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should a douglas fir tree be considered a weed?

 
paul wheaton
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This has been a recurring theme in my life for the last week. 

Douglas fir trees are considered to be native, but as toby hemenway points out in his book:  native to when?  Before the white folks showed up in the US, the douglas fir was considered by the natives as the invasive weed.  They would burn them regularly.

Fir trees, like other conifers, poison surrounding plants and when appearing in a forest, they make what sepp holzer calls a "fir desert" with a spooky lack of life.

I'm trying to put together a video with footage from experts on the topic. 

Anybody else have information along these lines?
 
Brenda Groth
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when you look at the price they fetch as a Christmas tree, i would say if you have one and know HOW to prune it..let it grow and make it beautiful..then cut it and sell it if you don't want it on the holidays.
 
Emerson White
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you don't prune X-mass trees, you grow them in full sun and they fill out. Pruning conifers is really much more difficult than pruning other trees, you have to pinch off the buds with your fingers or you will get dieback, which makes the tree unsuitable for viewing.

Chop it for firewood Paul.
 
tel jetson
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lots of Christmas trees are pruned and/or sheared, but that's neither here nor there.

really big old Douglas-firs are a sight to behold, and the old growth Douglas-fir forests I've spent time in don't strike me as devoid of life.  there are a fair number of species entirely or largely dependent on Douglas-firs for habitat and food.  Douglas-fir plantations, however, aren't particularly pleasant places.  "fir desert" describes them well.

labeling the species a weed doesn't seem very constructive to me, probably more because of how the word "weed" has been abused by our larger culture than because of any fondness for the tree (though they do feel like home).  it's a fast-growing and adaptable species that produces reasonably good lumber and firewood.  Doug-fir poles are cheap and easy to build with.  snags provide habitat for birds, bats, and butterflies, among other critters.  young growing tips make a pleasant tea.  it's a useful plant, just like a great many other things called weeds.

whether or not it's useful enough to plant or leave growing instead of something else is going to depend on the particulars of the land in question.
 
Tyler Ludens
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We have a similar tree in my region (Edwards Plateau of Texas) - the Ashe Juniper, called "cedar" here.  It used to be mostly limited to steep canyons, but since the settlers arrived and stopped the regular burning of the prairie, the cedars have proliferated and become a "pest".  Needless to say most of the prairie is gone, replaced by juniper and oak forest.  Now many people don't even know the cedar is native.  The trees tend to outcompete most other plants and can create a sort of desert of almost nothing but cedar, so the most prudent thing, in my opinion, is to clear patches of them and either mulch or pile the brush, to encourage regrowth of grasses and other plants.  Sadly many people just clearcut acres of cedar, taking out any other trees that might be there also, except for the oaks, which are subject to oak wilt especially when they are suddenly exposed this way.  Then the cedar brush is burnt in huge piles.    The cedars are important to local fauna, and in some cases can foster the growth of some other trees such as the rare Eve's Necklace, by protecting them from grazing livestock, but huge swaths of mid-sized trees which have taken over pasture are not especially helpful or useful to anyone or anything (except cedars).  They are a very valuable source of organic material, in my opinion, though of course the fresh material inhibits other plant growth.  They could be harvested for fuel, turned to biochar, there's probably many things they are good for besides burning in huge piles.
 
Brenda Groth
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oh yeah? Tell my son that..he pruned christmas trees as his first job from the time he was 13 until he was almost 18..and earned pretty good money for a teenager..bought his first motorcycle and car pruning trees..so yeah..in Michigan thousands of kids prune christmas trees every summer..they also spray them with green spray paint, cut and bail them and ship them all over the world..

it is a huge business in Michigan and you know what.. there are more christmas tree farms in our area than those growing food..no kidding..big money in christmas trees !!!

trust me I know what i'm talking about..my son would dream of christmas trees, bald face hornets, yellow jackets and blisters..every June..

douglas fir are prized in our area for christmas trees..they bring in more money than the scotch and other pines and spruces..
 
Dave Miller
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paul wheaton wrote:
Before the white folks showed up in the US, the douglas fir was considered by the natives as the invasive weed.  They would burn them regularly.
I believe they did this mainly in the flat valleys, to maintain an "oak savanna" type habitat for plants & wildlife that they used for food.  I'm pretty sure the hills & mountains were covered mostly with douglas fir.  But fire (from people and lightning) visited even the mountains fairly often.

