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Reforestation - Growing trees in arid, barren lands - by Seeds and Clay cubes (no watering)

 
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https://nyti.ms/2DE6nDw

Speechless...how they turned a garden of Eden into hell !!!

The challenge in front of us is to turn hell back into the garden of Eden

Is it possible ?

Kostas

 
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:https://nyti.ms/2DE6nDw

Speechless...how they turned a garden of Eden into hell !!!

The challenge in front of us is to turn hell back into the garden of Eden

Is it possible ?

Kostas


After watching the progress taking place at the Loess Plateau, I’d say anything is possible.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Good point Wayne, but...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loess_Plateau

Restoration has occurred over an area of about 35,000 square kilometers (about 5% of the plateau's total area).[9] Results have reduced the massive silt loads to the Yellow River by about one percent.


Loess plateau, like the Great Green Wall in Africa are good examples, of what is possible...but progress is slow...at this pace these projects will never be finished. We need more energy put into this effort.


Kostas
 
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Of course it is, but you will need to involve the local people. If you don't involve the people it's useless. If you can't make the people see their best interest is to make these gardens of Eden we're lost. You walk away they follow their short interest. Educated people cannot really fathom the problems poor people have. The more educated people THINK they are, the more ignorant they become. Real educated people understand these limits, but you can be real educated and hardly visited a school.
So much money/time and effort is lost because of this arrogance.
If you don't believe me, it's ok, let's look at the solution. Willie Smits got it figured out despite being highly educated.
We need an army of guys and girls that do like him, we'll be fine for a thousand years..


 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thank you for writing Hugo,

Bravo to Mr. Smits...he took his energy and money and created a heaven...we are grateful to people like him.

Kostas
 
Hugo Morvan
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Tony Rinaudo is another one who is very successful. He observed after many failures tree stumps that refused to die and grew them out. They bounced back amazingly well and after many set backs and obstacles he developed FMNR which stands for Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration. FMNR has the potential to make a massive difference. Millions of hectares of regrowth he envisions. Changing mind sets of millions poor farmers while at it. Much more to this story than my little summary..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm_qlyvdZ_A

There are many more people battling selfishly everywhere, it's baffling they don't get more attention. Ok there were actions like this, plant 20 million trees, so the momentum is definitely shifting into this direction, but these social media heroes don't make use of the knowledge base there is. They just plant trees without even knowing what kind of tree they're growing. A tree to them is just this thing with roots and leaves.
And the people struggling for years already trying to get things of the ground and these "festive" movements on the social media don't connect in the way it should, to really have the ultimate impact.

 
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That film about the church in Ethiopia was soo beautifull that i will rewatch it on Christmass.
I started to study desert growing fruit bushes after i foraged Nitraria Schoberi in Romania.
The problem with those red soils its that they are aged soo much and washed soo much by the rain that they became acidic and the iron oxidised and trapped the phosphorus.
The secret for those soils its in the phosphorus .
On the oldest soil in the world in Australia( red soils),manny plants have adapted  to take the phosphorus thats binded by iron through proteoid roots.
The Proteaceae evolved in such a low phosphorus enviroment that now phosphorus from fertiliser became toxic for them.
These plants could be used on such ferrosoils but they are a southern hemisphere genus of plants.
Macadamia its a good example of a crop that would do well on poore ferrosoils.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hugo, thank you for posting the video on Tony Rinaudo,

We have discussed his work and the amazing results they have achieved in the Sahel in this post, in the past.

As the years go by, the land there will continue to improve and become rich with organic matter. The farmers there will continue to invent and adapt. They are on the way to producing the desired garden of Eden.

I have looked at my farm for these tree stumps but have not found any. I do find wild pears and wild oak shrubs popping up which are most likely planted by birds. It would be great if I discovered stumps from old oak trees which were predominant in the area years ago, but I have not found any.

Each part of the world is different and we have to adapt and find solutions.

But there are common problems and solutions that exist everywhere.

Grazing animals are part of the problem and maybe part of the solution. If their grazing is controlled and limited, they can be useful to improve soil fertility. Uncontrolled these grazers destroy everything.

In the Loess plateau, they paid the farmers to keep the animals indoors; and I am sure they enforced that policy.

Willie Smits, bought the land and reforested. He had control over the land.

Bottom line is that if you are going to reforest an area you need to be able to control how it is being used, one way or another.

