agroforestry question

truffler1635 at truffler1635 at
Sun Jan 23 15:34:01 EST 2000

In article <25214-388A8E6D-16 at>,
  TREEFARMER at wrote:
> Todd we grow corn and soybeans, the only marginally profitable row crops
> left in Midwestern agriculture. When we got out of cattle over 20 years
> ago we planted the pastures to trees. At the time we went by soil types
> and didn't pay much attention to seeps as they were hard to detect in
> pasture situations. In addition we were in a dry cycle and many didn't
> appear until the next wet cycle. In many cases the areas were small.
> What seems to be the pattern is that small seedlings are affected long
> before their roots even reach the 1-2' depths. The spots are always the
> same. At this point, due to GPS yield mapping, one can pinpoint where
> the best and worse areas of the fields will be regardless of the
> weather. The seeps will be worse even in times of drought.
Perhaps you should consider using other tree species in these seep
areas. Locally in Oregon (where the water is always coming down) wet
areas have different tree species than drier/rockier/better drained
sites. Ponderosa pine is one species that tolerates damp ground
surprisingly well. Cottonwood, willow, poplar, will cause a lot of water
loss through transpiration and faster growth, which should cause at
least some of the excess water to be decreased, and increase the range
of productive soils for Black walnut.

It will also cause species diversity, and _could_ result in other crops
from the same lands without harvesting trees. Many saprophytic fungi
such as shiitake (Lentinula edodes), oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus),
morels (Morchella sps) and others prefer these wet-area trees (and
especially pruned branches) to Black walnut. Increased biomass from
these trees may actually elevate soil levels near seeps. But you may
consider putting bales of straw in the same areas. I've had good
production of blewitt mushrooms using soggy bales of wheat or oat straw
as substrates. Plus the nutrients left in the straw becomes readily
available to the trees growing in the area, acting as a natural sponge
and increasing humus in the soil for at least 2 years. I'll bet that
will increase tree growth over the next 5 years.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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