Fir trees, like other conifers, poison surrounding plants
Do you have a reference for this?  I have never heard that before.

and when appearing in a forest, they make what Sepp Holzer calls a "fir desert" with a spooky lack of life.
I would say this may be true of a tree farm monoculture, but not of a mature natural forest.  I believe most of the "life" action is happening at the top of the trees, out of sight of us humans.  Also there is a lot of action when a big tree falls or loses a big branch.  But a mature forest often has a lot of life on the ground too, e.g.



 
Brenda Groth
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beautiful pictures
 
Paul Cereghino
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There is vast research of stand development, depending on ecoregion, with doug fir forest in PNW particularly well studied.  When you are talking about a system that lives and develops over 1000 years, what the hell do we have to do with anything?  "Canopy closure/stem exclusion" is common stage that seems to last only a 100 years or so where "stand initiation" is dense, and disturbance (disease, fire, wind) plays a role.  Analysis of biodiversity is dependent on the scale of observation.  Forest structure occurs both at patch and landscape scales.

http://rparticle.web-p.cisti.nrc.ca/rparticle/AbstractTemplateServlet?calyLang=eng&journal=cjfr&volume=32&year=2002&issue=6&msno=x02-030

http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=XNiq_KJ-zpgC&oi=fnd&pg=PA11&dq=stand+initiation+closed+canopy+Franklin&ots=M0uC4Ft-SW&sig=JPVOkciveOSKHE59i5runAo0mFc#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T6X-44SJVN1-15&_user=10&_coverDate=01%2F01%2F2002&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1425972620&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=e792afe55b039438c5c121c299a2d190

I'd agree with Adunca (yellow violet?) that the reference to the tribal nations burning prairie and oak woodland doesn't have much to do with the vast swaths of evergreen forest which are best adapted to our climate, or their millennial cycles of life and rebirth.
 
Matt Ferrall
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The material culture of Natives in the PacificNW seems to indicate that DF was not highly used indicating that it was a weed.It is much more valuable now,as industrial machinery can process it more effectively.Several native plants were given derogatory names.It is all to easy to break or girdle trees and shrubs when they are small in order to promote plants more valuable(to people and associated species). It(the ?) also seems dpendent on location.I value my DFs because I have few.One thing seems certain:post collapse senarios will see people using DF since cedar is in shorter supply.That means log cabins and such as opposed to shingled dwellings.This is due to the vast areas now planted with DF.I spend my time encouraging cedar which I find to be far more versitile if limited to hand tools.
 
Franklin Stone
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For mushroom hunters, Douglas Fir are a terrific tree. Dozens of different mycorrhizal mushroom species will form symbiotic relationships with Douglas Firs, including edible and delicious species such as Chanterelle. A single large tree can produce several dozen lbs. of mushrooms over the course of year. I have never seen any other species of tree that proved to be such a gracious fungal host.

 
                
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paul wheaton wrote:
Douglas fir trees are considered to be native, but as toby hemenway points out in his book:  native to when?  Before the white folks showed up in the US, the douglas fir was considered by the natives as the invasive weed.  They would burn them regularly.

The way I heard it, the Natives burned forests for weed control, and douglas fir forests are the result.  Their thick bark makes them almost fireproof unless the fire gets into the crowns, so they survive when other trees don't.
 
                          
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A weed is any plant located where one does not want it,

for example a mono culture field of wheat that has corn in it the corn would be considered a weed, and vis versa, if you want them both there then neither are weeds,


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weed
A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance, and normally applied to unwanted plants in human-made settings such as gardens, lawns or agricultural areas, but also in parks, woods and other natural areas. More specifically, the term is often used to describe native or nonnative plants that grow and reproduce aggressively.[1] Generally, a weed is a plant in an undesired place.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Birdman wrote:
A weed is any plant located where one does not want it,


I'm not convinced the Prairie grasses were "weeds," yet we wiped them out in order to plant corn and wheat.

All plants (and animals) in the way of man's activities are weeds and pests?
 
