"Preserve the old, but Know the new" -- Ancient Chinese Proverb
A Network for Trees and their Friends
Newsletter No. 1, Spring 1983
The Maine Tree Crop Alliance was instigated as an effort to unite existing plant and people resources and to promote a sustainable agricultural forest economy. It is a network of people working with and sharing in the generosity of the earth. By recognising the value of trees as soil and planetary stewards, we can consciously design and manage for a landscape that will reward us with health, permanance and beauty.
"Civilizations have been born out of the immense fertility....provided by forest conditions." -- J.R.S.
Tree crops is a concept enthusiastically presented by J. Russel Smith in his book Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture. As professor of economic geography at Columbia University, Smith examined civilizations that flourished or failed and concluded that the basis for success was proper soil stewardship combined with a respect for trees. He proposed that globally, all of man's dietary needs, fuel, clothing, shelter and surplus - could come from a tree based agriculture. Agro-forestry, agri-silviculture, permaculture, forest . farming....all these systems imply and employ the use of tree crops.
Every woody plant is valuable in the environment as an active and efficient solar collector and nutrient recycler. Of primary utility to man are those species producing food, feed, fiber and fuel. Use the following information as a rough guideline - specific yields and attributes for our area will vary as new selections and information become available.
NUTS: Besides nuts for humans, many trees provide "mast" or forage for livestock and some have excellent timber qualities.
American Beech - 19% protein, named varieties exist with nuts 2-3 times the size of most Beechnuts.
American Chestnut - innoculation with virus carrying strains of the chestnut blight may allow for a comeback of this majestic tree.
Filbert - yields 9-12 tons/acre, can be grown as an understory, crosses of hazel nut with filbert (hazelbert) offer exceptional hardiness and nut production.
Hickory - established trees may be top worked for better nut production, valuable shade, timber and wildlife tree.
Bur Oak - holds promise for food for both man and animal. Selected bur oaks have reduced tannin content - making them quit palatible. Acorns were the staple food of native people throughout history. Yields up to 12 T/A.
Korean nut pine - a principle food source in the arid southwest for many native Americans is the piñon pine. The Korean pine shows promise for this area for both edible seed and timber production.
Black Walnut - selections exist that can withstand temperatures to -50 F. Some offer outstanding nut and timber qualities.
Manchurian Walnut - difficulty in nut extraction has left it pretty much undeveloped. Several trees throughout the state.
Japanese Walnut or Heartnut - hybridizes freely with butternut, promising.
Butternut - some superior selections available, very hardv, 23% protein.
FRUIT: Fruit can supply an abundance of good tasting nutrition. Besides the traditional apple, pear, plum, cherry, grape - some progress is being made in the selection of hardy strains of apricot and peach. Other possibilities include the following:
Mulberry - excellent poultry and hog feed, yields of 8-10 T/A.
Juneberry - (Amelanchier, Saskatoon) active breeding program at Beaver-lodge Station, Alberta for home and commercial production, 5/8" diameter berries yield up to 5 T/A.
Mountain Ash - Some selections are processed for juice and preserves in Europe, known in Russia as northern grape.
Tara Vine (Kiwi relative) - Actnidia arguta and kolomitka produce clusters of grape size fruit high in vitamins A and C, store very well.
Persimmon - hardy to -25 F, the Meader selection holds promise. Dried fruit is used for forage in northern China.
Rosa rugosa - virtually ignored as a nutritious, prolific food source.
MULTI-USE: While many of the above mentioned have multiple uses, the following have some distinct characteristics that include: landscape design for climate modification (shade and wind breaks), wildlife habitat, living fences, industrial materials and erosion control.
Hybrid poplar - fast growing shade, fuel and feed tree.
Honey Locust - a principal tree crop for the Appalachian area, hardy strains are available. Some selections have high concentrations of sugar in the pods with a protein content of 16% that may yield up to 20 T/A.
Hop tree - used extensively as understory plant in shelterbelts of Russian steppes, hop substitute.
