We've got a small homestead in the east KY woods. It's mostly hickory woods with some oak, poplars etc. I'm setting out a lot of paw paws this year. I'd like to establish some other food trees/plants that can prosper in the pretty solid shade we have here in the warm months on most of our property. We are zone 6b or 7.
Trying a few hazelnuts this year and some hybrid chestnuts. I understand the American Chestnut was a vigorous understory tree. But every other variety and hybrid I look at seems to call for full sun. Any insight into shade-tolerant nuts or other producers is appreciated -especially by folks in a similar setting. Have heard some apples will do ok. We have done a couple rounds of successful mushroom inoculation of logs. Will likely pursue that again in the spring.
You might try rasberries, black berries, and strawberries. They like some shade, but you might have too much. If you have somewhere where a large tree has fallen, that would probably work good.
Location: Boondock, KY
posted 2 years ago
We have lots of blackberries already. They seem to do best where there are breaks in the canopy (like along roads). Will experiment with other berries.
While I often hear the American Chestnut referred to as an understory tree, a couple folks I've recently spoken to who are savvy about chestnuts, have told me that even an undiluted American Chestnut will not produce any nuts in the understory. Thought I'd pass that along in case others had misinterpreted the same info.
Looking more like I should thin some existing trees in areas of decent solar exposure -for a variety of crops. Would be interested in hearing what others have done with almost totally wooded land. Silvopasturing looks interesting.