                          
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the technical definition of a weed is not if it is a beneficial plant or one that has a good use it is if it is in the location or place of where man wants it,

take a tree, and you want to build a house, if the tree is in the way the tree is removed even if it hundreds of years old, for the house, or some times even the view,

not saying it is right or wrong definition, but probably most all plants have a benefit, at least most do,  but we say weed by how we value it,

in the south and east the cedar tree is a "weed"  in the west we plant them for wind breaks,  in one location men do not want them and another location there desired, but the uncontrolled growth is not prevalent in the west as well and it will grow, but just like some people down the road, they tore down the old house and tore out a number of trees to build a new house, the trees were weeds to them, yet a month before they were a beneficial plant to them .
 
                              
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"weed" is in the eye of the beholder and toby sounds anal calling it so, in a wholesale kina manner

adunca ssays good things

tree farms appear barren because the trees are packed tight and little light gets to the floor. lots of mushrooms tho. knock a few down and let light in and all sorts of things sprout right up. there are plenty of plantings around me with all the campanion species in a mature forest.

id love to saY more on this but my hands are all jacked up from an accident,broke arm and sprained hand/wrist--sorry for the  bad typing
 
Paul Cereghino
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So the useful question might really be... how would you manage a dense stand of doug-fir... if you were looking for clear wood, you'd benefit from the self-pruning in the dense stand, only thinning to maintain the growth rate.  Then you'd take stems in clumps to create canopy gaps and introduce fir, hemlock, cedar, or other shade tolerate species depending on your climate.

If you wanted diversity right away you'd create gaps or thin for light to come in.

If you were working for fire control you'd space stems way out, and cut out ladder fuel, and utilize the slash.

In any case you'd be thinking in forest-time... generational.
 
tel jetson
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I don't know if it's important, but Douglas-firs aren't really firs at all, being in the Pseudotsuga genus and not Abies.  as there aren't any Pseudotsugas native to Europe, maybe Herr Holzer's "fir desert" refers to true firs of the Abies genus, which are well represented in the Alps.

I believe Douglas-firs (Pseudotsuga) are most closely related to larches (Larix) and closer to spruces (Picea) and pines (Pinus) than to true firs (Abies).  again, I don't know that this is really relevant to it's classification as a "weed" by one or more outspoken permaculturists, but there you go.
 
paul wheaton
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Just to be clear:  I do NOT advocate elimination of conifers.  I advocate diversity.  I advocate replacing conifer monocultures with a diversity of trees that include conifers.

There are four parts to this video. 

The first part is where Brad Knight (Sage Mountain Homestead, Corvallis, Montana) and I are investigating the understory of a large pine.  Nothing growing there.  Conifers are allelopathic - they sorta poison the competition.

The second part is with Ernie Wisner who conveys the days that he worked at measuring the biodiversity under douglas fir monocultures. 

The third part shows the mighty, the glorious, the amazing sepp holzer  expressing his opinion on "conifer desert" referring to how conifers, when left unchecked, tend to take over a landscape and greatly reduce horticultural diversity which leads to a broad variety of problems.

And finally, Rick Valley, horticulturalist and permaculture instructor at the Lost Valley Educational Center in Dexter, Oregon, sums it all up especially well.  He points out how a douglas fir tree easily outcompetes oak trees.  And relates how the native people burned back the douglas fir trees so their food is given a better chance.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l99d8BR8Tmk



 
                        
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I find it sad that even on these forums, with people who truly are dedicated to working  in harmony with  "natural" systems, people still seem to regard other life on earth with eyes that only see  its worth in terms of our own practical  interests.

We as a species are so sure at each age that we know all there is to know and can act with impunity on that knowlege..although each succeeding age shakes its head, so to speak, at the naivitee of the ages before and what people then believed to be true.

I wonder a little about  how paul stamets would respond to this video and premise, since he has said openly that he regards old growth forest..the sort that is identified here as supporting only ferns..as being essential to the national security of the U.S.  I suspect he sees somewhat more to them than weed trees and ferns.

And aside from anything else; I sometimes wonder if some people own any paintings or music or ever watch wonderful dancing, or ever see a sunset without wondering how it could be made into something USEFUL...
 
paul wheaton
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Of course, you didn't see all of the video that I cut out.  The stuff about how other species were  cut out so that only douglas fir was left behind.

