Does anyone have links to resources listing trees by climate? Or could anyone suggest some for us?
Our situation: we have about 5 acres in west Wales, theoretically equivalent to Zone 9 but it's really not at all in practice. The climate is WET - nearly 2 meters of annual rainfall, no dry season but autumn/winter is the wettest, our site is very exposed to wind. Most of the land has a good aspect, but we don't get huge amounts of sunshine owing to the constant rain! Some areas are quite boggy (I've just posted about that in the soil forum), some are pasture. We have very few mature trees - just a few sycamore (British sycamore, not plane trees) and some spruce. We also have some young leylandii which will come out in a few years, an old hawthorn hedge badly in need of work, and quite a lot of grey willow growing in the wild wetlands area. I have planted a lot of mixed thorny hedge (hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, rose) but they are tiny and will take years to come to anything. I'm also planting a lot of alder in the wetter parts. We have a few young fruit trees in and more planned. I would also like to put in a lot more hazel for nut production, try siberian pea shrub as a thorny hedge plant, and try siberian and korean pine if i can get them to germinate, for nuts and windbreak.
Ultimately I want to achieve all the usual things from trees: food, firewood, windbreak, privacy screening, soil improvement (erosion protection, drying out wet areas, etc)
But a lot of trees that are really popular permie ones don't seem to be suitable for our site because they either need more sunshine than we tend to get, or don't like exposed and windy conditions. I was hoping to do mulberry but not sure it will be hardy enough, for example.
Damsons! Plums never seem to ripen in Wales, but their wilder cousin does fine. Also elder - both the flowers and the berries are amazing. Hazel grows well but I never got mature nuts from them, despite a whole childhood of scrumping them. Apples do OK. Rowan is good, but you won't really want too many rowan berries unless you have very different taste-buds to mine. Some of the fast growing hybrid willows will probably do well for you - they give firewood, branches for goats, bark for painkillers and material for basket work. Blackthorn for sloe-gin.
I'll keep thinking and might come up with a few more.
Thanks we do have one little damson in so far, a variety from N wales so it should be hardy enough but it's only little. blackthorn is in the mixed hedge, they do ok except this year, no fruit anywhere?!
sad to hear about the hazels - in Bristol we got TONS of nuts, I have high hopes...
how fast-growing is rowan? i'm not that into the berries but if it's fast growing i could make use of it... would chickens like the berries perhaps?
elder for sure, we've put a few small ones in
i've also planted an autumn olive in the hopes that it will grow fast enough to provide wind protection and N for other fruit trees. apparently it does great in the wind.
oh, i also planted about 50 tiny ash seedlings, the week before ash die-back hit Cymru, doh. but a few could make it...
I think we'll be putting in more damsons and possibly a couple of bullace if i can get hold of them, trying to find more tree fruit that will do ok, since a lot of things just end up stunted and sad looking (we inherited the world's saddest apple tree, didn't even blossom this year)
You need to try some of my bald cypress trees. I don't know how popular they are in the British Isles, but with climate change, more and more of your territory is going to be conducive to growing it. I have read where they have it growing in Scotland, but it doesn't set seed and grow new seedlings there, so maybe that is the furthest north extent of it.
Read up on it, and if you want to start some from seed, I will be glad to include you on my mailing list when I do this winter's seed collection.
John, thanks for your reply. That looks good, although PFAF says that the branches are vulnerable to wind damage, which could be a drawback on our very windy site. We are further south than Scotland, but since PFAF says it only sets fertile seed after a long hot summer I'm guessing it doesn't in the UK haha. I would definitely like to give it a shot though, the more varieties the merrier really, and I'm very intruiged by the idea of a conifer that takes well to coppicing, that sounds very promising. Please include me on your list, I will send you a PM. thanks!