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Tree on old driveway site  RSS feed

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I'm new here and still new enough to permaculture that I am overwhelmed, but i want to plant some trees this spring. I wonder if someone here would have time to answer my question. Thanks in advance!

Does anything match this description or can you direct me to a good plant database to give this sort of info?

Tree or shrub
Fast growing
To about 15 ft high
Zone 5, Midwest
Site was old garage/ driveway (about 1 ft of gravel just below couple inches thick top soil, low nutrient, hard for roots to penetrate, but back to black loam under the old driveway) so needs to break through rocky soil or tolerate having deep roots trapped under the old driveway.
Full sun
Nitrogen fixing or soil building
No thorns (my kids will play around it)

Edible, (do I want to eat something grown on an old building site?)
Insect / bird / wildlife attracting, (would love tht, but I'll take anything that will grow there)
Prefer it to not be poisonous, but the kids are old enough to know what not to eat.

I was checking out some suggestions on a list here:


but wasn't sure which ones would really be able to grow on (or under) that old driveway.

Thank you for any feedback you are willing to give me.
Posts: 23
Location: west central Missouri
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Welcome. I live in Missouri, about twenty miles from the Kansas border. My place used to be a farmyard and much of it is under laid with a thick layer of gravel.A tiller was not much help. If I dig down even a little into the gravel to loosen it, then I can plant a seedling and fill the hole with the topsoil dug out of the planting hole. Roots of all kinds are very good at penetrating gravel. They can split huge boulders and cement walkways. I have Rose of Sharon [flowering shrub up to ten feet high,] Lilacs. red bud trees, and catalpa trees all well established several years. My high bush cranberry and Service berry are looking really good this third spring. Day lilies, dandelions[ a permies favorite accumulator plant] and other plants can help trap dust to mix with the vegetative debris that accumulates to compost naturally and build up that thin layer of topsoil.

If you build raised beds for your edibles you don't have to worry about whats under them. I recently read that heavy metals are not taken up by plants. Don't know if true . but any home grown food using permies methods are bound to be better than supermarket stuff. I like going out and picking wild greens and having them ready to eat in just s few minutes. The chickweed is going to seed and getting tough but lamb's quarters are more than an inch high so it won't be long before I can pick them. I use the new growth on them a day or two after rain right up to fall.
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