I think the mission is not to convert all land to conventional ag, nor to convert all land back to what nature would do without people, not to even convert all land to just my permaculture design.    I think my mission is to convert a chunk of land to my permaculture design, complete with a zone 5, and then demonstrate that this land produces ten times more food per acre than conventional ag land. 

I respect that some people are so passionate about returning land to natures original design without man's influence, that they eat only food that can come from such land.  While that is an impressive path, that is not my path. 

 
                      
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I don't know much, but I do know that evergreen patches make great campsites. They're usually fairly clear of undergrowth, and pine needles make a good mattress (be sure to get the pine cones out first!).

I would venture a guess that the biodiversity returns when the trees fully mature, and a few get blown down allowing light into the understory. I'm loading the video now (slow internet connection), so forgive me if I said something terribly obvious.
 
tel jetson
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I can't imagine most of the folks planting or managing areas of just Doug-fir are very concerned with the issues that the video raises.  seems a little bit like complaining that nothing grows in the understory of a conventional corn field.  but maybe I'm being too hard on them.
 
Emerson White
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As a simple arithmetical matter, if you have full doug-fir cover, and nothing grows under doug-fir, then increasing biodiversity means reducing doug-fir.
 
                              
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Pam has hit it spot on.  Go sit in a Doug fir area for a few hours.  I guarantee you there is abundant wildlife and variety of under story there.  Seems like a lot of bandwidth about nothing.
 
Todd Hoff
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What should grow then? I'm not sure about oaks because not much grows beneath them around here (Santa Cruz area). Nothing grows beneath redwoods or doug fir either. We have bay trees, now those are weeds. Madrone? OK, but not my favorite.  That doesn't leave much. I was planning on using doug fir for my  hugelkultur bed, but I guess that's out.
 
Emerson White
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@adunca, Thank you for the beautiful photos, I just now noticed them!

@back on subject, so how do we go about reconecting the plants that grow under these trees with the trees in the monoculture? For the most part nothing grows under spruce trees here, because they either go all the way to the ground, or they choke out all the light at the top.
 
                            
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This smells like bullshit, so let's compost it.

There's nothing "bad" about conifers, and living in the realms of good/evil plant/weed dichotomies tells me there's an opening to go deeper in relationship with more-than-human world. I have to show great appreciation for the conifers, who I've really just met, the pine-needle tea drunk, the pine-candy eaten (immature cones on fallen green branches), the tips of the hemlock nibbled in the spring, the reishi that grows on the dead hemlock and other countless gifts, the bluster of wind running through the needles, the great explosion of yellow haze in the spring, the iridescence of the needles in the moonlight. I'm also intensely aware -- living in an area of fir and pine plantations -- that like so many creatures under the thumb of industrial civilization, exploitation is an ecological terror. Also, as I live amongst pines, I also find them rather straight and quick growing, and make good poles for all sorts of projects, so I can fell them and open up space for other plants.

And what grows below pine? What grows below spruce? What grows below fir? Lots of things grow under pines. For example, anything in Ericaceae will do fine here. Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) or Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) are examples. I've seen sassafras under pine (in a mixed stand), brambles (Rubus spp) at the southern edge of pine woods, and plenty of deer and rabbit sign. Amanitas tend to like some pine

Also, why are we looking at things from this perspective of the intensely local. I do not find it wise to leap from the observation that "nothing is growing under this pine" to "pines are a weed." Why not ask, what is the role that a patch of pine stand might play within the larger forest. How might it be effecting the flow and cycle of water and nutrients in the forest? How might the cool air beneath the pines lend itself to effecting air flows in and above the entire forests canopy? These are absurdly complex relationships that we can probably say nothing about. Can we re-member that humans know nothing?

Finally, in case you're not convinced, may I recommend watching this video of the late Frank Cook teaching about the Pine family:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlw4KGttIF0

in the pines, in the pines, where the sun don't ever shine...
Evan
 
Paul Cereghino
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It sounds like folks are talking more about canopy density, and the "canopy exlusion phase of stand development" than a particular species.

There is alos a distinct lack of clarity about zone.  Are you talking about Doug fir in PC zone 1-3 or in Zone 4-5?!

Red and evergreen huckleberry, salal, mushrooms. bracken fiddlehead, oregon grape root...

