Trees: Organic Life for Your Homestead
Adding trees to your property is “organically” a good idea – meaning, it is one essential “part” of the “whole” that makes up homestead living. Without the best choices, something is missing. The four main things to look for when choosing homestead trees are beauty, usefulness, utility, and privacy.
When approaching your homestead, it is nice to have the welcoming wave of trees. Remember Twelve Oaks in Gone With the Wind? Okay, maybe I’m dating myself, but look it up – all those majestic oaks lining the lane. You may not have a homestead on the level of a “southern plantation,” but you can certainly have the charm and welcome atmosphere of one. The Arbor Day Foundation has excellent information that will help you achieve your goals. One good place to start is to learn about how trees can attract songbirds and wildlife. Part of the appeal of a homestead is to be truly able to enjoy nature, and this just isn’t entirely possible without animals. Here are some suggestions for planting trees on your homestead:
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “Having a wide variety of trees with high food value is the single best way to increase your pleasure from viewing wildlife.” Champion wildlife feeders include the summer fruits: Cherries, Dogwoods, Plums, and Apricots. Fall and winter fruits include: Apples, Crabapples, Dogwoods, Hackberry, Hawthorns, and Mountain Ash. Trees that produce nuts and acorns are: Butternut, Black Walnut, Chestnuts, Hazels, Hickories, Oaks, Pecans. Finally, there are the trees that have seeds: Ashes, Birches, Firs, Hemlock, Maples, Spruces, and Sweetgum. “These are especially important to help wildlife through the worst part of the year and to save early arriving summer birds that get caught in late-season snowstorms.” In addition to feeding wildlife, you will want to feed yourself, and no homestead would be complete without an orchard. Apple and plum trees are always tasty as well as beautiful; however, since these are plentiful and varied from the market, pears and peaches may be a good choice.
- The common pear tree grows in the spring and summertime, and their white pear blossoms form in early spring. Pears form and ripen in the summer. Pear trees require moist, well-drained soil and full sun. Recommended varieties, such as, Harrow Sweet Magness, and Luscious are nice for zones 4 to 8 of the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zones.
- Peach trees grow up to 25 feet in height and require full sun and moist, well-drained soil conditions. According to the National Gardening Association, peach trees grow in zones 4 to 8 of the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zones. The University of Nebraska suggests varieties such as Madison and Red Haven.