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Growing Trees on Shale

 
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Location: Atascadero, CA 9a
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Does anyone have any recommendations for trees (fruiting, ornamental, etc.) that grow well in areas with lots of shale?  I have an area with quite a bit of shale, lots of shell fossils in it.  I was thinking something with a deeper tap root would be able to break through well.  Looking for something thicker to block the view of the roadway on the other side.
 
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Location: Western WA
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Not sure what trees would particularly do well, but i would plant some comfrey to help access the minerals in the soil, as well as break up the shale a bit, and make them available to whatever you end up planting. It may make a difference and allow you to plant something that would do poorly or not well otherwise. Then your main planting doesn't necessarily need to have a deep tap root.

I would also include a perrenial nitrogen fixer as well either as your main planting or alternating with it, if your soil is poor!
 
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Conifers might do what you are wanting, they can break up granite so shale should not be a problem for those.
Look into juniper varieties for wind or privacy screens.
 
steward
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Up in Medicine Bow Wyoming there is a tall shale outcrop /bluff where nothing but Ponderosa pines grow. It is really a weird site, no trees for miles, only sagebrush and grass. Then a miles long string of forest, only about 50 yards wide. Try some ponderosa Pine.
 
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I have a couple of acres of shale ledge where vast pockets of pure bedrock show. On that site White Pine, popil, white birch, beech and yellow birch grow.

My long term plan is to actually cut the wood, chip it and then cover the area so that low-bush blueberries can be planted. Granted that is a staple of Maine agriculture so they do well here, but it is very common on the rock terrain that Maine has (and its highly acidic soil). Your PH levels will indicate what should be planted more then if it has shale or not. Alfalfa for instance can punch a tap root 20 feet down in pure ledge, but requires 6.8 PH levels...
 
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