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Reforestation - Growing trees in arid, barren lands - by Seeds and Clay cubes (no watering)

 
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:We think it used to be heavily forested 2500 years ago - now southern Greece (the Peloponnese) is almost barren. Rains stop in late April - early May and sometimes do not return until early October
Kostas



In Adelaide (South Australia) we have the same rain pattern: no rain in summer, barely any rain In autumn or spring.

Our suburbs and parks are dry and uninspiring. Grass is usually dead half the year then comes to life only by the winter rains.

The funny thing is that just a few minutes drive from the Adelaide suburbs we have dense, dark forests where the Adelaide Hills begin. The Hills has its own climate, is completely green, and has a wonderful natural smell, despite the same rainfall as the Plains.

Many Greeks migrated here actually, probably because the climate was similar.
 
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I'll give it a try on my berms and see if it works! Thanks for the information.
 
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Keep us informed on your efforts Kani.

Hey Tim...I know Australia has kindly accepted many of my countryman, who fled wars, poverty and corruption here !!!
Please let me know if I can help in any way to reforest your part of the world.

I need to post an update on the seeding projects (soon)

Here is an interesting article from the NYTimes....they are always informative !!!

Trees climate change



Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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May 2019 -- Overall Summary

The efforts in the Thessaloniki area are going well. We have three areas that can be considered planted, with small trees over 2-6 years old. I am at the point where I can say with confidence, "we can reforest Northern Greece with seeds and provide food for all creatures, at a fraction of the cost of conventional tree planting"

Efforts and energy will now shift to Athens (500 km South), and Sparta (800 km South). The summers there are longer, and conditions are harsher for young trees. The issue of land degradation and desertification is more intense there. The objective is to cover the earth with plants, shrubs and trees. Soil improvement and regeneration is the primary goal !!!

We have a new design/mix for the clay cubes, and will be testing it over the next few years - it looks promising.


Update on the Katsika Mountain Effort
This is the area we discussed four months ago and have photos on page 17 of this thread (trying to reforest a bare mountain while it's being grazed by goats)...we planted small pine and cypress trees and protected them with rocks...the video shows the results so far...even if 1 tree survives the summer heat and goats, I will be satisfied. See


This is the mountain where we used the drone to scatter seeds like the medick tree....it may take a few years before we see the results, if any.

Update Clay Cubes- New Design
We placed few clay cubes in Thessaloniki, Athens and Sparta to evaluate the new design.

The clay cubes are 6 cm x 6 cm x 3 cm height (nominal)….A mix of 5 parts clay 5 parts manure and 2 parts chopped straw was used (parts by volume). The seeds were placed at the bottom of the forms and at the top of the clay...only seeds that are known to sprout easily and do well were used (wild pear, plum and medick tree)...alfalfa seeds were mixed in with the clay manure mix….see page 16 (middle of page)

The Sparta region experienced catastrophic rains. The clay cubes there were totally destroyed…see video
at 1:52

Athens had "normal" rainfall...most of the cubes produced young trees - the cubes lost a small amount of their volume from rains...see the Athens
at 0:30

Thessaloniki experienced well below normal rainfalls...the cubes remained intact...but few trees sprouted...see
. The previous year, with the same weather pattern, the “typical” cubes produced no trees.

Clay cubes  in Thessaloniki produced trees at a rate of 25%, in Athens 75%1, and in Sparta no trees.

A major advantage of using this design is that you can see how many seeds are in each cube, and consequently use fewer seeds.


Update Sparta

A Area
We will be trying to reforest small pieces of land 20 km east and a bit south of Sparta..at elevations 200 to 400 meters ranging from hard red clay to rich healthy soil and rocky areas that have hardly any soils.

Two areas we will be planting belong to my family, and have some olive trees. These are small plots, less than 3,000 square meters each. Here we will test to see what trees can thrive without care, to improve the soil and strengthen the existing olive trees - create mini natural farms (Masanobu Fukuoka, San).

See


See


We will also place seeds in public areas that are degraded and have very little soil...much of the public land is overgrazed, so there will be difficulties. Trees will have a hard time penetrating the rocky surface.

