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Chitalpa trees

Perry Way


Joined: Nov 07, 2010
Posts: 65
I had a nice long conversation with a fellow at my local Farm Supply store (that's the name of the place) and he left me with this impression that I should be planting some Chitalpa trees on my property in the Carrizo Plain which gets both very hot to pretty dang cold and is arid half of the year and has alkaline clay soil.  The Chitalpa tree is supposed to have a long tap root which is why I think he suggested this tree foremost.  What I want to know is should I plant this tree in place of Locust or Acacia?  From what I know, Locust doesn't have the long tap root, it is a suckering tree with shallow roots, same thing goes for Acacia.  Should I look further into Chitalpa as one of several varieties of trees to plant on the perimeter of the property?  Or should I turn away from them?
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
what do you want to use the trees for?


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Perry Way


Joined: Nov 07, 2010
Posts: 65
hubert cumberdale wrote:
what do you want to use the trees for?


1. To provide beneficial shade and windbreak for other plant life to grow better from a result
2. To better the soil
3. To promote and provide wildlife habitat (birds, bees)
4. To create privacy

I wasn't thinking of using just Chitalpa, I was thinking of interspersing them amongst other trees as border trees.  I'm not sure how this will work but I got the opinion from the guy at Farm Supply that I would be able to mix Chitalpa with Acacia and Locust and Arizona Cypress.  If I were to do that, would I benefit from having variety?  In theory, everything sounds good to a person like me because this land really needs improving somehow, and it seems to me that trees of any kind are an improvement. But I don't want to plant trees that don't physically benefit the land (soil).
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
for your uses i see no problem planting a few chitalpa trees to increase diversity.
Perry Way


Joined: Nov 07, 2010
Posts: 65
hubert cumberdale wrote:
for your uses i see no problem planting a few chitalpa trees to increase diversity.


I think your word, few, is the operative word to employ.  I think I will really limit how many Chitalpa I will plant after watching two videos on Youtube, there is a little known insect that is a pest and it's been spreading. It's a problem for sure in Texas.  Also in very hot climates (my property is definitely in that category at least four months of the year) there is a trunk-splitting problem that doesn't ever mend and always gets worse.  The Desert Willow (Chilopsis, one parent of the hybrid Chitalpa) seems to be a better tree after more reading.

After finding a wholesale nursery tonight that offers both Chitalpa and Chilopsis I got to looking around their website and saw a few other proper candidates.  I think there's no reason to think I must limit myself to only three or four kinds of trees.  Looks like there's an Alder and an Ash that will do fine on my property as well. Both of those trees can be utterly magnificent specimens, needless to say providing a huge amount of shade as well.  And then in 200 years someone can cut them down and make a bunch of Fender Stratocasters or Telecasters with them.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
You might also consider the Palo Verde, which produces edible seeds.  I hope to grow some of these in the near future.  There's one about 6 miles from my place, where I might get some seeds. 

http://www.desertharvesters.org/native-plant-food-guides-the-desert-can-feed-you/palo-verde/


Idle dreamer

Perry Way


Joined: Nov 07, 2010
Posts: 65
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
You might also consider the Palo Verde, which produces edible seeds.  I hope to grow some of these in the near future.  There's one about 6 miles from my place, where I might get some seeds. 

http://www.desertharvesters.org/native-plant-food-guides-the-desert-can-feed-you/palo-verde/


That's another good idea but I think those need water or else they drop all their leaves.  You'll have to let me know how that goes collecting the seeds and sprouting them.  And if you feel like trading for some Arizona Cypress seeds I'd love to do that.  I also have Monterey Cypress and Eucalyptus from Big Sur if you're interested.  Those seeds I have collected myself.

I just ordered from J L Hudson online some other seeds.  I don't know how I'll be able to effectively raise these trees from seed but nonetheless I bought seeds for:

Robinia Pseudoacacia (Black Locust)
Acacia Greggii
Chilopsis linearis (Desert Willow)
Pinus edulis (Piñon Pine)
Pinus Coulteri
 
 
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