other agroforest plantings

Ron Wenrich woodtick at lebmofo.com
Sun Dec 7 10:31:44 EST 1997

dwheeler at teleport.com wrote:

> In article <3489202D.7EF7 at forestmeister.com>,
>   Joseph Zorzin <redoak at forestmeister.com> wrote:
> >
> > My concern about planting crops of any kind around trees is damage to
> > the roots of the trees.
> >
> > How do agroforestmeisters deal with this problem?
> I don't think I qualify as a +agroforestmeister+, but in Smith's Tree
> Crops, it is suggested that plants such as blueberry, herbs,
> strawberries, truffles, rhododendrons, herbaceous foliage plants such as
> salal and evergreen huckleberry, various ferns, and fungi be
> co-cultivated between rows of trees which are spaced slightly further
> apart than normal.

Eastern hardwoods are not grown in rows.  Spatial alignment is gained through
periodic thinnings, and is random in nature.  Blueberry grows on very acid
sites, which is not a great place to grow hardwoods.  Truffle knowledge in
the east is practically unknown by foresters or landowners.  Gingseng and
other botanicals are starting to attract some interest.  Stawberries need
more light than can be found in forested situations.  I've never seen
strawberries in the woods.  Ferns effect seed germination and seedling
development, and bracken fern will kill anything that tries to invade its
territory.  Morels and other fungi offer some interesting possibilities,
however, there seems to be little information on propagation, or where to get

> This is doubly interesting, because Smith was an economist, not a forest
> manager or orchardist. He did, however, suggest in the 1930's that it
> made more economic sense to plant oak and chestnut for long-term
> production of acorns and nuts as mast, than a similar acreage of corn.
> The advantage of tree crops was obvious: one planting every 300 years vs.
> planting every year. Chestnut harvest now is still possible provided that
> the site is on rather steep slopes, otherwise chestnut blight tends to
> affect the tree quickly, usually resulting in stunted growth or death.

I don't know of any market for acorns.  I've tried some, and they weren't
very tasty, even roasted.  Nut crops are hard, since you have to beat the
squirrels to the harvest.  Chestnut blight has taken care of native chestnut
harvests, steep slopes or not.  Although there are some nut bearing chestnut,
the harvest is too scant and too spread out to make it economical.

> It is interesting to note that several species of truffle are also
> associated with oak and chestnut.

What types?  This is the type of information that foresters are starving for.


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