This is by far the most difficult area...but indications are that carob trees, laburnum and almonds grow from seed unassisted...at lower survival rates (needs work and observation).

The carob trees, oaks and olive trees can form the basis of reforestation for the area, as they probably were in ancient times. I suspect oaks will do well here. Mother nature plants plenty of wild olive trees here...I just don't know yet how it does it...so far my efforts to use the olive tree for reforestation have failed. There are carob trees around but do not self seed. There are very few oaks around...they were cut down by ignorance and greed. Mankind has gone after trees with a vengeance.

B Area
This area is at 1000+/- meters elevation. It's 40 km east and a bit north of Sparta and the area is covered with conifers - (pines, cedars and fir (but mostly pines). It's a beautiful green mountain that provides relief from the oppressive summer heat in the valley below (A Area).

I have placed seeds in this area in the previous years, and due to the high elevation, and cooler summers, it's easy to plant trees here. Apples, apricots, plums, and almonds...all survive here at good rates. I will try walnuts, chestnuts etc to see how they do.

As usual, we need to be  aware of the goats, mice, and wild pigs...wild pigs are very active here.

The main forests in Greece consist of pine trees. If as projected, the pines wither away in the next 50 years, the country will be in trouble...increased temperatures, fires, floods, carbon release etc.

I am afraid this condition, applies to many regions around the world  with Mediterranean and similar climates.

But if life gives you lemons ... make lemonade !!!

We can start planting drought tolerant fire resistant trees, and trees that will improve the soil and provide food... it's a call to action for all prudent people; replace a weak pine forest with a better, healthy, multi species, productive forest. I am optimistic and confident we can do it.


Update Athens

See


and


This is the 2nd visit to the area, which burned down 2 summers ago. We will use the same seeds we used in Thessaloniki, so we can evaluate, which ones do well here. We will also be looking for new trees and shrubs which thrive here, and testing to see if they can be used for reforesting.

We need to spend more time here...the half hour visits on the way to Sparta are not enough.


Update Petralona Halkidiki

ND
The area denoted Petra ND (3,000 m^2) as noted previously is considered planted ...we may add a few seeds each year, but the only thing we have to do is wait. See the older video


REMA
Area denoted Rema...for the last 2 - 3 years, we been placing seeds in this area...its around 500 square meters. This area is visited by mice, and we have used it as a testing ground...see
 
In Spite of the mice we have many trees growing, and will continue putting seeds in the ground. In due time it will provide fruits and nuts for the people nearby.

Ten years from now we will regret not having placed more seeds in the ground.

Here, like Thessaloniki, we can easily create, an edible food forest, if we persist for 2 to 5 years.

Update for Thessaloniki follows soon.

Thank You

Kostas


 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Update Thessaloniki

MK 1
Some areas, we have abandoned. MK 1 is such a case. We placed a few thousand seeds here, but have very few trees growing. Wild pigs tear up the land; for a few years, stray dogs camped here, and I am sure our friendly mice contributed to the problem. I think I will revisit the area in the future; the stray dogs are gone...it's not good to leave the area bare...the soil is good and I don't like leaving unfinished work.

Line of almonds
Two kilometers of almond trees have been planted at the side of the road, every 2 meters or so...these trees are 3 to 6 years old...they are at the edge of a pine forest...some have grown to 150 cm, but most are around 50 cm. They look healthy...they will live or die and grow at their pace, as nature allows… we have done our part and are very pleased. See


EK 1
This small piece was doing well….unfortunately it was visited by our friendly pigs...I will continue seed placement here. See


EK 2
See the video -----
Things are going well here...very pleased...will continue seed placement at reduced rates. See



TR 1
This area is covered 60% by pines...we have few  apricots and plums growing under the pines, but the area is not  “ideal” for a food forest. Will continue seed placement at reduced rates.


EK3
See

This is a new area we are working on, and things are going well...we will monitor it.


EK4
This is similar to EK3, but smaller

By spending a few hours from October to December, an individual can have a huge impact on the surrounding environment and people --- IT'S EASY !!!