Sometimes generalization just sounds silly and makes me grumpy...  Do we haev something to say about something about something real... like I decided to do a heavy low-grade thinning from 400 stems to 50 clumped stems an acre in a zone 4 section of my site because I wanted to build a house and increase an intercrop of X, Y, and Z, while maintaining a landscape scale windbreak to protect neighboring site X and retaining low temperatures in the adjacent wetland.

I started hanging around with Pc trained people because they tend to not say 'weed' in an unqualified manner.
 
Emerson White
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How do we thin to bring ourselves out of the canopy exclusion phase faster?
 
Chris Adlam
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paul wheaton wrote:

Conifers are allelopathic - they sorta poison the competition.



Actually, it is incorrect to say that conifers are allelopathic. Repeat: conifers are NOT allelopathic. Allelopathy describes the secretion of chemical substances that prevent or stunt the growth of other plants (e.g. black walnut secretes juglone). Conifers do not secrete any "poisons".

The reasons some plants grow less well or not at all under conifers is not because of chemical warfare on the part of the tree. It is, to the best of my knowledge, because they are very heavy feeders that monopolize nutrients to grow fast (the video shows how fast they grow compared to oaks), suck up most of the water and create drought conditions in the upper layers of soil (in the summer months at least), and because their dense, superficial root system prevents other plants from establishing themselves.

There are those who say that conifers acidify the soil. I have yet to see scientific evidence of this. I used to believe this because everyone seemed to say it was so, but then when I tried to find out more about it, I was confronted with a total absence of evidence. If anyone can find reliable scientific literature demonstrating an acidification of the soil under conifers, either because of the needles or some root secretion, I'd be glad to know! Until then I'll stay skeptical of the whole conifer=acid thing.
 
Emerson White
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In my very limited scope of measurement I have found that spruce trees (both the native black spruce and imported colorado blue spruce) yield significantly acidified soil when compared to other soil near by. As measured with distilled water and my pH meter.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Emerson White wrote:
How do we thin to bring ourselves out of the canopy exclusion phase faster?


With a chain saw

Some do pre-commercial thinning to maintain growth rate of the best future saw logs while maximizing board foot yield, some thin to reduce fuel load to prevent crown fires, some create fire breaks, some thin with fire, some thin to create canopy gaps to accerate development of old growth habitat characteristics.  If I want to eat, I don't try to raise food in a conifer forest.  Maybe 90% of our native ecosystem is conifer forest by decree of climate and geology.  Much of it has been devastated by poor stewardship, our lowlands are still being systematically devegetated.  I just cannot stand the idea of vilifying a whole family of trees.
 
Paul Cereghino
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blacksquirrel wrote:
The reasons some plants grow less well or not at all under conifers is not because of chemical warfare on the part of the tree. It is, to the best of my knowledge,


I think we need to specify species and ecosystem... for us it is summer water deficit across much of the landscape that drives conifer composition.
 
Matt Banchero
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Douglas fir has a huge range in the US.  I'm pretty sure it's range is second only to Ponderosa pine. 

Douglas fir can be adapted to fairly dry sites in southern California, Arizona and northern Mexico but it can also grow to be one of the worlds largest trees in both height and volume in the wetter parts of it's northern range.  A Douglas fir was cut in southern Oregon in the 1920's that was recorded to be over 400' long while laying on the ground. 

In Sonoma county and other parts of northern California, Douglas fir is considered to be native invasive or a late successional species, meaning that without a disturbance like a fire, Douglas fir will eventually over shadow many of the other native species.  In logged over redwood land, Douglas fir competes with redwood sprouts attempting to form a dominant canopy. 

You will need to examine the historic and current composition of the stand of trees you wish to manage as well as your own goals.  Douglas fir responds extremely well to thinning and will dramatically increase in diameter growth with thinning performed from the understory. 

As a rule I never eliminate any particular species from a site, however young douglas fir should be managed.  Prune off lower limbs for light to the forest floor for clear wood, control of ladder fuels and to reinvest that woody organic material back into the soil. 

If you can provide pictures of the stand you want to manage I can offer more specific advice.

www.TheTreeHuggingTreeCutter.com
 
                        
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blacksquirrel wrote:
Actually, it is incorrect to say that conifers are allelopathic. Repeat: conifers are NOT allelopathic. Allelopathy describes the secretion of chemical substances that prevent or stunt the growth of other plants (e.g. black walnut secretes juglone). Conifers do not secrete any "poisons".