The presence of grazing animals should not be used as an excuse not to plant trees. They don't graze the entire planet.

Our friends in Brussels need to stop funding the destruction of the Earth. Providing subsidies for goats and chemical agriculture does not help matters. Subsidies can be targeted to promote good agricultural practices and grow good quality food.

Planting trees by seed is easy and inexpensive...anyone can do it...you don't need money, or expensive equipment, funding or hundreds of people. One person can make a difference; it does take persistence to determine the appropriate seeds for each area.


Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Bravo to the Danes !!!

https://www.thelocal.dk/20191120/why-youll-soon-be-able-to-pick-fruit-for-free-in-copenhagen/amp

All the best to everyone for the new year.

Kostas
 
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In my travels I've encountered in and around cities, by chance, delicious plums, figs, grapes, mulberries, mangos, avocados, cherries...
Btw, parks are great to hang out in a hot sunny day, I wish there were more parks and trees in and around cities. Shade from trees makes aircon and fans unnecessary. And more free fruits for all of us.
But the funny thing was, many of the trees were "untouched", meaning people were not interested in free fruits, or probably not paying attention.
 
Lana Weldon
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But on the other hand, planting trees in public places should be done intelligently. In Stockholm, I remember, some plum and apple trees where planted in the worst imaginable place, a park where youngsters go to get very drunk, during the summer. It is a very pretty place - when the youngsters are not around - the rest of the year. In the summer, every day that is not rainy, after 3 pm, the place fills up with drunk youth shouting, there's a lot trash, empty cans and bottles... And unfortunately, the trees were badly damaged and didn't recover.
 
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Answering to Kostantinos,

If anyone reading this from Spain or Portugal and has access to edible oak acorns, when they mature this winter...I would gladly pay for them. It's a good point...another tree that provides food for our two legged friends.

In Spain we have two subspecies of Quercus Ilex, Quercus ilex subsp. ilex and Quercus ilex subsp. Ballota (Rutundifolia), as you said, is the second one the one that produces the sweet edible acorns, but finding a specimen with real sweet edible acorns is very difficult.

Of course, the few old shepherds that remain may know the trees that produce sweet acorns, but I don’t know of anyone with real interest in selecting and propagating these trees. There in a nursery in Mallorca that sells small grafted trees claiming to be sweet acorn producers and I have two of them, but I will not know if the claim is true for at least three or four years when they grow the first acorns.

Sweet acorns are a real delicacy, but one cannot just plant one to grow a sweet acorn tree, since most (if not all) new trees will produce bitter acorns as they are hybrids and it seems that the sweet character is regressive. Shepherds in Spain didn’t know the necessary grafting technic needed to replicate the good trees and currently there in not much interest in preserving this trait, mostly out of ignorance since almost no one in Spain knows that there are sweet edible acorns.

Having enough time, there are a couple of things that can be done to find and grow good sweet acorn trees. First ask the current producer of grafted trees to hand out few acorns to try them and make make sure that they are really sweet and if so spread that tree and second travel around the Extremadura county in Sapin talking to the old shepherds and asking them to show which are the good specimens from which the grafts should be collected.

My two cents
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thank you for the informative post Galo,
I mistakenly thought I could reproduce sweet oak trees from acorns...I may need to buy small trees from Spain, or buy cutting and graft onto existing trees.

I am visiting southern Greece near Sparta where I grew up...the oak trees around here have been decimated. Yesterday I came across a few, in a remote area that I never visited before... they are the remnants of what used to be a strong oak forest. I was told by a neighbor who is 91 that some of these trees produced sweet acorns. He remembers that during the war they eat even bitter acorns to stave of hunger. He is the one who directed me to these trees.  I had heard old timers refer to these trees before but they were not sure any remained.

I will come back next fall to see if I can find any trees with sweet acorns.

Ask the nursery near you if they can ship the small trees to Greece.

Kostas
IMG_20191230_155846813_HDR.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20191230_155846813_HDR.jpg]
Nice surprise
IMG_20191230_163216644.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20191230_163216644.jpg]
And a not so pleasant...
 