Finally, we had no luck so far planting pomegranate trees by simply putting seeds in the ground, and not watering them. Last summer we threw a few seeds in a container and watered them; about 10 grew into small trees. In the middle of the winter, we pulled 2 of them out and transplanted them...they are doing well...we are not going to water them...if they survive the summer, we may use this approach with other trees that do not do well by seed.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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(Mulberry trees...not pomegranate)
Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Below are 2 photos.

2012 or 2013 a cactus pad was thrown on the ground near Thessaloniki.

Six, seven years later, the young tender leaves can provide a good meal.

Food production is effortless, if we can figure out what the land likes to grow.

The 2012 photo is shown on page 3 of this thread.


Kostas
Cactus-pad-2014.jpg
[Thumbnail for Cactus-pad-2014.jpg]
A cactus was thrown on the ground maybe 2012 or 2013
Cactus-Pads-2019-06.jpg
[Thumbnail for Cactus-Pads-2019-06.jpg]
The same Cactus Pad now, without any care at all ...the new pads can feed a family for a while
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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and if you look closely at the 2019 photo you will see an almond tree growing !!!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Update,
The pine forest that surrounds the city of Thessaloniki is sick and the trees are dying...a bug by the name Tomicus piniperda, is according to the scientists, responsible for this mess.

The dead trees are being cut and taken away in an effort to limit the damage.

Like most forestry departments around the world, the Greek Forestry Service in the past,  planted pine trees everywhere...

But something good can always come out of a bad situation...lets see what they will plant now.
It's an opportunity to create a strong multi level forest, that will include the trees discussed in this post.


The news article is in Greek, but the pictures tell the story...

news article

Kostas
 
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:My main interest is to see if we can use seeds to reforest difficult areas such as Texas, Arizona, Southern California or Israel Palestine Africa etc. If forum members in such areas can plant almond, apricot, nectarine and wild peach stones, and report back on the results - it would be great. Reforestation can become so much easier.



I haven't read all the years of posts intervening, so my apologies because I'm sure I've missed great things. I am in Arizona, where there are still extensive forests, primarily the Ponderosa pine forests in the northern part of the state near Flagstaff, where I went to high school. Where I am now, there are mesquite bosques, but they are -- for some reason we can't fully grok -- intensely reviled. I mean, people abhor mesquites around here. They spray them aerially with pesticides on windy days and we lose huge swaths of trees of all kinds in the process. One argument is that mesquite are "invasive" to what used to be more of a grassland, or that at least certain species of mesquite didn't always used to be right here exactly. I'm not a biologist or ecologist, but I'm desperate to talk to some scientists about this who have not been bought and paid for by ranchers, anti-immigration nuts (another reason given for the pesticide spray is like for Agent Orange: reducing cover for illegal immigrants and drug runners), or other agendas.

In the meantime, mesquite are miracle trees as far as I'm concerned: fixing nitrogen, amassing rainwater, nursing other plants, anchoring islands of vegetation, not to mention producing abundant food, fuel, and fodder. We have mostly Velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina) and some Honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) and Screwbean mesquite (Prosopis pubescens) and we use them to start desert food forests as well as for their other abundant human uses. My best guess here is that this land wants to be a grassy savannah with mesquite, acacia, and maybe oak, and until we learn otherwise we'll work to build that.

There are commercial pecan, almond, and pistachio groves in our area, on scales from relatively small to massive corporate agriculture, and between them and the ranchers and the crop farmers (corn, beans, alfalfa, cotton, etc.) and the massive corporate dairy that came into our area and keeps expanding, our aquifers are almost entirely drained at this point, with residential wells drying up all around us. So I think I'm developing a bit of an antipathy toward nuts, especially non-native nuts. Now, Emory oaks for bellotas (sweet acorns), Arizona walnuts, etc. I'm all for as long as they're grown right; and there are delicious native fruit trees, shrubs, and cacti like Mexican elder, mulberry, hackberry, wolfberry, prickly pear, etc. that can be encouraged. Soapberry and tree tobacco are fast-growing and have their uses.

