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Forest Edge Advice

 
                                
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In my ongoing quest to grow less grass and more food my wife gave me permission to plant along the edge of the forest in our backyard.  i live in northern ohio and animals in my area are ground hogs, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and occassionally deer.  i am mostly concerned with ground hogs and rabbits. 

my question is what can i plant along this tree line that i would not have to protect with fencing?  the area would get very good afternoon sun. the soil is is sandy but i will top it with some good compost.  what plants could these critters care less about but could bare some good fruit?
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Blackberries and other vine fruits should be immune to grazing, and are forest edge plants in natural ecosystems in climates similar to your's.
 
Dave Miller
Posts: 409
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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In my yard I have to protect young fruit trees from rabbits and deer.  Once they get big enough, the critters leave them alone.

I have traditionally used plant protectors (plastic tubes) to protect from rabbits.  Although I think a more permie solution would be to plant something with thorns surrounding the young tree.  I have also wanted to try stinging nettle for this purpose.  The stems last quite a long time but I'm not sure if they last all winter.

I have also experimented with bamboo branches which have worked surprisingly well.  You stick a few branches right next to the trunk of the tree/shrub.  Critters may graze the plant a bit, but they won't eat the whole thing because they have to maneuver their face around the bamboo branches.  Of course if that is the only food around they will do it, but in my case they just move on to something easier.

You'll also need to protect the trunk from bucks rubbing their antlers on young trees.  You might try building a brush pile around the tree until it grows to more than 3" diameter.  I suspect that the bamboo branches would also work but I haven't tried that since we got our yard fenced (to keep the deer out).
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i like fruiting bushes in the forest edges here, you can use wildlife edibles or human edibles..also things like climbing plants work well on the edges (grapes, kiwi, cl roses, etc)

I also throw in seeds of wildflowers into the woods edges, some take, some don't,but it is nice for the bees to have something to draw them in to the edges as well.

I try to put in a few people edibles ...if the edge is large enough you could do like I have here and put in nut and fruit trees along the south edges..I have 3 walnuts, some mulberries, wild plums, apricots, hazelnuts, chokecherry seeds put in today...blackberry, raspberry, mushrooms,

just about anything will grow in an edge, but a lot depends on the condition of the edge of the woods..soil ..shade and sun..etc.
 
Mac Nova
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Try growing a bit of feed for the rabbits and the deer don't be greedy and want everything for yourself.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Deer love rose family plants particularly if they are irrigated.  That would be my primary worry.  I am not sure what 'sharing with the deer' looks like in reality -- you could have your entire planting destroyed depending on browse pressure.

I have had some luck using bruch piles to deter deer.  My deer (white-tail) have not eaten heavily of my hazelnuts, and they are relatively drought tolerant.  South facing forest edge can be hot and dry, as the forest drinks heartily, but you get summer rain and I do not.

If rabbits/ground hogs are a problem, they are also likely a good yield.  There's a good appalacian tune called 'ground hog'... "crust of bread layin on the shelf, if you want some dinner get it yer'self... ground hog..."

I ditto the cane fruit recommendation.. lots of wild species as well as cultivated.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Posts: 8975
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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bubba29 wrote:
i am mostly concerned with ground hogs and rabbits.


Dinner! 

 
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