It may seem strange for a farm that has so many trees to want to plant more, but trees are very important. You just have to have the right kind of trees. The ‘Christmas’ trees we have are old, straggly, and in many cases dying. These need to be removed. Our forest trees are too much of a monoculture. Most of them are new growth, according to the previous owner he just let things grow and could not be bothered to do any work. This means we have an overabundance of Sweet gum trees and not much else. Having a more diverse woodland, and in our case trees that will be more useful as medicine are important to add.
So this weekend we cleared away some of the understory and greenbrier thicket (man I hate greenbrier, it’s lethal) removed a few small sweetgums and a couple of dead or dying chokecherries and planted a few new trees. My new trees are two lovely horse chestnut trees and three Chinese apricots. Usually expensive trees we were fortunate enough to pick them up at a bargain price from a nursery that was closing and no one else wanted them. I am delighted. The apricots are lovely small trees with beautiful flowers in the springtime and medicinal fruits later. The horse chestnuts we planted are about 15 feet tall but will still be a few years yet before we get useful fruits from them.
Five trees, it does not seem as if it should take that long to plant, but when you have to clear out all the underbrush, remove all the greenbrier, clean out all the fallen branches, twigs and other unwanted material before you even start to plant it takes a while. Then we had to fix the desired position for the tree, dig the hole to the correct depth, ease the tree into position and fill the hole back up again. We had hoped to get it all done in one day but somehow it took most of the weekend. Still finally we have some different trees in our mix.
Eventually the larger sweetgums around the new trees will be removed and recycled as shitake food or logs for our winter fireplace. Our new trees will offer a better green canopy and provide a more diverse woodland at the same time.