I'd be down for some controlled experimentation with almond, apricot, nectarine, and peach grown from seed, but they'd have to survive being completely unwatered except by rainfall, which we'd direct toward them with earthworks and convince to stick around by use of deep (probably mostly mesquite-chip) mulch and compost. We don't have and won't dig a well, since we can't afford the depths it would have to be dug to these days and it would probably still dry up shortly afterwards. We get 13" annual rainfall on average, with far less in some years and predictability in this area going completely out the window, but we manage to collect enough for our moderate domestic use and are in the process of expanding that collection in various ways in order to support the initial establishment of more plantings. Has anyone here had experience growing non-native trees in these conditions? ETA: Kostas, how much annual rainfall do you get where you are?

Kostas mentioned the importance of getting seed from naturally- and organically-grown trees rather than store-bought fruit. We always keep our eyes peeled for good food trees in the yards of people whom we can approach to ask for seeds or cuttings, and I've been wanting to take a field trip west to Patagonia to visit Almuñia de los Zopilotes — the Experimental Farm of the Turkey Vultures — Gary Paul Nabhan's farmstead (also in mesquite grasslands) focusing on an heirloom fruit and nut tree food forest, ancient agave varieties, succulents, native fish, and water-harvesting: https://www.garynabhan.com/news/2010/11/our-farm/. I drool whenever I think of it, but we haven't managed to make it over there yet.
 
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You are right about the monoculture of pines, yet it is also a fact that pine trees may be better against combatting climate change because of their mycorrhizal symbioses. Pine and oak trees tend to form symbiosis with ectomycorrhizae, which is more effective against combatting climate change as sequesters more carbon than arbuscular mycorrhiza (which often forms symbiosis with common mediterranean shrubland species such as olive, pistacia
and carob trees). I suggest using quercus sp. seeds as well as pine and lebanese cedar.

Also there is a new tool on the internet that may help you with your reforestation efforts.
Crowther Labs' interactive ecological map
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thank you for the very informative post Beth.

It sounds like its a wonderful place where you live, with the exception of pesticides wtf…  in a dry environment it's a struggle to get a tree or plant going to provide ground cover and they are killing what nature offers?

We at Thessaloniki are at what appears to be zone 8b..Lately I started planting at the Athens region and around Sparta. They are zones 9b and 10a...more difficult conditions,  but I hope it can be done.

The following site provides historical rainfall amounts around Thessaloniki.
https://www.wunderground.com/forecast/gr/nea-silata?cm_ven=localwx_10day

In a 10a zone mother nature plants wild olives, and I am sure carobs and oaks will do well. They will have reduced survival rates that's for sure, but as long as more than 40% survive, I am happy and consider it a success.

When planting a new area, I give myself 3 to 5 years. I go back to the same area to observe and to add more seeds. I never expect things to work out the 1st year.

Hundreds of years of destruction are not going to be corrected in a season...it will take decades of sustained effort, but planting by seed is easy, satisfying and inexpensive. Its something an individual can do and have a big long term impact.

Other than put seeds in the ground, we do nothing else.

Figure out what the earth likes to grow and plant it. In your case, plant some oak acorns and see how many sprout and how many survive next summer. Identifying the 1st tree that suits your region, puts you on a good path. Put some alfalfa seeds also in the ground...see how they do.

Let us know what you think and how it goes.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Gunes, I don't mean to suggest that pine trees are useless...on the contrary, if they are part of a healthy diverse ecosystem,  they are essential.

I dread to think of what will happen when most of the pine trees die...new areas that get reforested should include a few pines…

I don't know anything about mycorrhizal symbioses, and its if no use to me right ...its Simple and Easy (S & E….lol) put seeds in the ground and watch to see which ones the earth in your area likes - no thinking.

Is there an effort to plant trees in Turkey and how is it carried out…

Kostas
 
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Observation: Siberian elms (ulmus pumila) prolifically self-seeding this year around Missoula MT (USDA zone 4, 14 inches / 35.5 cm annual precip). Seeds do not require cold stratification and can be germinated right after they fall in late spring/early summer. Nitrogen fixer, grows in poor soil, decent shade tree. Excellent nurse tree for other trees.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thanks Abe,

It's a great tree, and something that needs to be tested around here...I am sure it will grow like a weed someplace. I place seeds on the ground at elevations ranging from zero to 3000 feet, and this will fit in somewhere.

For every place it's good to have at least 3 trees that grow easily...we also need 3 shrubs and 3 plants that are perennial and nitrogen fixers; other trees and shrubs can be used as fillers, but you need at least 3.

Its not difficult at all. If lets say Beth or Gunes, each placed 100 oak acorns in their dry landscapes, and 40 survived, in 20 or 30 years these trees will change the microclimate of the area, and they will provide food to many creatures,  not to mention the many other benefits.

So investing an hour or two in November,  will have a great impact.

Its S & E !!!


(Simple and Easy)

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Today, August 15th I did something I usually don't. I visited some of the trees I planted from seed,  a few months ago.

Last night it rained a bit (sprinkle) and the temperatures dropped...a relief for all.

As expected the young trees are struggling and many will not make it... its not pleasant to see (it's actually painful).

This year I tried something new...I threw some mulberry seeds last summer in a pot and watered them sparingly. About 10 young trees grew. In January I took 3 or 4 of them and stuck them in the ground....just bare root. And left them to fend for themselves.

Trees which like to grow in an area, will root and grow without any watering.

The mulberry tree in the picture below is struggling, but I think it will survive. I will use this method to include mulberry trees in our reforestation areas.

Its easy to carry and plant 100 or 200 bare root treelets...its worth the effort because trees like mulberry add another dimension to a new forest. The same will be tried with olive trees and pomegranate.

Kostas







IMG_20190815_080629170-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20190815_080629170-2.jpg]
Mulberry Tree
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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The photos below show what to expect to see this time of the year...young trees struggling to survive. This process makes the trees strong and they will he able to withstand future droughts and diseases....on the other hand trees grown in a nursery, watered frequently, and fed liquid fertilizers and manure to grow quickly, are weak and will have a hard time adjusting....not natural.

Kostas
IMG_20190815_092815345-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20190815_092815345-2.jpg]
Holly Oaks
IMG_20190815_092822319-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20190815_092822319-2.jpg]
Apple Trees
IMG_20190815_092924011-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20190815_092924011-2.jpg]
Plums
IMG_20190815_093337764-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20190815_093337764-2.jpg]
Golden Rain
 
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Great that you work woth holly oak. And thanks for the pictures.
Do you know that there are sweet ones, which you can eat like chestnuts, or fry? Mainly in Spain and Portugal, but also in Morocco. They were usually grafted, and used as human food. Eating them was llater associated with bei poor, and consumption went back.
If you can get seeds from sweet ones, it would be great, as they could turn out sweet as well. Do you have sources?

Holly oak is said to grow better (faster) if shaded in the first years. Additionally, some fungi innoculation may help with nutrient and water uptake.

 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Hans,
Good point on the sweet oaks; Beth Wilder above mentioned that she has them in Arizona - Emory oaks.

If anyone reading this from Spain or Portugal and has access to edible oak acorns, when they mature this winter...I would gladly pay for them. It's a good point...another tree that provides food for our two legged friends.

As far as fungi, inoculation, shading etc.  - we don't have these luxuries at the moment Hans....I want to keep it simple...just put the seeds in the ground and let nature decide and choose what to keep and what to reject.

Maybe you or others can test these points and make recommendations based on the results.

Kostas

 
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:If anyone reading this from Spain or Portugal and has access to edible oak acorns, when they mature this winter...I would gladly pay for them. It's a good point...another tree that provides food for our two legged friends.



I have a wonderful sweet oak growing just outside my gate.  Please remind me a little later in the year when the acorns are ready and I'll send you some!
 
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Thank You Burra,
Wil do

Kostad
 
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Good point on the sweet oaks; Beth Wilder above mentioned that she has them in Arizona - Emory oaks.

If anyone reading this from Spain or Portugal and has access to edible oak acorns, when they mature this winter...I would gladly pay for them. It's a good point...another tree that provides food for our two legged friends.


I'm still on the lookout for Emory acorns that are germinating and haven't already dried out too much. Locals say that -- even though Emory oaks are classified as red oaks, which normally would germinate in spring, I believe, right? -- their acorns fall around monsoon time and should germinate with the moisture (likely even some flooding) in the late summer/fall. An arborist in the region said if they dry out at all they won't germinate. When the seasonal creek by our place ran (abundantly) earlier this week and we very carefully went swimming, we looked down and found some Emory acorns in the floodplain, having been washed down out of the hills, so I took them home and popped them in soil. Nothing has happened yet.

We just discovered a little Mexican restaurant in one of the border towns that sells boxes of bellotas they collect somewhere nearby. These are almost certainly Emory. I think we'll get some today just to eat (people just eat them like raw nuts around here, not even roasted), but it would be lovely if there was some chance that some might germinate.

Like what you said with the association with poverty in Europe, Hans, around here it seems only those of Mexican descent know or remember that bellotas are good eating, which is true also of prickly pear fruit/tunas and pads/nopales; and mostly only indigenous people remember what good eating mesquite pods/pechitas are (or can be, depending on the tree). It's not about poverty -- almost everyone is impecunious around here -- but more about cultural tradition. You can often tell the color of folks' skin by the cactus, trees, and other food plants (or lack thereof) in their yards. Up north in the metropolitan areas hipster foodies have rediscovered some of these foods, but down here in the rural borderlands there are definitely dividing lines drawn that get tangled up between color, class, and vegetation type. What a world we live in.

From what you say, Kostas and Burra, it sounds like the sweet acorn oaks there are red oak type, maturing later in the year and germinating the following spring -- do I read that right? How does drying out affect germination rates?

I'm attaching some pictures of the mulberry, jujube, and elder we planted recently; and one of the prickly pear we got from the same native plant guy as the mulberries and elder came from and planted last summer. We've planted lots of other prickly pear of different kinds around (I know they're not trees, but they're great), but this one seems to like our place especially well.
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Morus microphylla, native
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Ziziphus jujuba, non-native
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Sambucus mexicanus, I believe, native
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Opuntia engelmannii, I believe, native
 
Beth Wilder
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I love PFAF. They have this great page about Quercus ilex ballota (I think this is a synonym for Quercus rotundifolia as referenced by Hans), and if you scroll down, there's a fantastic list of oak species with common names, edibility ratings, and medicinal ratings. It says, "Seed - it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly." It sounds very similar in propagation needs to Quercus emoryi and perfect for your S&E system, Kostas! I hope you can get some good fresh acorns to seed.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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When do oak acorns mature (Burra, Beth, Hans or anyone) ?
Around here they mature and need to be collected around October to November. I pick them when they are just about ready to fall of the tree and they need to be planted within a week or two.
If anyone has different experiences or advice let us know. How can you store them for longer term (actual experience)

I have also been playing with the idea of where to collect the seeds from...which area.
The closest locations to me at the slopes of Mount Olympus or at the Halkidiki peninsula where the trees grow 200 feet from the water; the area is lush perhaps due to the mild climate due to the water body.

I first saw this tree at the wonderful island of Ikaria...there it grows vigorously in a very dry rocky environment. The memory of these acorns is very different at the 3 locations, with Ikaria being the most hardy.

So if we were to plant millions of these, we should collect them from strong healthy and hardy trees...Ikaria is a bit away for me, so for now, Mount Olympus acorns do just fine.

I am enclosing two videos, showing the young trees in the summer time...they look horribly stressed but that's the nature of the process.



and



Kostas





 
Beth Wilder
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Hey, Kostas! I'm sorry I don't have experience to contribute re: storing acorns longer term. Is it still primarily the holly oak you're talking about, and is that [i]Quercus ilex[/i]? (I don't know why tags don't seem to be working in this post.)

What I have read and heard repeatedly is that this -- when acorns mature, and when they germinate -- depends largely or entirely on what type of oak you're dealing with. Broadly speaking and [url=http://www.extension.iastate.edu/news/yard-and-garden-handling-germinating-and-planting-acorns]paraphrasing this[/url], the acorns of white oak types -- [i]Quercus alba[/i], swamp white oak ([i]Quercus bicolor[/i]), and bur oak ([i]Quercus macrocarpa[/i]), as examples -- mature in one year, while the acorns of red oaks like [i]Quercus rubra[/i] and pin oak ([i]Quercus palustris[/i]) mature in two years. And, in what appears to be a parallel pattern, the acorns of white oak and swamp white oak should be planted in fall (i.e., right after they fall) and will germinate immediately after sowing, while acorns of bur oak, pin oak, and red oak will not germinate until they have experienced cold-moist stratification either in the ground over winter or in a process imitating that.

It appears that [i]Quercus ilex[/i] matures in a single year (summer). I don't know when it germinates, but it seems to me that it should be in/on soil in the fall either way, whether to start germinating immediately or to winter stratify before germinating in the spring. I believe this echoes what PFAF says in the quote in my previous post, i.e. "It can be stored moist and cool overwinter." It sounds like that's what you're reporting, too, right Kostas? If they need to be stored long-term, maybe they could have their cold stratification period extended by storing in a damp sterile medium in a fridge (if you have one -- we don't, at least not exactly!). Do others know?

One book I recommend -- for North America, at least -- is Douglas W. Tallamy's [i]Bringing Nature Home[/i], which discusses methods for growing native trees from seed at length throughout and mentions this acorn planting conundrum. (I think this was originally recommended by Daron Williams.) Do folks elsewhere in the world have recommendations based on experience or for resources with trustworthy information?
 
hans muster
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:When do oak acorns mature (Burra, Beth, Hans or anyone) ?
...
If anyone has different experiences or advice let us know. How can you store them for longer term (actual experience)
...



Maturity depends on the species, climate and weather. I other words, ask Burra for her tree. I sadly have nothing to send you.

I stored acorns (of cork oak, Quercus suber) in the fridge, in a plastic bag into which I sprinkled some water from time to time. It worked well for the month or two I kept them in there, then I took them out. They germinated immediately, (and died due to my mismanagement/lack of time...)

I had to sprinkle water into the bag because a fridge is a very dry environment, likely to dry out the seeds and killing them.

If I were to do it again, I would put them in jars with humid biochar (or activated carbon). I did this to stratify chestnuts, and it is good because you don't have to sprinkle water every few day, don't risk that they dry out, and the biochar seems to inhibit molds.
 
Burra Maluca
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:When do oak acorns mature (Burra, Beth, Hans or anyone) ?
Around here they mature and need to be collected around October to November. I pick them when they are just about ready to fall of the tree and they need to be planted within a week or two.
If anyone has different experiences or advice let us know. How can you store them for longer term (actual experience)

I have also been playing with the idea of where to collect the seeds from...which area.



October to November seems about right, roughly the same time as chestnuts.  

The only time I've germinated any myself, it's been from fresh seeds that I've planted out in beds almost immediately, mostly because I'm terminally disorganised and if I don't do it immediately it won't ever get done.  I have send out seed to other people who've said they've wanted to try growing them, but I've never had a grow report back of any sort so I can't advise.

The acorns are fairly well formed already, but not ripe yet.  I just popped out to take this photo.  As you can see, the tree is right by my gate and is also used to shade the car!

quercus ilex rotundifolia


The lower leaves are holly-shaped, but the ones a bit higher up are very much rotundifolia!
 
Burra Maluca
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When I moved here, one of the locals took me for a walk to teach me which sort of oak was which. At least, that was what I thought I was being taught, but I couldn't distinguish the edible from the non-edible. Turns out that within the species, some trees give sweet acorns with virtually no tannins, and some are more tannin rich so their acorns will need leaching before use. And I was being shown which individual trees were 'sweet'.

This tree is the sweetest, and it's right outside my gate!

Also, I'm very near to Castelo Branco in Portugal, if that helps you figure out where the seed from this tree would be best planted.  
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Burra,
I think we hit the nail on the head so to speak.

