Food Forest Planting

So you are starting a one acre food forest on a semi-arid zone 6 property.  What do you plant?

Well, lets go through the items we decided to plant, working our way from the canopy to the soil surface.

American Chestnut

Planted as seedlings.  True American Chestnuts from blight-free stands in Washington.

Paw Paw, Pennsylvania Golden Paw Paw and Mango Paw Paw

Planted as seedlings.

Honeycrisp, Dayton and Red Boskoop Apples

All planted as as bare root trees on Antanovka root stock.

Harken Peach

Bare root trees on Lovell root stock.

English Morello Cherry

Bare root on Gisela root stock.

Italian Prune Plum

Bare root on Marianna root stock.

Autumn Olive

Significant numbers planted from rooted cuttings to help with early establishment.  Already growing very well.  Sourced inexpensively on Ebay.

Choke Cherry

Planted as rooted cutting.

Oregon Grape

Hardy evergreen shrub with tart edible berries.  Historically native to the area.

Ben Lomond Black Currant

Compact high-producing commercial variety from Scotland.

Ben More Black Currant

Another Scottish variety which is later blooming.

Blue Elderberry

Planted as rooted cutting.

Assorted Blueberries and Strawberries

We don’t expect much success with the blueberries until the the forest is more established due to soil acidity issues, but we’ve planted quite a few and we’ll see how they do.


Most trees were planted inside tubes of hardware cloth fastened with zip ties.  The hardware cloth tubes go several inches into the ground to help reduce vole, deer and rabbit damage.  It is a significant amount of work to create all of the hardware cloth tubes, so inexpensive and abundant rooted cuttings were left unprotected.  You can also see here the 3/4inch drip irrigation tubes run along each swale.  5gph drip fittings are attached near trees, and misters are placed periodically to help with growth of herbaceous plants on the swale.


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