Osage orange - windfast root system, often woven as livestock hedqe, numerous uses for wood.
Siberian Pea Shrub - seeds of up to 36% protein for human or poultry consumption, nitrogen fixation in root zone.
Autumn Olive - like the above, has soil building properties, forage value and role as understory in hedgerow and windbreak. Potential nurse crop for black walnut.
Black Locust - fast growing, nitrogen fixing tree, excellent fuel and fence post material.
Basswood - selections for superior timber and nectar production are available.
The production of tree crops with ecologically sound management practices can provide a renewable and affordable base for agriculture. Intercropping - combining annual crops with trees - particularly during the initial growth of trees; or integrating them in a 'canopy' effect - can help increase production. Marginal land could be more easily brought into use. Energy demands could be lowered with self-harvesting by livestock and by eliminating the need for annual cultivation. Windbreaks can reduce soil loss while supplying valuable materials for the farm and all its inhabitants. Several obstacles need to be considered as they impose limitations on the system. Pests and disease, wildlife browsing, hand harvesting and labor requirements preclude the need for more research, and a trial period for supplementing existing monocultural practices. This need for small scale, diversified and intensive management will perhaps encourage a healthy relationship with the ecosystem. Tree crops may provide a responsible respectful and sensible approach to satisfying our needs.
New Alchemy Institute Tree Crops Horkshop. 237 Hatchville Road, E. Falmouth, MA 02536. Gregory Williams - director ITCI - USA, will speak on honey locusts. Contact NAI for information about this and other ongoing programs.
NAFEX Annual Meeting, Geneva, N.Y. A get together for some of the most interesting fruit growers from across the country at the Geneva Fruit Testing Station. Possible car pool? Notify us if interested.
September 23, 24, 25
Common Ground Fair - Windsor Fairgrounds, unlike traditional fairs, this one hosts a variety of exhibitors and activities geared to old and alternative technologies and lifestyles.
Annual Meeting of Alliance, we'd like feedback on possible guest speakers for the MOFGA program and any additional activities you may want to see happen.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Orono - Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation. This compact arboretum contains many interesting specimens. Collecting is not encouraged. Contact professor Campbell, Deering Hall, UMO if you desire to obtain or donate plant specimens. Please respect the plantation.
The UMO campus is also worth touring to see a variety of ornamentals. A trial plot for determining winter hardiness is located on the grounds.
We're sure there are other botanical gardens scattered throughout the state. We'd appreciate hearing about them.
Exchange Page - This space will be used in future issues to help you locate or advertise plant material you have to swap or sell. We hope to collate the questionaire responses and compile a list of sources from the scionwood exchange - and have this available soon. Send a S.A.S.E. if you'd like a copy.
*Please offer only stock you feel is free from disease. We will check on the possibility of an inspection system for the exchange.
Nurseries - For a list of licensed state producers and handlers of nursery stock contact: Division of Plant Industry Bureau of Agricultural Products, State House Station 28, Augusta 04333.
We hope to compile a listing of plant resource materials for next year. We'd like to hear your recommendations for commercial sources. Contact us if you're having a problem locating something this season - we'll try and help.
Good Friends Fruit Tree Nursery - offers 19 'antique' varieties of apples beginning late April from their nursery in Thorndike. Contact Ezekiel Goodband, Horizons Edge School, Canterbury, N.H. 03224 (603) 783-4558 for further details.
Scionwood Sale - The alliance hopes to offer scionwood of Pinus koraiensis as a source of funds. Grafting information will be available. Contact the alliance for further details.
Adopt a Tree - Lots of old fruit trees have been abandoned and are host to pests and diseases that may be a liability to neighboring trees. Under agreement with landowners, it may be possible to rejuvenate these trees for a percentage or perhaps all of the crop.
Preservation Orchards - we'd like to encourage orchards of this type to be set aside as gene banks for future breeding as well as historical interest.
