The picture in the welcome shows you (Robert) holding a woody plant root. Roots naturally all function similarly and I understand that certain types mycorrhiza prefer certain types of plants. Is this a matter of quantity or species? Will my apple tree grow vigorously in the middle of a former bean field? What methods would one use to efficiently convert a meadow into a forest? (Other than time?)
Also, I have planted a heartnut which has been doing fairly well now for the past couple of years then decided that spot would make a much better annual garden (for multiple reasons). I am concerned about the juglone inhibiting my annuals. Would you recommend going to the expense to have a backhoe move this tree or are there options to have my tree and annuals, too?
Thank you for your time!
Furthering Permaculture next to Lake Ontario.
Valerie, I think maybe over 90% of plants have an association with mycorrhiza. I think the cabbage family is an exception. All trees that I know of love the association because it's a good source of phosphorous in particular. (plus other micronutrients) Apple trees are very adaptable. I don't see why a former bean field wouldn't work. I plant fruit trees in groves, not in lines like a orchard. The permanent mulch below allows for easy pruning and harvesting. The insectary plants are at the edges of the trees as the insects can easily fly the distance to the tree/fruit. I don't plant annual vegetables under fruit trees as they don't need, or often don't like, the extra nutrition. (Promotes aphid attacks among other things.) I would never try to move a nut tree. As far as I know, juglone is mostly a concern for black walnut trees - Juglans nigra. Some Coop. Ext.s have lists of plants that are hurt by juglone, but, if they're comprehensive, the plants that can grow well near the tree. (Try a good list of the juglone susceptible and tolerant plants from John and Lewis Jett of the West Virginia Extension Service)
Mycorrhizal fungi do best in undisturbed soils high in soil organic matter. Ramial wood chips from deciduous trees or coniferous, if aged, used as a mulch will decompose and be drawn down into the soil by the wee beasties thus increasing SOM.
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