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By Henry Kock
The Arboretum, Univ. of Guelph
Guelph, Ont. N1G 2W1
519-824-4120, exten. 6443
Various deciduous trees are well suited to crop and land protection by moderating climate. You can establish single row shelterbelts by purchasing native trees, growing seeds or digging crowded saplings from your own property. Deciduous trees require care to establish, so don't take on too large a project; 20 to 50 trees/ year is a realistic load.
You can dig sugar maple and ash saplings, 1 to 1.5m tall, in mid to late October. Both of these trees are identified by paired (opposite on the stem) buds. Plant them close together in the garden or the east side of a building for the winter, and protect them from mice and rabbits. These plants are readily accessed for planting in April to mid May. For reasons related to diversity and based on observations of old fencerows, a mix of trees is best. Avoid the temptation to dig oak and hickory from nature, as they tend to not survive the shock. You can grow these trees (or any other) from seed. 1994 is a good seed crop year for bur oak, a very tough tree. If you can find some seeds, plant them 2-3cm deep in a small vegetable garden seedbed. Place a 1/2" wire mesh cage over them to prevent rodents from eating them during the first full year. A single layer of burlap on top will provide necessary shade for the first year. Young trees will be ready to transplant in 2 to 3 years if you dig deep to get at least 40cm roots. A list of native plant nurseries is available from the Arboretum.
Copyright © 1994 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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