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Replacing trees

 
Juan Sebastian Estrada
Posts: 91
Location: Medellin, Colombia
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bike forest garden trees
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Hi, this question is related to my project which you can see in another post here: http://www.permies.com/t/46530/projects/acre-country-house-Colombian-Andes

If you look at this picture:



on the left you will see that the north and east borders were planted by the previous owner with a single species of tree (Eugenia myrtifolia), which has some value because it produces a fruit that some birds will eat (it is edible for humans but very plain in flavor) and is commonly used as a living fence because it creates a thick barrier to block the view from neighboring plots.

I want to replace at least part of those with other trees to add some diversity to the edge of my property. I have some saplings of different species that I got for free and also some saplings that have sprouted naturally (from seeds from the tall tree to the right of the picture - persea cerulea) which need to be transplanted because they will most likely be in the way when I open an access road to the property.

How do I go about this?
How low should I cut the existing trees?
Can I leave the stump where it is? (I have no machinery to remove it)
If they re-sprout and I keep coppicing them will they eventually die? (this would work as chop and drop mulch for the replacement trees)
What to do with the wood? The existing trees are not particularly big, I can save some wood to maybe build a hugelkultur bed but I doubt it will be very big.
Any other advice?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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Why not just plant the new trees you want behind those that are already in place now?
Then once the new trees are established well you can come back and remove the offending tree (s) so the new ones have growing space.
This also will give you the ability to plant lower growing plants in front of and between those now older trees so you have greater diversity and layers of plants.

If you cut the unwanted trees around the middle of the growing season, they will be more prone to die back than if you were to cut them early in the growing season.
If you cut them at the end of the growing season, just before their growth slows down, they will almost definitely die and not comeback.
You might have some root suckers come up but simply chopping them off will usually stop any further growth from the roots.
 
Juan Sebastian Estrada
Posts: 91
Location: Medellin, Colombia
9
bike forest garden trees
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Thanks Bryant,

the current trees are already at the edge of the property, right next to the fence, so I can't plant anything behind them. The idea is, as you say, to plant other things in front of the trees to have greater diversity, so if I plant the new trees in front of the old then I will have less space for smaller plants.

I'll have to look into the growing seasons further. This being a tropical (but high mountain) climate there are no real seasons other than rainy/dry. I suppose they grow more actively during rainy season?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
112
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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In that case you might want to just leave the already planted trees as your overstory trees. If you remove any of those you would have to wait for a year to see if any regrowth occurred, otherwise you would have some intertwining root issues down the road.
I would think that would not be good in your situation. However, what I was suggesting was to plant the overstory trees you desire more then come back and remove the unwanted trees next to the fence. Sorry if I wasn't really clear there, but that way you would be opening up some space against your fence line.

Remember that in any food forest you move from tallest to shortest and the spaces can be as little as 1 foot between layers or as large as you can make them.
Unless you are in the southern hemisphere, the north side will get the least sun anyway so moving south your plants will get mostly sun or full sun.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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