Thank you all so much for the awesome advice/information. Sorry so slow to reply. After reading thru what everyone said and re-evaluating what I did and plan to do I am definitely going to make some changes. Any orchard trees planted along the edge of where we cleared will be guilded with natives that are already basically there. In fact I will probably do that with the entire perimeter of the orchard since natives are already established and I want hedges for wildlife and foraging. I think it could work - then I will just amend the soil in the central region of the orchard and there I will plant by non-native understory plants etc. There will be easier access in the center for soil and plant maintenance anyway.
Before I planted the cherry tree I did amend the soil before sheet mulching a giant donut around it. UGh I hope I didn't go too deep and kill it. See pic if you want a laugh =) I hadn't even thought about the idea that since I changed the pH of the soil the native roots my not be so excited about coming back there. Interesting thought... I did put a ring of daffodils at the drip line and dug out so many friggin' rocks that I planned to bury a rock ring just outside the bulb ring. After pulling all those roots and cleaning it up I started kicking myself thinking I could have just let that be the understory but it is just so close to invading our zone 1 that it was best. Too, I will probably plant some herbs and maybe even veggies under it. I don't really have an ideal location for an herb spiral in zone 1 so I was planning to spread my herbs out at the edges of that zone which is where the cherry tree sits. Beyond the cherry tree will be the main orchard.
I certainly see the value in the local flora for us and wildlife. It is just that we have a TON of it and I do need a little room for some fruit and nut trees and other non-native shrubs. I am leaving the NE corner of our property almost completely untouched as our zone 5. Loads of salal, huckleberry etc in that area... hoping to get some inoculated mushroom logs going too. Seems to be the perfect spot!
I am curious about the sadistic strategy mentioned by Hans. I have a 5 gal bucket of molasses I have been trying to donate to various goat and horse rescues with no luck. I had the idea to spread it in the garden/sheet mulch as I was building my beds. Am I going to annihilate everything? or is it only the combination of molasses with the corn gluten that does that? I thought it would be a nice food boost to the composting army but maybe not so.... yikes! Glad you mentioned that!
And thank you Peter for the tick advice. I already have/had Lyme disease and I don't need anymore tick bites. ARGH!
Wish I could come down for a broad forking party but I am stretched so thin right now it took me 3 weeks to reply! If things settle down here though I think that would be fun =) I would have to bring my girls... oldest would do well but my youngest is a little pistol. I could drive down and it could end up being a total disaster. ahh well,... the life I chose ....
thanks so much everyone!