Most of the future trees will ideally be propagated from native families already on the farm. There are extensive populations of chestnut oak, white oak, honey locust, and persimmon while individual black walnut are scattered about. Nearby, there is a forest of diverse oak and hickory that I have access to as well.
However bringing in foreign cultivated trees is carried out for any number of reasons:
- there are other trees that were either native at one time but can no longer be found
- eg: chinquapins, red mulberry, pawpaw
- native tree populations are too low density resulting in less than desired genetic density for breeding
- eg: black walnut
- native species are extinct so the next best possibility is considered
- eg: american chestnut – chinese chestnut or hybrids
- non-native species offer potential that warrants experimentation
- eg: black or white mulberry, filbert, pecan, etc,
- finally, some improvements have been made in cultivation where the improved genes are desired to breed into the native species
- eg: persimmon
It also warrants mentioning that some specific species or varieties of species were chosen to cultivate for human food. Specifically Superberry Black Mulberry is a variety that has a very high pectin content and is being grown to provide a base to jellies/jams/preserves/butters. Cannonball black walnuts produce 1 pound nuts that look like, well cannonballs.
Here are all of the trees that were planted this week that align with the above goals.
Trees for human consumption:
Trees for animal consumption:
Not pictured are 2 native black walnuts for animal consumption that I forgot to plant and have been heeled with the grapes and berries.
While this post is to keep up with current events on the farm, a “Master Plan” of tree cultivation will be published soon that is broken into human vs animal fodder goals of tree cultivation. Yet it is important to note that the two goals are not mutually exclusive. Animals can and will self-harvest anything that has fallen before or after the harvest for human consumption.