost pushing them out of the ground so your solution would be a big help.


Easiest thing to do, if they are in containers, put them in a shed or unheated garage. The winter wind is what will normally kill plants in containers; the root systems will freeze out.

If you get bareroot in fall, you can try heeling them in some compost for the winter, bury the roots lightly and mulch them so they don't dry out.
 
Ed Waters
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Thanks Kelby: if we get bare root in the fall why shouldn't we just pot them up then? I thought healing them in was temporary in the Spring.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Transplanting the bareroot twice is not good it equals more lost. I have over 4 dozen fruit and nut tree, I planted them bare root and they are all ok.
Planting them in the fall is best they get to grow a root system without transpiring water thru leaves or deal with hot sun. Plus in the fall/winter the soil usually have enough water.
If you plant in the spring. Then you the plants have less time to grow a good root system before the temp rises, but I have had good luck so far. Plus a nursery owner/worker cant really plant in ground because they have to sell them back(plus virus/pest free stipulations) so container is the way to go for a nursery but not for a homeowner.

If you plan on harvesting then dwarf is the way to go, if you just want to have it then full size is what I would go with.
One green world has the best success, nothing dies but they cost $25 not $2.
 
Ed Waters
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Good discussion and really important for people that want to start their own forest gardens. I have only purchased once from one green world and the plants were superb on arrival. Here though is the problem, we start digging on what we want to be a natural swimming pond next week. If I have to pay high prices for shore and swamp plants I can't do the project, and that is just for a 1/4 acre pond. I think sometimes there are nurseries that cater to people like us that want to do the right thing, and charge us too much. I have seen ramp plants advertised for as much as $7/plant, when a company in WVA will sell you in bulk for a fraction of that and I mean a tiny fraction of that. We have 45 English Walnut trees that I found from a wholesaler in Wisconsin, and we paid $1.45 for each of them. We lost a couple because I'm stupid, but the rest of them look fine. We lost 50 blueberries this spring which is why I cannot totally dismiss the idea of potting up for a year. Next spring we want to bring another 5 acre area into production. If you want to do something on a larger scale with the end goal to make a living of it, then we have to minimize our out of pocket. Once again, I cannot disagree with you, we have bought from Miller, Raintree, etc, and their plants are amazing, but we cannot do large areas with their prices.

Last thing we try doing our propagation from nuts, layering, cuttings, but if there is a best way to work with wholesale suppliers then I would be interested in hearing best methods.

Thanks!!
 
John Polk
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If you want to plant from seed, I highly recommend these people:
http://www.treeshrubseeds.com/catalog.asp

They have the largest selection I have seen anywhere, and their prices are very reasonable.

 
Ed Waters
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Thanks John, that is an amazing source.
 
scott romack
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I am in the same boat as you looking for good trees at a good price.
I think we are supposed to get a few good starts and then propagate more from them?
 
chris cromeens
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Location: north texas 7b now 8a
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If you have been that brainwashed (we all are about 1 thing or another) about the carbon thing, then you should build a wood gasifier plant to make your bio-char it will release co2 but not co1 will allow you to run a gas engine on burning wood w/ a byproduct of bio-char. here is a link gasifier. If you want to go all out eco style, I have on the drawing board a wood gasifier using a rocket stove w/ exhaust (co2 and h2o) piped into the greenhouse which is completely permy, all byproducts used as a resource with nothing going to waste.
 
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