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tag alder question

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
Well I have these trails through a forest of small tag alders. They tend to grow in clumps and they also tend to die quickly..like sections of the clumps die out and fall into my trails.

Well because I don't really have a use for all those dead tag alders, I toss them to the side of the trail like in a pile like pick up sticks, parrallel to each other and then throw in the brush and tops.

Well I have these paths through the tag alders that are wide enough to mow with a zero turn rider..the only thing really growing in the area right now is grass, wild violets and dandelions.

I am hoping to figure out what I can plant along the trails among the alders, they are nitrogen fixers, and, the soil is dark black. There are some kinda partly sunny areas on the east side, and then some mostly shady areas in the deeper parts of the "woods".

I would like suggestions on what might be good to plant here..food plants are something I would like to put in, but I also would put in non food plants as well. I am thinking of putting in some checkermallow for the deer (they love them) and maybe the'll leave the hostas alone !!

I would like to MASK some of the piles of dead limbs that are along the edges of the trails too so anything that might like to grow near the dead alder branches that might cover them up would be really nice..It would be nice to make hugel beds out of the branches but I just have way way way too many and not enough soil available.

thanks for any suggestions.


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 5843
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
  88
Wild leeks ("ramps") like shady forested areas. I know they occur naturally in upstate NY, so might do well in your area.
I believe that they do most of their leaf growth early, before the trees leaf out, but want shade after that.

Like most alliums, once you get them established, they go forever if you don't over harvest them.

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
Wonder where you could find seed for "wild" leeks. Possibly regular leek seed would work? I also have walking onions and chives I could put starts of back there.

The soil is extremely rich black slimy a bit mucky soil..

the alders grow in clumps and the clumps tend to form multiple clumps of 2 or 3 clumps with spaces between about 6 to 10 feet..forming beds of clumps. I have cleared some of the spaces between some of the clumps enough to make 2 passes with the zero turn mower between for trails, and turnaround, and I have piled the rotting debris (mostly alder branches) along the trails next to the clumps of alder.

the paths are a mix of grass (that also grows in clumps or tufts) and violets (the tiny little wild ones). I probably could bring back some of the non native violets among them, but they might be so aggressive as to kill off the wild ones.

some areas of the woods I have put in hostas, lady's mantle, aruncus goatsbeard, filipendula along the paths...but I would like food crops. I would also like to mayube put in some other trees and shrubs besides the alder, to take advantage of the fertiilty of the osil and the sun..as the alders don't get very tall compared to the other forest trees west of the patches of alder...east of the alder is an open field that is now being reforested mostly into evergreens, alders, a few aaspens and whatever I can seed into it.

I would prefer some trees that I could put in by seed that would grow quickly, as $ are short around here so buying trees to put back there isn't really easy..also I could stick cuttings into the soil back there of trees or shrubs as well. I do know most fruit trees do prefer alkaline soils and I'm sure this is more acidic..

I have a lot of shrubs around here I could possibly take some cuttings of, but would like some standard size trees that will use the alder fertility and protection and grow above the alders to reach the sun.
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 5843
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
  88
Here is a link to a farm that specializes in ramps:

http://www.rampfarm.com/

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
thanks for the info, i bookmarked it and unless I can find a wild source of seed around here, i'll plan to order some when they are avail in Sept..
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
here is a link to a couple photos on my blog of the trails in the tag alders to give you some better idea of what I'm facing here

http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/2012/05/trails-in-alders.html
Max Kennedy


Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 453
Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
Wonder if anyone has tried to use chipped tag alder to grow Shiitake or Oyster mushrooms which grow on alder logs.


It can be done!
Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1385
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
    6
Thanks for posting the link to the ramp farm! I have been looking for some.


1. my projects
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
I have shiitake plugs in a bag resting waitinig to innoculate ash and aspen logs, there is some small pieces of something in there with mycilium on that also and I have a chipper so I was thinking of chipping up a combination of alder, aspen and ash branches into a pile around the logs that I innoculate, and putting the small pieces that are covered with the mycilium into a substrate of chips around the logs..and see if they might feed on the chips and also grow mushrooms.

I just cut the aspen logs yesterday, the ash logs are ready now but I'm waiting a few days for the aspen logs to rest and to get the chipper out..I'm hoping to have all 3 producing. My tag alders are too small to use themselves for mushrooms I think..but I have so many I figured some chips would be helpful.

also we have a huge mess of wild mushrooms going to spores right now in our woods cause of the flooding so I'm attempting to isolalte my logs from the wild spores.
Max Kennedy


Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 453
Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
Let us know if the mushroom spore takes to the tag alder chips. I can access tonnes of it so would love to know if it is viable. Also wondering about artificial logs, finely shredded paper + chips pressed into a log and inoculated. will see if I can set up an experiment. Too much to do and not enough time!
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
will do, still waiting on the overnight frosts to subside to get started on putting in the shiitake plugs i bought.

I have decided on putting some Jerusalem Artichoke bulbs along one side of the alder woods where there are a lot of "habitat for inhumanity" brushpiles..mostly for the critters here..but also to screen the somewhat unsightly brush piles..and provide deer and bear browse along the woodsy paths..so I'll start working on that this week.
 
 
subject: tag alder question
 
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