Grafting Demonstrations - those offered by NAFEX are well attended. We'd like to generate similar interest. How about it? Can you offer an informal workshop at your home or in your area? Let us know of your plans - we'll try and make the union between interested parties possible. One workshop we are aware of will take place at 2 p.m. April 24 at Khadigar Farm in Industry. Write or call the Better Living Center 778-6018 for directions.
Grape-Nuts - we'd like to know who out there is currently working with grapes. Please respond.
Municipal Leaf Pick-up - we'd like to know if your community has a leaf pick up service and what becomes of those leaves.
Reference File - we haven't forgotten this important project. Material is being collected and will be made available. Our plans call for a central clearing house for tree crop information. Unity College is a plausible location at this time. Our current relationship with the college is primarily a mailing address. Further involvement is being considered.
Next Newsletter - the Fall issue should contain a report on the status of the American Chestnut, the prospects of Actnidia arouta and some practical information on nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs. Updates on activities, comments and submitted articles will be included.
Deadline for input - September 5th. Copies available at Common Ground Fair and by subscription. We welcome your response and hope to work with interested persons on future editions.
We're aware of at least one group in the state getting ready to establish a permaculture network. How can we fit in, support and avoid overlap? State boundaries ignore biological and geographical configurations - so a regional approach may be a more reasonable one. We also don't wish to restrict ourselves to a mono-think of just trees - annual and perrenial plants are a complement to landscape design and provide a micro-environment not to be overlooked. A recent response indicated a confusion between our acronym (MTCA) and the Maine Christmas Tree Association (MCTA). We're open to your suggestions for naming and directing this network.
POLICY AMD SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION
The alliance has no yearly dues, no funding is being sought, nonprofit status is being considered. Donations and proceeds from the sale of written materials will go towards furthering education in the area of tree crops. Newsletters will appear Spring, Fall, and Winter. Suggested subscription price $2 per year. Barter or exchanges accepted.
Please address subscription requests and additional correspondance to: Jack Kertesz M.T.C.A., Environmental Science Center, Unity College, Unity, Maine 04988.
*Please extend the life of this tree by sharing it with a friend or local library.
SHORT COURSE IN TREE CROP LITERATURE
TREE CROPS: A PERMANENT AGRICULTURE
J. Russel Smith, Harper Colophon, 1978, 408p. $5.95
Smith was an outspoken critic of conventional agricultural research and the leading proponent of tree crop culture.
R. de Hart, J. Sholto, Rodale, $8.95
Global applications of three dimensional agriculture. Covers design, planting and cropping procedures. Appendix lists plants, grasses, and herbs for conservation and fodder.
PERMACULTURE I & II
Mollison; Mollison and Holmgren, $9.95; $10.95
I: Design for a perenial based agricultural system from tap root to tree top and everything in between. Low input, high output, planned-jungles. Austalian based: north is south.
II: Chicken tractors, chicken heated greenhouses, and additional arid land techniques including how to 'firescape' your property. Not as wacky as it sounds.
PLANTS, PEOPLE AND ENVIORNMENTAL QUALITY
Gary Robinette, $6.50
Primarily an urban design manual. Tables, graphs and charts are used to quantify architectural, engineering and climotological functions. A good starting point, it covers a wide range of material.
DESIGN WITH CLIMATE: BIOCLIMATIC APPROACH TO ARCHITECTURAL REGIONALISM
Victor Olgay, Out of Print. Was the standard landscape design text.
TREES, SHRUBS AND VINES FOR ATTRACTING BIRDS: A MANUAL FOR THE NORTHEAST
DeGraaf and Witman, U. of Mass. Press, 1979, 194p. $12.50
A nicely presented guide, includes propagation information for 160 species.
SHRUBS AND VINES FOR NORTHEAST WILDLIFE USDA FS GEN. TECH. REPORT NE-9 1974 180p. Sup. of Doc. USGPO WA. DC 20402
NATIVE WOODY PLANTS OF THE U.S.; THEIR EROSION CONTROL AND WILDLIFE VALUES
William Van Dersal, USGPO USDA MISC. PUB. 303, 1938, 362p.
This is an early tree crop reference collecting dust on many shelves. Cultural information is included.
