Seeds, Nuts, Cuttings, and Grafts
Presented by Dr. Daniel Milbocker,
for the New Forest Society, Inc.
Much of our farm acreage has gone
through a cycle.
- Originally covered with trees
- Clearing and farming led to
- Overproduction and low prices
impoverished farmers, resulting in their grown children leaving
- Help starved farmers turned to
low labor pasturage, followed by subdivision and selling of farms
- Now pasture ravaged farms are
being reforested for homes.
Farming is hard on the
- Removing trees decreases soil
humus from 7 to less that 1%.
- Soil without humus erodes easily
and retains few nutrients.
- Eroding soils contaminate rivers
with soil and plant nutrients.
Erosion can be prevented on farms
- Strip farming to prevent erosion
and nutrient loss
- Maintaining buffer strips
between fields and streams.
How do buffer strips work?
- 50í to 100ft. strips of grass
remove the nutrients and sediment from run-off water.
- Inter-planting of shrubs and
trees increases humus to the soil for catching nutrients and
- Slower run-off prevents flooding
and erosion of the stream and its banks.
Planting Buffer strips.
- Banks of rivers are often part
of pasture compacted by animal traffic which grazes vegetation to
a short stubble.
- Planting of trees and shrubs
would improve soil permeability
- Planting of grass would catch
soil sediment and absorb nutrients before water enters the river.
- Requires tree and shrub
seedlings or propagules capable of competing with pasture grasses
and foraging wild animals.
Some highlights of Dr. Milbockerís
program, recorded by Caryl Austrian, follow:
Before land is cleared of trees and
shrubs, humus gives off carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide mixes
with rain to form carbonic acid. Nitrogen plus rain plus lightning
produces ammonium hydroxide. Plants and rain generally clean up the
air resulting in a normal ph of 7. When the land is cleared, the
percentage of humus is greatly reduced and a chemical imbalance
Under good farming practices, 300
feet of buffer strips of grass and grass/shrubs/trees adjacent to a
stream will clean up the water running off into the stream. Itís bad
practice to permit (as many farmers do) cows to walk in a river
because that water becomes drinking water downstream. An acre can
process no more than 60 tons of sludge.
To cover banks with some sort of
When planning a riparian barrier,
select plants that are not going to be a problem downstream. You may
need help to determine what is best for your situation.
Trees can be grown from the seeds
in cones of pine, spruce, hemlock, etc.; true nuts such as acorns;
fruit such as apple and peach; immature embryos such as holly
berries; legumes such as locust.
If using the propagation method,
select cuttings carefully Ė they should be of reasonable size,
preferably NOT flowering or fruiting, juveniles rather than adults.
Keep all cuttings from wilting (water or mist) until they put out
roots, which can take 7-20 days for some, 60 days for others.
Plastic tents, cold frames, burlap are also used. Shrubs root more
easily than trees. When grafting, best to do just before rain and
below 90 degrees. Have to stay within the genus with a few
exceptions. Grafting is an art.
After propagation, plant rooted
cutting in 4 Ĺ" pot, water once a day. If it dries out in one day,
move it to a larger container. Use potting soil, not field soil. Or
plant in garden row: 6 inches soil on top of plastic Some
gardening tips: remember water can seep 32 inches into the ground;
donít use hardwood (contains manganese, which binds iron) or pine
(contains turpentine) bark mulch.
In closing, Dr. Milbocker said that
according to the state department of environmental protection,
Maryland has lost half of its forested areas and "We need to replace