Galo Mateos Pizarro
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Kostas,

Acorns from quercus ilex rotundifolia varies in bitterness from tree to tree and once ripe they are completely dark brown, and as it happens with chestnuts, the ripe acorns get sweeter (or lose some bitterness) and the shell becomes lighter in color as time passes. The real sweet ones are not bitter at all when ripe.
Here in Spain people in general never dare trying acorns and when they refer to sweet acorns they mostly talk about fodder for porks. Just to make sure this is not the case with little grafted trees offered by the nursery, tomorrow I will give them a call to make sure we are talking about real sweet acorns. If they are, I will check how we can handle the xilella fastidiosa and I will get back to you with my findings.
Have a good day,

Galo

 
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By seeding Quercus ilex, the chances of getting bitter acorns are there, even if you plant sweet ones, especially since Q. ilex is a cross-pollinating plant (see link).

However, this does not mean that all seeded plants will be bitter, especially if different sweet oak individuals are present in a population. I could not find anything quickly on the inheritance of tannin content in acorns, just that the heritability of foliar tannin content is 0.8, which means it is high (see link 2)

If they are bitter, they can always be grafted at a later stage with the sweet one, which allows you to work on a bigger area cheaper, and increases the drought tolerance of the seeded vs planted oak, at least in the first years. Would be great if you can get something without Xilella!

https://www.afs-journal.org/articles/forest/abs/1997/05/AFS_0003-4312_1997_54_5_ART0003/AFS_0003-4312_1997_54_5_ART0003.html

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11295-016-1069-9
 
Galo Mateos Pizarro
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I just talked to the nursery and they confirm that the acorns of their donor trees are sweet for human consumption. They also confirmed that it is forbidden for them to ship abroad due to the xylella outbreak.

After a quick review of the EU legislation, it seems possible to do the export of plants upon the issuance of a official certificate that declares the plants Xylella free, but of course before any export attempt, an in depth study of whether this is feasibly or not must be carried out both in Greece and Spain.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thank you Galo for looking into it... it's good to know that it is available...I will continue to plant the holly oak acorns that are easily accessible to me, and I will start looking for sweet acorn trees in Greece so I can use them for grafting. Oak trees are an important part of my reforestation project, and if they are edible by humans its a nice fit for the edible food forest part of it.

Please ask the nursery to check on the cost to ship to Thessaloniki Greece, three trees. I assume ground transportation to be the least expensive.

Shipping within the EU should not be a problem.

Kostas

 
Galo Mateos Pizarro
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Kostas,

They charge 21€ per each 20 cm grafted tree. They said over the phone that the don't ship outside the island (Mallorca-Spain) if you cant find any sweet acorn producing oak, we can look into the export paperwork and I am willing to help you with it on the Spanish part of it.

In case you want to contact directly with the nursery, here is the contact information their web is also in English and German and It is a great reliable nursery:
Viveros Llabrés
+ 34 971834888
viverosllabres.com

 
Galo Mateos Pizarro
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Kostas,

You posted two pictures, the first one looks like a quercus ilex, the second one is definitely not. Ilex leaves don't have lobes, by the shape of the leaves, it looks closer to a quercus pubescens.
In Spain we have millions of hectares covered with Quercus Ilex and I don't  think I am to mistaken if I say that one out of 10.000 trees have sweet acorns.
 
hans muster
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According to PFAF.org, in Morocco (or at least one part of Morocco), around 20% of the acorns are sweet. I am sure it is highly regional.
Galo, for which area do you think one in 10'000 is sweet?

In Spain you have the two subspecies, see the following picture from Wikipedia

Wikipedia says that all the pink ones are sweet, and all the green ones are bitter, I cannot confirm that, having tasted bitter oaks in the pink zone.

https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Quercus+ilex
 
hans muster
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You may also be interested in the following text:
http://www.lauriemeadows.info/food_garden/nut/Acorns_Bellota_Quercus_rotundifolia.html
Where I extracted the quotes:


...
range in size is from around  1.75 grams to 5.25 grams
...
The acorns are harvested not just for animal food, but, in some parts of Spain, as human food, as well. Apparently, in the past, they have been roasted on charcoal braziers and sold on the streets (around Christmas time) in the same way as chestnuts.Up until about the 1980's they have been an important food "for poor people" in times of food scarcity.  
...
Spanish literature suggests that while seedlings will start flowering at about 8 years old, they will not start producing acorns until 15 to 20 years old.
...
But the Holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia),known in Spain as 'Bellota', is usually essentially tannin free and slightly sweet to the taste without any processing - at least in Spain! Other countries report that the local Holm Oak acorns still require leaching (and putting the acorn kernels in a porous bag in the toilet cistern seems a favored solution over more complex methods - when the flush water runs clear, the tannin is gone!). If the thin 'skin' around the acorn is still present, it apparently should be removed, as it is said to be bitter.
...

