7 spec­i­men tree sug­ges­tions

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Self- Sufficiency -

Pear

A pear tree grows large and sprawl­ing and, best of all, pro­duces pears. While you may not want to climb 10m to pick a pear, your grand­chil­dren are go­ing to build tree-huts amongst the tasty treats. The birds will love them and the stock will wait un­der­neath for those that fall to the ground.

Tip: when the tree is well-grown, plant a grapevine at the base. It will wind its way up and pro­vide a won­der­ful fruit salad to those camped in the tree hut.

Wal­nut

One big wal­nut tree can pro­vide enough to feed sev­eral fam­i­lies. The live­stock get shel­ter and you get am­ple tasty nuts.

How­ever, wal­nuts se­crete a sub­stance called ju­glone from their roots that can in­hibit grass grow­ing un­der­neath them. This is not ob­vi­ous in a healthy soil ecol­ogy but when com­bined with heavy stock camp­ing un­der it, the ground un­der­neath can turn to mud, so wal­nuts are not a good choice for damp ar­eas.

Wil­low

A weep­ing wil­low is a grace­ful tree and stock will trim the droop­ing branches to a per­fect line.

They tran­spire a lot of mois­ture which helps to dry out wet, boggy ground and will grow most any­where. Un­for­tu­nately they can be at­tacked by the newly-im­mi­grated gi­ant wil­low aphid.

They are fan­tas­tic stock food too. In a drought when grass is short, the branches can be cut and fed out.

Poplar

Poplars are an­other good stock tree that NZ farm­ers have planted on their farms for food and shel­ter.

Poplar leaves con­tain zinc which stock need to com­bat fa­cial eczema. They also shed their leaves in a drought, which are hap­pily con­sumed by stock.

Poplar trees can be rel­a­tively short-lived, about 50-80 years.

Oak

Oak have palat­able leaves, and the acorns dropped by oaks are a good source of fod­der in au­tumn. Sud­den and ex­ces­sive amounts of green acorns can be poi­sonous (and even fa­tal) but aged, brown acorns are a great source of car­bo­hy­drates that stock, pigs and ducks love. Re­move stock from un­der oaks in early au­tumn, es­pe­cially if there is a storm which can cause a large, sud­den drop of acorns.

Oaks are a stately, long-lived tree and some can pro­vide stun­ning au­tumn colour.

Gled­it­sia

Also called the honey lo­cust, these trees grow large, ed­i­ble seed pods that look like large beans. They can show lovely colour too. They have the added ben­e­fit of be­ing ni­tro­gen fix­ers, ab­sorb­ing ni­tro­gen from the air and con­vert­ing it to ni­trates in the soil for your grass to ac­cess.

This species does not grow as large as the other sug­ges­tions and trees of­ten have thorns. How­ever there are thorn­less va­ri­eties.

Alder

Alder are a very quick-grow­ing, medium-sized tree that can pro­vide stun­ning au­tumn colour, and also fix ni­tro­gen. If you even­tu­ally use the wood it is ex­tremely durable. Most of the pil­ings of Venice are made from alder wood.

Wal­nut

LEFT: An old pear tree at Huia in the Waitakere Ranges has been pro­duc­ing food and shel­ter for as long as lo­cals can re­mem­ber. BE­LOW: Stock nibble the weep­ing wil­low, prun­ing a per­fect ceil­ing to camp un­der at the Guthrie Smith Ar­bore­turm at Tu­tira, Hawkes Bay.

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