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fruiting companions for under the canopy of giant maples, hemlock and doug fir.

 
Jesus Martinez
Posts: 166
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Was wondering if anyone had suggestions for companions for the 3 above listed trees types. I have giant maples and hemlock which I think most anything will grow under given proper fertilization as the maples are ~70ft tall w/ 3-6 trunked 2-3ft diametered specimens.

The doug fir though is the one I am mostly wondering about because of the toxins it spreads. The unfortunate thing is that a) its huge and b) in a spot I can't use my backhoe to help nudge it in the right direction when falling, so I would have to hire someone to cut it and c) i don't really want to cut it down.
 
M.K. Dorje Jr.
Posts: 127
Location: Orgyen, zone 8
12
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They are lots of fruiting plants that should do quite well in the semi-shade of the three tree species that you listed, although the following plants will need at least a few hours of good sun to bear a good crop: pawpaw,
red & white currants, gooseberries, elderberries, evergreen & red huckleberries, tart cherry, aronia, wintergreen, thimbleberry, salmonberry, salal, goumi, autumn olive, alpine strawberry, honeyberry, hardy & artic kiwi. I've grown almost of these plants on my farm and they all do really well in the semi-shady areas near Douglas-firs. Of course, you can also grow mushrooms such as oysters and shiitake on logs in the really shady places. King stropharia does well on wood chip mulch in semi-shady areas. Also, be sure to check for edible mycorrhizal mushrooms such as chanterelles and hedgehogs underneath the firs and the hemlocks. And if your big-leaf(?) maple has a big enough trunk, you might even be able to tap it for maple syrup, as several people have done this in the Northwest, although my maples are too small for this.

I had big problems with shade here for years before I had some tree service guys remove some big Doug-firs, a poplar, an oak and two cedars near my main forest garden and orchard. It was expensive, but I got lots more room to grow fruit and veggies, more light, more fruit on existing trees, lots of woodchip mulch, lots of firewood, some posts, wood for hugelkultur, etc. It was worth it in the long run. Hope this advice helps!

Jesus, maybe you could state what region you're from and that way we can help you a little more sometimes - I'm always kind of assuming that you live somewhere in the Pacific Northwest or British Columbia.



 
Jesus Martinez
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M.K. Dorje Jr. wrote:They are lots of fruiting plants that should do quite well in the semi-shade of the three tree species that you listed, although the following plants will need at least a few hours of good sun to bear a good crop: pawpaw,
red & white currants, gooseberries, elderberries, evergreen & red huckleberries, tart cherry, aronia, wintergreen, thimbleberry, salmonberry, salal, goumi, autumn olive, alpine strawberry, honeyberry, hardy & artic kiwi. I've grown almost of these plants on my farm and they all do really well in the semi-shady areas near Douglas-firs.


Thanks, that sounds like a decent selection with the exception of the cursed salmonberry. Their yeild is so low and their growth is so vigorous!

M.K. Dorje Jr. wrote:
Of course, you can also grow mushrooms such as oysters and shiitake on logs in the really shady places. King stropharia does well on wood chip mulch in semi-shady areas. Also, be sure to check for edible mycorrhizal mushrooms such as chanterelles and hedgehogs underneath the firs and the hemlocks.

Are there any providers of spores that I can just cast around the forested areas of my (and neighbors) properties without having to drill, insert the dowels, and soak the logs? I have about 3 acres, maybe 7 if I include surrounding properties that I could innoculate.


M.K. Dorje Jr. wrote:
And if your big-leaf(?) maple has a big enough trunk, you might even be able to tap it for maple syrup, as several people have done this in the Northwest, although my maples are too small for this.

Yeah, they are big leaf maples. The one with 5 trunks is only about 2ft across per trunk, the other one with 2 or 3 trunks is about 3ft across and I have another big one that is ~4ft across.. my really big one is pretty far away and hard to get to, but it might even be 5ft across. I'm guessing those qualify as big enough.

M.K. Dorje Jr. wrote:
I had big problems with shade here for years before I had some tree service guys remove some big Doug-firs, a poplar, an oak and two cedars near my main forest garden and orchard. It was expensive, but I got lots more room to grow fruit and veggies, more light, more fruit on existing trees, lots of woodchip mulch, lots of firewood, some posts, wood for hugelkultur, etc. It was worth it in the long run. Hope this advice helps!

The trees are far enough north that they don't really shade stuff out, especially the hemlock and doug-fir as they are ~100ft tall and cast their shadow quite aways from my fruit trees, although one of my swales is in the shadow of one of the maple trees until around 2-3pm I think, which I just realized I can use to my advantage for growing cool weather crops.


M.K. Dorje Jr. wrote:
Jesus, maybe you could state what region you're from and that way we can help you a little more sometimes - I'm always kind of assuming that you live somewhere in the Pacific Northwest or British Columbia.
I'm 20 miles east of Everett, on a north facing slope, which I just recently learned can actually be beneficial because while the rest of the area blooms 1-2 weeks earlier, I'd be in much less danger of a late frost killing the blossoms.
 
M.K. Dorje Jr.
Posts: 127
Location: Orgyen, zone 8
12
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Her's a link to info about tapping bigleaf maples for syrup:

http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/rn181.pdf

You can dump spore emulsion around your place. It's not reliable, but it's cheap and easy. Here's a thread discussing this:

http://www.permies.com/t/34838/fungi/lazy-cheap-inoculation

Good luck!

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