Im looking for cold climate (hopefully perennial) roots to break up the hard rock that makes up the soil in Northeast Minnesota. Im about 30 miles north of Gooseberry Falls (Lake Superior) on the border of zones 3 and 4.
I do not know that area, and don't throw your computer at me - observe nature. Try to find some places in nature that are mimicking what you want to see. I know oak trees will eat out solid rock, but it obviously takes some time and I don't know if that works where you are at?
Andrew James : Taking your observations to be correct, and you need to break-down rock to help make soil, you need the services of
fungi ! Basically you need a healthy humus to have a truly healthy Fungus to break-down rock !
Check out the postings in the Fungi section under the "Growies" Forum Threads ! For the good of the Crafts ! Big AL
Success has a Thousand Fathers , Failure is an Orphan
I am fairly certain fig is one of the plants that is good for breaking up rocks. As I recall, a fig (at least certain varieties) can grow on a bare bolder. The tree just sends roots down to the ground and then starts pushing through the rock as well. Been years since I heard of it though, so I don't have a handy source for where I got that information.
Observe nature? I can be lazy so I do like the idea of doing nothing for awhile and pretending to watch stuff.
I am aware of fungi that break down rock, but could never find any info on which fungi do so. Id love to create an environment that fosters the growth of such fungi.
I do have a list of tap roots and spike roots but these list never say which is the best at what they do. If all I need to is increase the biodiversity and create a more healthy environment I should rock out (pun!).
Hi Andrew - if you are interested in D. Logan's suggestion of figs, you might find it interesting to check the Wikipedia page for them. Though most figs do best in hot climates, it mentions a wild variety that does fine in dry, cold (like -40 F) climates (Mountain Fig). The drought tolerance might not be so useful in Minnesota, but the cold tolerance would be. I have no idea where you find plants or seeds for them, however.
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit