Importance of Mycorrhizae in Forestry

gates gates at
Fri Jan 2 15:33:49 EST 1998

In article <883595071.1178927105 at>, dwheeler at
>I'm glad to hear it. You might try finding a copy of Russell Smith's Tree
>Crops. You and I are apparently not the only one's who have been dreaming
>about this. Russell evidently thought about it for quite a while. He
>suggests planting an acre of chestnuts is more productive than planting
>an acre of corn, based solely on the food value derived. He also suggests
>the wide-row spacing of trees to allow co-cropping of vegetables, herbs,
>and even other tree species. 

>And the book is only 50 years old...     ******************************
The guy who taught me some bits did tell me about trees being under used
as a growing medium but, to be honest, I never thought of truffles.  I
had chantrelle fungi in mind sure, but you're a bit of a fresh breeze on
this point.  I did however tell some local bods. about truffles some
months ago.  Anyway, my mentor claimed to have been taught by one who
learned from her husband well before the middle of the last century.  (I
learned at 11 in 1963 and he at least before the first war.  She was old
when he was taught and had been 18 when her aged husband died (yes I
wonder if she wore him out too [g])).  What it was that was taught was
to use all of the tree and this must include the roots mustn't it?  At
that time though it wasn't even understood how a fairy ring formed
outside the previous mycellum.  What was driven at was using all the
felled tree, the trunk to harvest birds and ivy, (for sticks and
wreaths, crowns, etc., upper branches for arial plants (though not many
in E. England), mammals, more birds and so on.  Roots dug up were dried
for faggots.  (Burning not meatball or other type.)  Sticks were
actually saleable for peas and beans (supports) and other things.
Thicker bits were used for hurdles (and there are Kentish hurdles 100%
chestnut) and of course there's a plethora of teas, tissanes,
medications and other uses for everything from blossom and leaves to
galls (dye) and nodes.  Cut off the tree at logging they could be de-
barked and roughly hollowed to take a pint of ale in an evening by the
fire.  My own brain has developed the use of forest to include teaching
coppicing or pole lathe turning and bodging for wannabe countryfolk,
birch slicing for pokerwork fans and so on.  In my mentor's day no-one
would pay to learn to lay a hedge or whatever, now they come in droves.  

By the way, chestnut is accepted as an indiginous species here though it
isn't and an acre of it's crop is less valuable than anything you can
name except at xmas for stuffing and roasting.  The French sell marron
glace in little boxes and of course a really grateful person would bake,
pound and grind the chestnuts for a really good flour for several
recipes.  However, these days, we can buy cheap flour for about 30p a
kilo and a good one for 90p - strong stoneground stuff - so alternatives
aren't needed.  What we do need is the re-introduction of pannaging or
cheap husk processing to extract nuts.  Fortunately I get the impression
pannaging is on the increase.  Also we had the war and utility
furniture, clothing, etc. all on ration.  People here got fed up with
egg powder, acorn coffee and second best making do generally.  Only
recently has egg powder made a bit of a comeback.  Give it another
generation and using the wildwood more completely may come back.  There
will certainly be a move that way as set-aside subsidy for not using
arable land continues, pressure to plant woods tax free increases and it
is appreciated that you can do a lot in a wood.  Pheasant rearing, etc.
is on the decrease and so windbreak woods kept for the purpose will be
in danger.  The fact is that they never acted as a windbreak to huge
fields only tiny ones.  However you can rear poultry in them, hire them
out to a shoot, dig a carp fishing pond, pannage pigs, let folk camp
while learning their pole lathe turning, even edge them with crop
producers.  As apples and other fruits go up in price so it will be
worth having non orchard fruiot trees.  Many vineyards in England now
grow other things too and could produce, say, a blackcurrant and pinot
noir wine when the latter would be gnats pee.  Such places also import,
if you please, oak chippings to flavour wine with.  Here's a use for
good English non log timber if ever there was one.  Indeed, you may wish
to contact Napa Valley folk and find the specifications for what they
use in the event you can match it (no fungus, just flavour?).

Thanks for the response.  Better go before I'm accused of verbal
diarhoea.  Regards,   Les    
(beth or les or fludd or keeper)

Beth Thompson 
BM: Gates of Annwn  
London WC1N 3XX,  U.K.                 Pagan Contact Magazine
                             44+(0)1708 863080 (answerphone may operate)
                            (Ring and speak first to send fax if wished.)

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