Monday, May 7, 2012

Trails in the alders

I've mentioned on the forum that I have been putting some trails through an alder "forest". If you can call it a forest. This is black dirt, swampy area and it is nearly all just alders, which tend to die out in the center. I have been pulling out the dead and cleaning up the windfalls and piling it along the trails, and I would like to take advantage of the nitrogen fixing of the alders and their ability as nurse trees to plant some food forest trees among them but am trying to figure out what to plant here. Right now the paths are mainly grass and wild violets. There are bear and deer that use these trails here, so planting both human and animal food is a goal. The stacks and piles of deadwood would also help to protect any small plants feeding them and protecting them from browsing.
Right now the woods is partially flooded so I can't walk far along the trails to photo, but I took these two photos this morning of the alder trail "start".

As you can see the alder trees are quite small in diameter and don't grow very tall, they tend to die very young. There are some areas near a drainage ditch that is higher and drier and I'm thinking that some full size fruit trees might be a good idea for planting in the drier areas. I am considering seeding in apple, pear, plum, peach, etc..and maybe putting in cuttings of seedless grapes to grow up and thru the alders. I am also considering lining one of the path areas with some black raspberries (as I have a lot of them). Leeks were mentioned, or ramps, so I'm going to see about getting either some starts or seeds of those to put in. Thought photos would be helpful in giving me advice on what to put in.

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