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Planting Trees Can be Profitable  RSS feed

 
Adrien Lapointe
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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My friend Adrien Quenneville wrote an article on how a problem that seemed to warrant government intervention could have been turned into a business opportunity.

Here is the article he posted on my website.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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Adrien Lapointe wrote:


My friend Adrien Quenneville wrote an article on how a problem that seemed to warrant government intervention could have been turned into a business opportunity.

Here is the article he posted on my website.

You are so correct is your premise that folks do not plant trees because they do not have the cash (or the know how) to do it and not because they are negligent. The other problem is a human one: Most folks want a forest within a couple of years, which is not attainable. You mentioned fruit trees, but these require a bigger cash outlay than what you quoted, and they also need to be grafted. You also need to stop pests, which was not in your budget. However, I do believe that you are on to something there.
As you know from permaculture, a land has a history, a succession of crops before you reach mature timbers. Forbes followed by bushes, then trees, and each one is succession can bring its own goodness to the land of which we are the stewards, and perhaps its own profits. We need to start in terms of 20 years: what can I plant NOW, and from there what is the proper succession for my land, my climate, my soil, my water. It is very difficult for folks to stretch their mind and wrap their brain around an all encompassing plan.
I can only suggest a name for this profession: Land Counselor: Folks need to be held by the hand in a field they do not know or understand, but I feel that showing them how they CAN improve their property to bring them profit is the right way to go. Our land, our property needs management, just like a bank account, You might become a good banker for land and help folks increase the value of the land they own...
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Succession will occur on land laid bare by human disruption, it just takes a long period of time.

Tree planting is something that should go on from the start, it takes trees years to grow. 
No they don't (contrary to popular belief) need to be grafted. Grafted trees are done for particular reasons, such as disease resistance improvement, insect resistance, dwarfing, etc.
I have apple trees that are growing on their own roots, pears and plums too, all are doing just fine.

If you  plant your trees then you have choices for the rest. You could plant grass seed to cover the ground, or leave it to nature to do that and on and on.
In permaculture we want to use disruption in a specific way so we can direct what nature does naturally.
If you plant one or two expensive, older trees, you will get fruit faster but if you planted 100-1000 seedlings, you would have so much more once they went through stem exclusion (thinning) and you would have plenty of fruit to harvest.

If you plant trees In-mass then add in vegetables around those trees then you have multiple things going on, if you also added in berry bushes you have added another level.
The great thing is that as long as you start with what takes the longest to develop, you have time to think through all the rest.
If you want animals then you will need grasses for them to graze, between those trees that went in first, after the animals have been run through, you now have soil mixing and fertilizer so you can plant more stuff and have benefits far above the standard "farm".

It all depends on what you want to do and how you approach those end goals.  Nut trees, fruit trees, lumber trees, makes no difference really.
 
David Livingston
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Cecile
Grafted trees don't have to cost a lots because you can graft them yourself
Even I can do it it's not rocket science I have paid about 15$ for a tool and about 10$ for wax and so far made about 20 grafts I won't need to buy another tool . I am sure you can work out the per plant costs
I am sure you can do it to if you wish to
David
 
Greg McCain
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    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

 
Matthew Lewis
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Location: Canada
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I would say that trees and other perennials are not just profitable they are probably the highest yeilding investment you could ever make. With a little effort and ingenuity you can get seeds or in the case of some fruits, grafting material for free.

These plants can then produce hundreds of dollars of fruit every year for potentially over 100 years. Or in the case of timber crops, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars after several decades of waiting. Many berries can be propagated by suckers and could produce similar returns. The value of these yeilds are also inflation adjusted so even if the amount of fruit stays the same year after year the dollar value will likely go up over time.

There are no other investments that even come close to these near infinite ROI's.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Succession will occur on land laid bare by human disruption, it just takes a long period of time.

Tree planting is something that should go on from the start, it takes trees years to grow. 
No they don't (contrary to popular belief) need to be grafted. Grafted trees are done for particular reasons, such as disease resistance improvement, insect resistance, dwarfing, etc.
I have apple trees that are growing on their own roots, pears and plums too, all are doing just fine.

If you  plant your trees then you have choices for the rest. You could plant grass seed to cover the ground, or leave it to nature to do that and on and on.
In permaculture we want to use disruption in a specific way so we can direct what nature does naturally.
If you plant one or two expensive, older trees, you will get fruit faster but if you planted 100-1000 seedlings, you would have so much more once they went through stem exclusion (thinning) and you would have plenty of fruit to harvest.

If you plant trees In-mass then add in vegetables around those trees then you have multiple things going on, if you also added in berry bushes you have added another level.
The great thing is that as long as you start with what takes the longest to develop, you have time to think through all the rest.
If you want animals then you will need grasses for them to graze, between those trees that went in first, after the animals have been run through, you now have soil mixing and fertilizer so you can plant more stuff and have benefits far above the standard "farm".

It all depends on what you want to do and how you approach those end goals.  Nut trees, fruit trees, lumber trees, makes no difference really.