Come October I will remind you look at your tree to see if the acorns are ripe.

I hope your tree will become the "Mother Tree" for many ,many  of oak trees.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Introducing the wild pear tree or Pyrus spinosa

A remarkable tree that is drought tolerant, fire proof (it grows after a fire) food for animals and men, food for bees, sprouts easily

whats not to like, yet its never used to reforest an area.







Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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This is what plum trees look like 2 to 3 years after planting



The 1st few years young trees spend their energy developing strong deep root system....after 6 or 7 years develop rapidly above ground...

Their growth rates of course depend on local soil and climate conditions...our objective is to get them planted and for them to start growing...time and mother nature will find its way

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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And finally, the remarkable apple tree...this is what they look like  3 to 4 years after planting (I am guessing the time).
They are surviving and growing
They love to grow in this area and I have many of them growing on my farm from seed...I cannot wait for them to grow and start producing, so I can discover the new varieties of apples that will show up.




Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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The following 3 videos, are from planting sites near Thessaloniki.

At the EK3 site, the results look horrible...not a single tree has green leaves. In the previous visit to the site shown in the EK3 video above (in this thread page) we see many plums, apricots and apple trees growing.

If a reasonable, logical person looked at this, they would conclude that it is not possible to grow trees this way, and would give up; this is the smart conventional thinking that has prevailed throughout time.


But we need to remember that the smart conventional thinking planted pine trees everywhere, gave us monocultures (olive trees everywhere, vineyards everywhere,  pines everywhere etc) gave us chemical agriculture that is destroying our planet and health.

We need to move forward.

I would hope that the tree roots are alive and the trees will grow in the spring.

It could be that the microclimate in the area was so severe that none of the trees survived.

We have almonds trees growing from seed nearby that some are 5 feet tall and doing well. This gives me hope and confidence that we will prevail.

Out of curiosity we not going to place any seeds in the EK3 site this fall so we can observe the outcome

We shall continue trying to plant this piece of land for 5 years total...if at that time,  trees do not grow, we will give up...respect the wishes of nature to be left as is.

The EK2 site is struggling,  but as seen in the video we have many young trees with green and yellow leaves.

EK1 is about the same as EK3.

Persistence and necessity drives us forward !!!

I am writing this and showing the summertime results, so some of you that try this in arid zones, will not be discouraged by what you see.

In higher elevations and the tropics,  it's much easier...the young trees are not stressed as much.

EK3




EK2



EK1






Kostas


 
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I should not be amused at your pictures of your trees but I am. I swear they look like most of my trees.

I follow your videos on Youtube and love watching them when they pop up. Still an inspiring post!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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lol

Thanks Elle

Kostss
 
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Re' the wild pigs eating the seedlings

Perhaps you have mentioned this in prior posts somewhere, but I forget things.  Do the pigs eat opuntia pads as well?  
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Juanita, the wild pigs dig up the place completely, so any small trees growing are up rooted.

No I have not seen them eating cactus pads at all.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Continuing with the summer update

This is a small piece of land, near the village of Monopigado (Thessaloniki), by the side of the road.

The general area is grazed by a herd of goats (the owners are very friendly... good people).

As seen in picture 1 the area is covered by Cistus incanus (rock rose).

This plant has some great properties. It's a great tea, it's not eaten by grazers, and its leaves offer plenty of organic matter and improve or create new soil.

The presence of Cistus incanus creates conditions which appear to be ideal for planting trees.

The shade of this shrub protects the young trees from the harsh sun, lowers the ground temperatures and retains the soil moisture...just what we are trying to do.
It also protects for a few years the young trees from the goats and provides organic matter to feed the young trees.

Pictures 2 to 4 show the Cistus incanus shrub and the new soil/organic matter near it.

Pictures A to E show young trees growing in the vicinity of this shrub. I have planted more seeds in between the shrubs and more need to be planted. This small area will make for a good public orchard...edible forest.

Given a bare stony hill or mountain, I think I would start by scattering seeds of this shrub along with tree medick and others to create new soil and ground cover...then the new trees will have a good chance to survive.

Kostas
 
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