2014-01-24 at 11:57 am #43606
I have a 100+ year old farmstead that has HUGE old maples in the yard. I just started the course, but wanted to start thinking about things I can add this spring. I have no understory….just maples to grass. I want to add other layers and have an idea what to do with the orchard I started last year but am unsure how to proceed in the yard under the maples.
Has anyone else developed a food forest under 60+ foot tall maples? Ideas or suggestions to get me started?
Thanks for your time!2014-01-25 at 6:14 am #43651
The soil shouldn’t be disturbed at all, or covered more than 4 inches deep. I would recommend first running a chicken tractor over a manageable section to prep the ground, then sheet mulch with cardboard or newspaper covered with 2 to 4 inches of wood chip (not sawdust or bark nugget). Good chip has leaves and needles mixed into it. Just dish back the chip and cut a hole in the cardboard where you want to plant, then fill the dish with the appropriate compost and pull the chip back in place when finished. Soak the chip well and make sure the plant roots can access the soil under the cardboard. Wild onion, Solomon’s seal, ostrich fern, sweet woodruff for the shade. You can use hostas as a ground cover dynamic accumulator. The large leaves take up good space with few plants. The sunny edges of the trees could be planted with hardy fruit tree polycultures. Or perennial herbal/farmaceutical edges. Top dress with more chip as the existing turns into rich soil keeping the chip back some inches from the trunks and bases of plants ( don’t bury the crowns in chip or
soil. Hope this helps. A great resource I picked up recently is ” edible forest gardens vol 1&2″. Cheers2014-01-26 at 3:18 pm #43787
Here is an interesting e-book on tree centered guilds …. not a specific one for maple 🙁
Are you tapping those maples for sap to make syrup?2014-01-30 at 10:43 pm #44333
Maples feed very much at surface level, maybe in the natural state, there is not much understory under an old maple such as you have.2014-01-31 at 8:02 pm #44451
It’s important to know what kind of maples they are.2014-02-01 at 6:35 pm #44486
I would plant lots of shade loving herbs, as well as shade tolerating herbs, and build up the edges… if you have to thin out the center so you can create a lot more edges consider doing that. Edges are the most productive part of virtually any landscape. consider putting in a long pond, or a swale if appropriate through the maples. Create more edges, plant those edges and add new features to the landscape… I love the idea of adding water features such as a very long and narrow pond… that winds through the trees.
What is your Climate zone? Where are you located?2014-02-02 at 5:47 am #44514
Thanks for all the replies! We are tapping them this year for sap…they are red maples. We are in 5 B in Ohio. We have reintroduced a perennial pasture for our sheep in land that was row cropped for many years. We have instituted grazing practices that put a lot of “litter”/biomass on the ground for cover. But now I want to move to the area around the house and have these large maples. They provide tremendous shade in the summer so I appreciate all the ideas that these videos and you all are generating. I love the idea of using the edges or the gaps to inches our diversity and do plan on adding ponds at some point in time. We will be adding shade loving plants around them. We started an orchard last year and have been getting a local tree service to dump all their trimmings/mulch on the property to help conserve moisture around the plants. We will be creating guilds around the yearling fruit trees as well. I’ve been visualizing potential swales to capture rainwater runoff as well as fill potential pond sites.
Keep the ideas coming! Thanks for your help!
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