The reasons some plants grow less well or not at all under conifers is not because of chemical warfare on the part of the tree. It is, to the best of my knowledge, because they are very heavy feeders that monopolize nutrients to grow fast (the video shows how fast they grow compared to oaks), suck up most of the water and create drought conditions in the upper layers of soil (in the summer months at least), and because their dense, superficial root system prevents other plants from establishing themselves.


I found a rose when I moved here which was growing about 4 inches out from the base of a 30 foot spruce tree. I had to get the bottom limbs of the spruce taken off as they were interfering with the entrance to the house  and now the rose has put out suckers and is beginning to establish itself further out between the two spruce.  I thought this was sorta amazing as it is often shaded not only by the spruce but by the car and I thought roses needed full sun. This one is getting businesslike now it is getting a little more sun than it was. The house had not been lived in for about 8 years so the plant had managed to cope with no feeding or watering. The grass had been cut, though, so  any plants/suckers  further out from the tree would have been assassinated by lawnmowers.  I have watered it once in the 5 or so years I have been here.

The main problem it had been having, it seems, was the amount of light it was getting from the very low branches of the spruce. It's  clearly much tougher than most roses are given credit for..it was -45 C here last winter and it sailed through it with no protection whatsoever from the wind or cold except that the spruce and snow cover provided. And..because of the spruce..the snow cover below the trees is always less than elsewhere.

I am ecstatic that it not only survived but is thriving and  can hardly wait for it to bloom as although the white single with a yellow centre flower form isn't spectacular, the flowers are abundant and have the  most wonderful fragrance. No idea what it is  called.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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wild roses are pretty impressive little fighters
I have one that I may need to start treating like a blackberry patch growing up and around one of my apple trees. made me do a double take last spring when A month after apple blossoms I had blossoms in my apple tree
 
osker brown
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
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blacksquirrel wrote:
Allelopathy describes the secretion of chemical substances that prevent or stunt the growth of other plants (e.g. black walnut secretes juglone). Conifers do not secrete any "poisons".


Just for clarity's sake here's the wikipedia definition of allelopathy...
Allelopathy is a biological phenomenon by which an organism produces one or more biochemicals that influence the growth, survival, and reproduction of other organisms. These biochemicals are known as allelochemicals and can have beneficial (positive allelopathy) or detrimental (negative allelopathy) effects on the target organisms. Allelochemicals are a subset of secondary metabolites,[1] which are not required for metabolism (i.e. growth, development and reproduction) of the allelopathic organism.


It seems common that people think of allelopathy as only negative, I think it is important, especially in permaculture design, to realize the potentials for positive allelopathy (mycorrhizal relationships are positive allelopaths).  Another shining example of positive allelopathy is Cannabis sativa/Homo sapien.  Cannabis produces 90+ chemicals identical to those our bodies use to regulate neural functions (cannabinoids), 200+ aromatic compounds capable of modulating brain function (terpenes), and seed oil that contains essential fatty acids (alpha linoleic and linoleic acids).  Cannabis has additional human uses, but those 300 or so biochemicals have no known benefit to the plant other than to attract human interest, protection, and companionship.

Sorry to get off topic, Doug Fir does not grow near me...

peace
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
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Douglas fir is not a weed and doesn't poison other plants. Douglas fir can be useful in a mixed forest system with plenty of room between single douglas firs. Only problem is: how to "infect" newly planted leafy trees in a douglas fir desert with the insects, microbia, etc they like? Some sort of corridor comes to my mind...
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Well, if I had a ten acre property covered in douglas firs (or just about any kind of tree, for that manner), I would cut some of them down to open up space for other species. Replace some with oak, some with walnut, some with other nut trees, fruit trees, etc., leave some open meadows, open up a space for a pond, and (wow.... I basically just accidentally described sepp holzer's system) you have a more diverse, productive and stable ecosystem. Evergreen monocultures are only the best woodland in the far north where other trees cannot survive, and even then there should be multiple species. Also, thinning douglas fir forest isn't just best for people, it is best for all plants except douglas fir and most animals. One often hears that humans are just like any other species, but we rarely ponder the inverse of this; if humans can overexploit an area and drive out competition, so can other species. We can help to fix such a situation.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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