The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Smallholding => Land Management => Topic started by: Steph Hen on October 24, 2020, 12:02:16 pm

Title: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Steph Hen on October 24, 2020, 12:02:16 pm
Wondered if anyone has tried collecting wild trees to transplant and the logistics?
We’re planning to put in lots of trees, many will need to be purchased, bare root.
However I’m also big on genetics, local adaption, diversity, etc and would like to add our own and local/regional stock to the mix. I am growing from seed and will do more every year.
Transplants of self seeded stock is an option, suggested where there are many seedlings which are doomed.

I wondered if anyone’s tried this from logistics?-the tiny trees just now have the last leaves on them and are identifiable but in another month will just be twigs and much harder to spot and identify species. Could I lift them  at this stage and replant or would it be too much shock?
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Fleecewife on October 24, 2020, 12:30:34 pm
If the little trees are at the point where, if you shake them, some leaves fall off, then they have started their dormancy so it should be ok to lift them. Make sure you take a root ball with soil just to be on the safe side (tie it in a polybag or some hessian sacking).  Or you could mark the little trees you want then come back for them as bare roots once all the leaves are gone.


Can I ask you something in return? You are growing from berries - how long is it before you get a useable plant?
Have you tried growing from cuttings?  If so, hardwood or softwood?  I am planting out some more trees here, all bought from Cheviot Trees, some with Scottish provenance.  To buy in bulk you have to buy a minimum of ten trees of each variety, and I didn't want ten hawthorn or field maple or oak in this particular area, but I do want a couple of each, so I thought of taking cuttings from my existing trees.
I too shall be transplanting some self seeded birch (they seem to love my garden to germinate in) and a juniper which is in the wrong place - very wary of moving that, but it will die if I leave it where it is.


Ooh the trees talk on the festival site is just about to start - can't miss that  :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree:
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Steph Hen on October 24, 2020, 01:15:01 pm
Thanks Fleecewife :-)
Growing from seed is very varied. Some need two winters like hawthorn. Elders need 39 months of cold I’ve read!!
Elder, alder, holly and willow grow from cuttings. I will be experimenting with more this winter as about every website article says  “You can’t...” not “I tried and it didn’t work” and this makes me suspicious.
I want to experiment with coppicing; then layering the regrowth of oak.

Usable tree size seems to be VERY dependent upon conditions. They do best in the ground rather than pots. Weed control is essential. I like to plant in a line, with mulch of thick cardboard and wood chip or sawdust on top. It will only need occasional hoeing. I think if kept weed free, with good sun and watered if necessary they’d be ok (c. A foot) after a year but otherwise two. Unfortunately in my case optimal has not been provided! I’m always forgetting them and they get overrun, eaten by voles, the goats did for a lot and had loads mown to a couple of inches (I like to pretend it’s coppicing).
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Fleecewife on October 24, 2020, 02:11:36 pm
When I started with my 'starter' lot of willow cuttings from my Dad about 25 years ago, I had 5 from each variety, all about 2' long, and they filled the boot of the car totally!  We put them in a slit trench and waited.  Some died early on - not well suited for 1,000' and sogginess after their lush life in Norfolk then! After the first winter, the labels had all gone - and as my dad is now my late dad I've never been able to ask him to identify what survived. They brought with them the most amazing, giant caterpillars but sadly they didn't survive into a second year.  I never managed to keep them weed free but after a couple of years, we planted them out into three rows, about 10 m apart, which was our first shelter belt.  They all grew at different rates and with different forms.  I wanted to coppice them, Mr F didn't!  So we compromised and coppiced alternate trees in the rows.  Big mistake was to think that Blind Alice the Shetland wouldn't notice the new shoots - all the coppiced ones died (no-one believes that you can kill a willow, but we did) and Mr F's viewpoint was reinforced  ::) .  Since then he has rarely let me coppice anything except one willow which did so well that he is now agreeing to start on all our patches of mini woodland - hazels, birch, mirabel (which are huge and dominate everything), elder and as an experiment ash - I am hoping that new growth will avoid dieback and that might be a way to keep my affected ashes alive - coppicing every few years.
I wrote all that just maybe to explain why I shall have to try cuttings in large pots although, as you say, they don't do so well. I know I wouldn't keep them weeded and every creature, wild or farmed or pets, will make sure they don't survive in the open ground.  But I shall give it a go and as Monty Don says to take cuttings now then I shall start today.  My two willow cuttings are ready rooted so will plant them out now - I rooted them in a bowl in the scullery sink so they're water roots but I don't think willow will care.
I do have some acorns (2!) which came back from an island on Loch Lomond but I think they are too small to germinate.  I'll try them any way and will get my son to collect more on his next fishing trip, and any other tree seeds he finds there. You've given me confidence to try  :)


I love your attitude - I find myself saying 'I can't' all too often but it's rubbish - perhaps you can and it's worth the try.  I think I might try cuttings from more species than I had originally thought, just for the fun of it, maybe some seeds and cones too.  It would be good to keep this post going to see our results next year and the year after, and for anyone else who joins in.


                                 :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree: :tree:
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Steph Hen on October 25, 2020, 07:32:13 am

The other thing I think may be worth doing is root cuttings. Cherry seems to sucker from exposed roots and plum. Possibly appropriate for lots of species? Another one to try.