 
Galo Mateos Pizarro
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I live in Madrid, right in the middle of the pink area of the wikipedia map that Hans posted. I am 62 and I have always been a country man. I am the only person I know that always try the acorns I come across with. Today I tried maybe 20 different ones (the acorns are starting to be tempered enough). I can count with the fingers of one of my hands the number of people I ever met that consider acorns in Spain edible for humans, and those who consider them edible know that if you are to eat them strait from the ground, they are almost always bitter to certain degree. Yes you can eat acorns from the trees, but they are in general too bitter, after one month on the ground they are bearable to me and after two or three months the odd ones that have survived are still slightly bitter but definitely edible.
I have never found myself a sweet acorn producing tree, but I tried sweet acorns given to me by different people, there are few articles in Spanish talking about them and the odd tree that produces them. Of course people have eaten acorns in times of scarcity of food and you can process them to get rid of the tannin, but in every attempt I made to cook them or roast them I never came out with something that I would enjoy eating. In Spain we have many more acorns than chestnuts and in autumn and winter you find people selling roasted chestnuts on the streets but never acorns.
As I commented in a previous post, farmers in Spain feed acorns mainly to pork and when they market them they refer to these acorns as sweet acorns when they belong to the subspecies Ballota (acorn in Spanish is "bellota") but I guess this is just because these are less bitter than those of other quercus species that grow in Spain.
Maybe in Morocco 20% of the trees have sweet acorns, that I don't know, but I assure you that in Spain almost nobody consider them edible, but the few ones that have been lucky enough to try the sweet ones, even if wikipedia says that they are sweet and edible.
 
hans muster
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Thanks for your precisions, highly appreciated.

I have eaten sweet cork oaks (Quercus suber), cooked without leaching, and they were almost as sweet as chestnut. Definitely something I would eat more if it was readily available.
I didn't have the luck to try sweet Q. ilex yet, only got bitter ones so far (I didn't taste many).

And if you have some articles in spanish: puedo leer los, hablo el idioma un poco
 
Galo Mateos Pizarro
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Hans,
Thank you for the links, I enjoyed the reading. As it is said on them, the term sweet is subjective and I guess that has been the subject of my discussion. My opinion is not biased due to regional occurrence of sweet acorns within Spain since I traveled mostly all over Spain and I never found meaningful regional differences in the flavor of the acorns.
Sorry if I got intense with the subject.
 
Galo Mateos Pizarro
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Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thank you for the insightful discussion.

Just came across this....very interesting

https://www.oakmeal.com/

Olives need to be processed to remove the bitterness before they become edible....acorns can be viewed in a similar manner.

While its an added benefit to have sweet oaks, their absence is not a deal killer. In due time we will find and graft sweet oaks around cities and towns for people to snack on.

Kostas
 
hans muster
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Galo: thanks for the links, interesting, especially that the seeded acorns gave sweet offspring.

Kostas: I think it is the same company as described in this short movie, http://www.woodlanders.com/blog/2017/10/30/episode-18-acorn-harvest
By the way a really good website

What would be really interesting would be to seed 100 sweet acorns in an isolated place, and 20 years later remove all bitter ones. This would make a seed production for sweet acorn producing trees easier. But yes, needs quite a lot of resources.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Can any oak tree be used as root stock for grafting?
Kostas
 
hans muster
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One limitation with grafting is deciduous vs wintergreen, they cannot be grafted as the metabolism is different. (well, there are some tricks, like leaving a branch, but it requires a lot of work)

Other than that, I have no idea about compatibilities, haven't grafted oaks yet.
Patrice, in the french grafting website here, https://www.greffer.net/?p=211 seems to say that there are no other limitations, but that the trees do not get as old as seeded trees. He also says that grafting works better with 2 year old scionwood
 
Lana Weldon
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Not sure if anyone mentioned JUJUBE? Very nice little fruit, trees being very abundant during the fruit season, ate lots of them for free directly from the tree, in drier parts of Northern Thailand, grows also in some parts of China I think, not sure how well it would thrive in Greece for intance, might be worth a try?
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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I roasted some Holly oak acorns today...slightly bitter to not bitter...