NUT TREE CULTURE IN NORTH AMERICA
Richard Jaynes, NNGA, Broken Arrow Rd. Hamden, CT., 1979, 465p, $15
Everything it's cracked up to be. For the serious nut grower.
GROWING NUTS IN THE NORTH
Carl Weschke, Web Pub., 1953, 124p., $2
NUT TREE GROWING IN THE NORTHEAST
L.H. MacDaniels Dist., Center C, 7 Research Park, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY 14853, $1
SEEDS OF THE WOODY PLANTS IN THE US
USDA FS AG. HANDBOOK NO. 450, 1974, 883p., $17.95 Wow!
Available from Tilth Information Service, 2270 NW Irving, Portland, OR. 97210. Send for their extensive list.
ADVANCES IN FRUIT BREEDING
Janick and Moore, Purdue U. Press, 1975, 620p, $25--and worth every penny. Fruit and nuts.
1937 YEARBOOK OF AGRICULTURE
The entire 1,497 pages devoted to breeding animals and mostly plants.
HARDWOOD NURSERYMAN'S GUIDE
USDA FS AG. HANDBOOK NO. 473, 1976, 78p., $2, Stock No. 001-000-02902-9.
A practical guide for anyone getting started.
PLANT PROPAGATION: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES
Hartman and Kester, 702p., $21
The standard text.
INSECT POLLINATION OF CULTIVATED CROP PLANTS
McGregor, USDA HANDBOOK NO. 496, 411p., $7
An impressive book.
CONTROL OF INSECTS ON DECIDUOUS FRUITS AND TREE NUTS IN THE HOME ORCHARD WITHOUT INSECTICIDES
USDA Home and Garden Bulletin No. 211, 1975, 36p., $1
NORTH AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN FRUIT AND TREE NUT GERMPLASM RESOURCES INVENTORY
Science and Education Administration Beltsville, MD. 20705, 1980?, 732p., free.
A computer register of what's available and who's doing the breeding work. Many exocitics, but noticeably short of what's really out there. For serious collectors.
TREES AND OTHER WOODY PLANTS OF MAINE
Fay Hyland and Ferdinand Steinmetz, Thorndike Press, 1944 reprint, 72p., $3.50.
A distribution and frequency account of native and introduced species, by county. Handy reference for learning what's already here.
THE WOODY PLANTS OF SPHAGANOUS BOGS OF NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND AND ADJACENT CANADA
Fay Hyland and Barbara Hoisington, UMO Press, 1981, 110p..
Life histories of many plants commonly used as ornamentals.
WOODY PLANTS FOR LANDSCAPE PLANTING IN MAINE Bulletin 506, 58p.
Lyle Littlefield, CO-OP. EXT. SERVICE, UMO.
Basic references for the selection of woody plants.
RARE VASCULAR PLANTS OF MAINE
Critical Areas Program Report, Executive Department, State Planning Office, 184 State St. Augusta 04333,656p.
THE INTERNATIONAL PERMACULTURE SEED YEARBOOK
Box 202, Orange, MA. 01364, $7.50
A directory including suppliers and seekers of plant material, organizations, resources and ---much more.
A revised, enlarged and more accountable list of tree crop literature will be available in the fall. Please submit a list of your favorites.
We're also looking for help cataloging tree crop information that's available throughout the states' libraries.
Other tools-besides books, need to be reviewed. Currently we're trying to locate a small scale brush chipper suitable for intensive woodlot management, We'd like to hear what your tinkering with and about any particular tools you approve of.
ORGANIZATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
International Tree Crops Institute USA Inc., non-profit research and promotion of multipurpose tree crops for agriculture and conservation. Appalachian Regional Office: Rt. 1, Gravel Switch, KY 40328, Greg Williams -director. Honey Locust Research Center, Periodical AGRROFORESTRY REVIEW available - quarterly $8/year. Additional publications and plant material available. Main Office: P.O. Box 666 Hinters, CA. 95694
New Alchemy Institute - 237 Hatchville Road, E. Falmouth, MA 02536. The magic these folks work with isn't black, it's green and blue. Stewards of the soil and water - they offer reliable information in their programs and publications.