Totally agree that you need to *start* with trees, and make those seedlings. I have 26 small basswoods (hip high) near the ditch, 26 mulberry bushes/ trees, lots of semi dwarf apple trees (those are fenced in!) but we have a lot of oaks dying of the wilt in Central WI. and we are in 35 ft. of sand (only 3-4"of "top soil") with water at 10 feet. I'm looking to replace these oaks with sugar maples. wild hazelnuts grow well but are wormy. I'm not sure what I can do about that. I have a friend who grinds these hazelnuts, nutmeat and husks and all and throws it to the chickens. That is probably what I'll do too until I can figure out how to get a healthy crop. I'm skipping chickens this year until I can find a better way to provide them with water in the winter. (I just don't see myself carrying buckets in the snow).I have never been able to keep a pear tree, although I have tried. They all died in the first year, of the blight. I am working on making a thick hedge of conifers to avoid the pesticides of the CAFO crops on the west side. Deer pressure is high too, so my little garden (100'X 50') is fenced high. I'm also mulching everything. I don't have the stuff to bury the dead oak trees but I'm making north-south lines of dead oak brush. They should be about 3-4 ft. high once they are all dead. That might reduce deer pressure? I have 10 beehives, so I want to encourage pollinators. I'm cold stratifying Asclepias Syriacas (milkweed, the big pink pompom) to plant all around the wild shadblow serviceberry (amelanchier canadensis) but I hope the shade won't be too much for them. Do your seedlings grow good apples? I'd like to make cider, maybe eventually hard cider, but I'm not there yet! Last year, I started kicking out of the garden anything that the deer will not eat. 35 rhubarb plants are now exiled along the outside edge of the garden. I have wild cherries galore: not tart, more like sweet, but they have a big stone. They are almost as good as my Nanking cherries. I have one apple tree whose top died. It is coming back from the roots. That will probably be my first attempt at grafting, but I know nothing about that art. We get about 35"of rain/ year
 
Matthew Lewis
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Sounds like you are having a rough go of it Cecile. Perseverance will pay off though. I was recently reading Mark Shepherds book and he said it could take quite a few years before the biodiversity of a permaculture farm adjusts to the pest and disease infestations. So some of these issues should get better over time.

I'll be starting my own process of planting and tree selection this spring and I am sure I will have my own trials and surprises to deal with also.
 
Casie Becker
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Are the wormy hazelnuts gathered after falling from the tree or picked directly from the plant?

Oaks drop their wormy acorns first and at least some of the native tribes would burn the ground under the oaks between the early dropping of diseased acorns and the ripe ones falling. This both reduced the total amount of pests in the future and insured the acorns they gathered afterwards were mostly pest free.

I think Carol Depp (in The Resilient Gardener) speaks of a similar problem where all the walnuts in a city she lived in were considered too wormy to be worth harvesting. An older woman in the community taught her the secret was to sweep up all the nuts laying on the ground and then promptly gather all the new nuts as they fell. The worms were waiting on the ground to climb into fallen nuts and the key was to beat them to the harvest.

We walk the ground several times a day during pecan season. We're doing it because of squirrel pressure, but though we sometimes find a worm in the husk of the pecan we've been getting the nuts before the worms penetrate to the nut itself. Oh, and after we started gathering the nuts, we've had far fewer squirrels in our yard. Used to be we couldn't walk outside without seeing a couple. Now, we might see a couple in a months time. Two pests reduced with one activity.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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David Livingston wrote:Cecile
Grafted trees don't have to cost a lots because you can graft them yourself
Even I can do it it's not rocket science I have paid about 15$ for a tool and about 10$ for wax and so far made about 20 grafts I won't need to buy another tool . I am sure you can work out the per plant costs
I am sure you can do it to if you wish to
David

Alors, il faudra que j'apprenne!
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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Casie Becker wrote:Are the wormy hazelnuts gathered after falling from the tree or picked directly from the plant?

Oaks drop their wormy acorns first and at least some of the native tribes would burn the ground under the oaks between the early dropping of diseased acorns and the ripe ones falling. This both reduced the total amount of pests in the future and insured the acorns they gathered afterwards were mostly pest free.

I think Carol Depp (in The Resilient Gardener) speaks of a similar problem where all the walnuts in a city she lived in were considered too wormy to be worth harvesting. An older woman in the community taught her the secret was to sweep up all the nuts laying on the ground and then promptly gather all the new nuts as they fell. The worms were waiting on the ground to climb into fallen nuts and the key was to beat them to the harvest.

We walk the ground several times a day during pecan season. We're doing it because of squirrel pressure, but though we sometimes find a worm in the husk of the pecan we've been getting the nuts before the worms penetrate to the nut itself. Oh, and after we started gathering the nuts, we've had far fewer squirrels in our yard. Used to be we couldn't walk outside without seeing a couple. Now, we might see a couple in a months time. Two pests reduced with one activity.


Thanks, Casie.
Our poor red oaks are so stressed by the blight that they have not dropped any acorns in a while. This idea of burning the ground underneath to kill the disease sounds pretty good. I would have to do it during the green season. maybe with a torch and a wet blanket. We have a highly flammable season during the Indian Summer and again very early in the spring.
I have never been able to harvest a ripe hazelnut: The squirrels beat me to it, and it is always very strange: they do it in the middle of the night, on all 7 acres. One day the nuts are there, the next day, they are all gone! And those darn @#$%^%$#!!!  squirrels know which ones are wormy too. They leave those all on the bushes! I don't want to remove the hazelnuts, even though they are too small to be useful: Early in the season, they produce pollen and I've seen my honeybees on it so...
But that gives me an idea: If I can't get ahead of the squirrels again, I will at least pick up every last one of the wormy ones and burn them. That might give us some relief in the following year. Maybe also I can spray some urea on the most promising plants. If only the squirrels were fat enough, I would not mind doing a little lead poisoning and put those tree rats in a pressure cooker! I have a group of the hazelnut bushes that is isolated in the middle of some  irrigated land. They don't dare to cross because ... predators.
Thanks for the input, you all!
 
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