Not sweet like the ilex rotundifolia acorns from Burra in Portugal.

Kostas

 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Lana,
I tried planting some jujube trees at our farm a few years ago...they did not survive the summer...I have not tried seeds.
Kostas
 
Wayne Mackenzie
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I’m surprised the Jujube trees didn’t survive. I had one die above the graft and the rootstock is becoming a sticker patch. It hasn’t had supplemental water for several years.
I give my other Jujubes a very small drink during the spring sometimes to get the biology moving.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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sticker patch
Kostas
 
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i have planted up some 70 quercus rotundifolia grown from acorns sourced from spain and portugal , my rough taste test of a 10%random sample out of the acorns gave ---half taste sweetish to the rest being very bitter without  roasting them , i believe that the sweeter tasters have a good chance of growing into a tree that produces the same ---even better if they were pollinated from similar trees around them . The rotundifolia do hybridize with other similar oaks but not always that easy-- there is a differance in their pollen s and timing of it ---but the sweeter producers are rare and becoming even more so i believe because of the decline in rural practices , and the increased demand for cork--- the balance of tree numbers has shifted ---no use in keeping those that dont give cork or are hybridized and give inferior product. Perhaps you will need to put more attention and protection for the acorns you have and establish a glade of them to produce the sweeter type for further expansion --lots of time and effort though--more money in other words--always is ---there is a type of wire cage that some group developed for difficult heavy predated sites and losses of rare tree s -- the acorn is planted with it and it prevents birds ,rodents or pigs from getting to them --they could be made up DIY . Good luck and continued success with this project , and for bringing about a better awareness of the situation in greece ---and the truer facts of the holm oak rotundifolia.
 
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:sticker patch
Kostas


I think it means thorny thicket
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Quick question Tony,
Where did you plant these oaks?  Climate conditions?  How often did you water them if at all? Did they all survive?

I just planted a few holly oaks (30+/-) at the side of the road that was constructed 30 plus years ago. There is an inch of soil on top of pure stone substrate. There are a few shrubs growing from wind deposited seeds. It will be interesting to see how these oaks do....will they be able to survive the summer without help?

The whole exercise took 10 minutes...its that easy to plant trees by seed... conventionally the cost of blasting thru stone even for just one tree is prohibitive.

Kostas
 
Wayne Mackenzie
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:sticker patch
Kostas


It’s a super thorny plant that suckers like crazy.
 
tony uljee
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I am in  the opposite water situation to yours ,west coast of ireland ---we are almost floating off our land ---heavy soils lots of clays and gley , very boggy land --i have had to dig drainage channel s all around my 2 acres , but the rotundifolia s just keep growing , we have sudden temperature drops -overnight frosts and then high temperature ,then rain and wind all in one afternoon ---for weeks at a time ---and it doesnt bother them. I dont think we have low or high enough temperature range for them to go dormant--they wont ever be without enough water . Having said that ,2 years ago we had a  3 month spell of dry weather --no rain ---first time ever i have seen cracks develop in the ground in the 21 years i have been here---i had to buy 5 hose pipes to connect up and water some of my other seedling trees ---(had i been living in a city area this might not have been allowed --as we had a hose pipe ban coming into action ---can you imagine that) ----but not the rotundifolias . My first holm and cork oak plantings about 9 years ago all ended in failure---got germination of about 30 holm and 20 cork--they struggled for years and withered away ---well i have one left ---i think it might be a cork oak and it has hardy grown --its about 10 inches in hight  after 9 years --a natural bonsai .These rotundifolia s did not grow fast like the burr oak , hazel ,pecan and chestnuts i started from seeds/acorn have done--but steady and stayed green ,some of the chestnuts i think are not doing well because soil is to wet --either root rot or the cation exchange of acidic soil is causing deficiency ---i might try an experiment---graft a chestnut onto an oak. I have some thoughts about how these trees became sweeter tasting, but its not scientific or observation /fieldwork based , and i am trying to establish how old the practice or tradition is of eating the sweeter tasting acorn ---how far back was it recorded that these were better than others?
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thanks for the info Tony.... very interesting....let us know about your grafting experiment...
What was the countryside of Ireland 1000 years ago....was it always grassland? If no how and why were the trees/ forest  destroyed.
Kostas
 
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