Cornell Tree Crops Research Project - 230 E. Roberts Hall, Cornell U., Ithaca, N.Y. 14853. Their 20 acre research site includes selections from Hershey and Hostetter, Lancaster, PA as part of a growing gene bank.
North American Fruit Explorers - c/o Robert Kurle, 10 So. 055 Madison St., Hinsdale, IL 60521. A respected amateur association of nationwide fruit enthusiasts. Publish a quarterly POMONA - which is enlightening and encouraging.
Northern Nut Growers' Association - 13 Broken Arrow Road, Hamden, CT. 06518. Nut Tree Culture in North America by R.A. Jaynes is an example of their fine efforts to promote nut trees.
Society of Ontario Nut Growers - RR1 Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada LOS 1JO. SONG has a booklet on establishing nut trees in the north. $2 should cover the cost.
TILTH - promoting biological agriculture in the northwest - $10 membership includes subscription to an impressive Quarterly. TILTH Information Service offers a number of tree crop and affiliated publications. T.I.S. catalog and subscription information: TILTH, 2270 MW Irvinn, Portland, OR 97210. Their book - The Future is Abundant is testimony to what an organization can do to lay the groundwork for a regional agriculture.
Men of the Trees - Crawley Down, Crawley, Sussex, England. International association founded by Richard St. Barbe Baker modern pioneer of reforestation and tree preservation. Semi-annual journal - TREES, S5.
Friends of Nature - Brooksville, ME 04617. USA affiliate of Men of the Trees. Non-profit group promoting global conservation. Offer books by St. Barbe Baker. Subscribing members ($5/year) receive letter of activities.
Women of the Trees - Maia Massion, 335 Delaware St., Berkeley, CA 94710. Fostering an understanding of women, trees and planetary healing powers is their goal.
Friends of the Trees - P.O. Box 1064, Tonasket, WA 98885. Publish pamphlets, disperse information and seeds with activities focussed on the Pacific Northwest.
Children of the Green Earth - Ron Rabin, Hearthwind Farm, Star Route, Box 182, Umpqua, OR 97346. A group formed to facilitate tree plantinq and educational programs for children throughout the world - with help and inspiration from St. Barbe Baker, Dorothy MaClean and René Dubos. Newsletter available.
For Every Child a Tree - Canadian director - Hugh Locke, 229 College St., 3rd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1R4. An effort to continue the 1982 UN program.
Massachusetts Fruition Program - Mass. Department of Food and Agriculture, Leverett Saltonstall Building, Government Center, 100 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02202. A project to plant public lands to fruit bearing trees and shrubs. Demonstration sites throughout state.
Elfin Permaculture - Dan Hemenway, Box 202, Orange, MA 01364. Offer permaculture design courses, publish The International Permaculture Seed Yearbook, Northern hemisphere contact for International Permaculture Assocaition.
Bio-Thennal Enerny Center - P.O. Box 3112, Portland, ME 04101. This non-profit group is devoted to research and education for the promotion of compost generated heat, C02 and humus from chipped forest products -adaptable to greennouses. "
East Coast Society for Herbal Enlightenment - Marlene Pike, 26 Bay View St., Camden, ME 04843. Bi-monthly newsletter contains practical information on herb use and culture and related areas of activities. Subscription S5, membership, $20.
Permaculture Observer - P.O. 3ox 1100, Minters, CA 95694.
Permaculture Journal - c/o Terry White, 37 Goldsmith St., Maryborough, Victoria, 3465 Australia, quarterly $lO/year.
Enjoy the summer. Make it a constructive one. Find out what is already growing in your area. Talk with friends and neighbors, find out what they know about the local trees, local tree people. Get involved. Try and recover some of the past. Make something of the future. Make the network work.
"The greatest contribution one can make to one's country is to add a new plant to its culture."
This newsletter digitized by Tom Roberts, 1-Apr-2006.