Don’t worry about the small acorns; pot up and try anyway; sometimes they surprise you :-)
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: graemeatwellbank on October 25, 2020, 07:53:38 am
Last autumn I PULLED some bitch saplings from my driveway. They were about 6" high and still leafy and I pushed them into the ground in a corner of my garden. Of the 8 planted, 7 are between 4.5 and 5.5 feet tall now after one year and the other is squat and bushy.
I am going to try to transplant them somewhere else when they are dormant.
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Steph Hen on October 25, 2020, 12:03:08 pm
Sounds great Graeme!
Did you manage to get your walnuts down from the roof?
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Fleecewife on October 25, 2020, 12:15:21 pm

The other thing I think may be worth doing is root cuttings. Cherry seems to sucker from exposed roots and plum. Possibly appropriate for lots of species? Another one to try.

Don’t worry about the small acorns; pot up and try anyway; sometimes they surprise you :-)

Will do  :)  This year I'm growing aspen for the first time and they are renowned for suckering so will try them.  Our damson tree also suckers all over the place, but produces rubbish fruit itself, so we just mow the suckers down!
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Fleecewife on October 25, 2020, 12:20:02 pm
Last autumn I PULLED some bitch saplings from my driveway. They were about 6" high and still leafy and I pushed them into the ground in a corner of my garden. Of the 8 planted, 7 are between 4.5 and 5.5 feet tall now after one year and the other is squat and bushy.
I am going to try to transplant them somewhere else when they are dormant.

Love the typo  :eyelashes:

Some plants and trees are clearly determined to grow.  Birch is a 'pioneer species' so is well used to colonising driveways.  Some of my self seeded birch are in the driveway too, some in the flower beds, some rowan as well and even Scots Pine, but they are very difficult to get out carefully.  Maybe we should try the ripping technique too if it works so well  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Steph Hen on October 25, 2020, 02:56:05 pm
Fleecewife, just a thought, would swap you some little saplings for different willow cuttings?
I have oak, holly, elder, flowering current, plum (seedling) apple (seedling), horse chestnut could get a couple of other things if those no good?
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: alang on October 25, 2020, 03:55:00 pm
I took some Rowan saplings and branches a few years ago. They all took and are growing great. Even the 'twig' that my dog used as a chew stick grew. So much so that i coppiced it last christmas and it is now growing again nicely. and it made some very nice firewood
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Fleecewife on October 25, 2020, 04:59:09 pm
Fleecewife, just a thought, would swap you some little saplings for different willow cuttings?
I have oak, holly, elder, flowering current, plum (seedling) apple (seedling), horse chestnut could get a couple of other things if those no good?

I could do with a couple of oaks please  ;D  If you let me know which willows you have I could cut you some various different ones, including the balsams which smell so nice.  I'm not very good at getting round to things and at the moment we are full on planting trees, but if you can wait a week or so that should be fine.  Keep reminding me.  I just took 7 red stemmed willow cuttings from a single tree I keep pollarded so the stems are always bright. I have tall willows and quite small spreading willows, and some which don't propagate very easily but I'm sure something would grow from the selection I could get for you.  Will Hermes find you OK? (they collect and as the Post Office is out of bounds that is most convenient)
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: arobwk on October 25, 2020, 05:04:56 pm
@Fleecewife what willow varieties do you have ?  I could do a few baby oaks in exchange.
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: graemeatwellbank on October 25, 2020, 05:56:40 pm
2 whole walnuts - big and tasty. The others (lots of them) are sustaining the local wildlife. Some might be on the garage roof under the 3 inches of leaves and associated debris
I have lots of oak saplings so I will try the pull and plant technique and see if it is successful. Nothing to lose.
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Steph Hen on October 25, 2020, 07:27:38 pm
Will pm x
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: Fleecewife on October 25, 2020, 11:55:36 pm
@Fleecewife what willow varieties do you have ?  I could do a few baby oaks in exchange.

Hi Arobwk, I have a selection of willow but as I lost all the labels I can't name the ones I have .  My dad collected them from all over, so some are probably ornamental.  Some are tall growers, maybe about 60' so far, with a progression of catkin times for the bees, some are smaller and grow less fast and a couple have an almost weeping form, but are not actual weeping willows. There is one with dark red stems and an upright habit which I keep pollarded. I'm happy to send you some cuttings of as many as I can reach, but I am getting some oaks from Steph Hen which will be all I need, thanks. (We have stuffed just about every spare space we have with trees so soon the sheep will be squeezed right out!)  The oaks do need to be Sessile for up here, and from Cornwall oaks are highly likely to be pedunculate I would think.  Shame, it would have been lovely to have a tree from my Grandad's birthplace  :D
I did have two types of alpine willow but they died  ::)
pm me with your address and I'll take some cuttings for you if you let me know which ones you would like.
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: graemeatwellbank on October 27, 2020, 02:19:43 pm
So it will come as no surprise to many of you, but you cannot just pull out oak saplings.
Next step was to dig them out with a fork but I think they put down a tap root as the first step and it goes down deep even for a tiny twig.
Still didn't get to the end of the roots but I have 4 lifted and heeled them in so we'll see how they get on.
Title: Re: Collecting wild trees; when?
Post by: arobwk on October 28, 2020, 05:43:54 pm
@Fleecewife thanks for offer.  I will PM in a while, or so.  (I hadn't thought about type of oak, but glad you're sorted on that front.)