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rainbowgardener
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what to do -- tree seedlings

Those of you who have been reading my posts know that the back half of my lot is a steep hillside I am trying to turn into a native woodland shade plant garden, reclaiming it from honeysuckle, english ivy etc.

So today I thought I would do some tree planting back there. What with spring planting and all, it's the first time I spent any significant time back there since winter. Wow! I was a bit overwhelmed with how overgrown it's gotten. Didn't do any tree planting yet, I spent the time I had just pulling all the weeds from the path, so there's a walking path again. Garlic mustard is invading and the white snakeroot though native is choking everything else out, there's bindweed ....

But my question is about the tree seedlings. I noticed that there's a bunch of tree seedlings starting. Some are baby hackberries, scions of the big old hackberry that is back there. But there's a bunch of box elder seedlings and ash seedlings, I think probably white ash.

So the ash tree is native here, but the emerald ash borer is on its way. Will I just be luring them in if I let a whole bunch of ash tree seedlings stay?

I think the box elder is native in the south and is spreading north, so it's sort of native, but both of these trees are becoming very prolific in my yard, not to say weed-like..

So what do people think? Pull them all, pull some of them, leave them all? Let everything duke it out and see who wins?
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applestar
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First thought -- maybe you could sell them at the plant sale.... 8)

2nd thought -- I think you'll need to thin like any other area, just please not in a straight equidistant pattern like a tree farm. :roll:

You do want to avoid weak growth and try to help keep them healthy so they can fight off and/or don't attract pest insects or become prone to infection by disease organisms.

Wilburos
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With box elders come elder bugs! The bugs are a real nuisance. I didn't know box elders were from the south. We have plenty up here where I am.
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bangstrom
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Re: what to do -- tree seedlings

I would pull them. There are many better trees to pick from even if you want to limit your choices to natives.

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, I started by pulling out the ones that were in the middle of the path or too close to trees that I deliberately planted. Left a lot of the rest, with the thought that I can still pull them or cut them out later if I decide to.

Spent about five hours today clambering up and down my hillside, just weeding. It was very necessary, some things I planted were not going to make it otherwise. I have a little pin oak that I planted a couple years ago that is growing very slowly. At first I thought it had disappeared, but it was just totally hidden inside a mass of weeds and weed trees.

A lot of things I was able to uncover and clear out, but my nice little patch of tiarella that had made it through three seasons does seem to have disappeared. :(

But it's looking a lot better now that you can see the path and the retaining walls and the specimen plants again... Still a TON of work to do.
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applestar
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Wow I was looking to see if boxelder was specific larval host for anything and was overwhelmed by hits about boxelder bug :shock:
I thought I remembered reading in prof. Tallamy's book that it supports a large number of wildlife but I don't have the book handy right now.

Finally got to this page:
https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ACNE2

...That silk moth is gorgeous! Do you ever see any? It also says the tree is beneficial to honeybees, and I was intrigued to learn that the Plains Indians used to tap it to make sugar. 8)

^ sounds like you are going to be sore tomorrow! Do you tag your trees? how do you keep track? I read that tiarella is susceptible to drought. Mine is gone after last year's drought and neglect, but it was also hit hard by that neighbor incident and never really recovered although other plants closer to the fence like (false?) solomon's seal, wild ginger, Turk's cap lilies, and native pachysandra all have bounced back.

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rainbowgardener
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No tags, no records, it's all in my head... :)

Thanks for the info on the box elder, that makes me feel better. Good reminder about Doug Tallamy's book. I got my copy out and he does list box elder under "native plants with wildlife value" so I guess I can not worry about them popping up. He shows pictures of the box elder bug, which looks a whole lot like the milkweed bug my milkweeds get.

The false solomon seal is blooming on my hillside right now, along with all the woods poppy. The wild ginger still have a few of their "little brown jugs" (that was one folk name for the plant, because of the brownish bell shaped flowers) and some of the jack in the pulpit is still blooming.

@ bangstrom - I am planting other things too. Waiting to be planted are a rescued redbud and maple and an osage orange from my church plant sale and a couple American persimmons I ordered. Already planted (in the past, not this season) are a couple kinds of maple, couple kinds of oak, catalpa, redbud, buckeye, paw paw, red cedar. There's a big old hackberry, black walnut, and mulberry that came with the property. The buckeyes and redbud are starting to multiply themselves.

But I will keep considering on what and how much to thin... I've been working so hard to plant trees, it is a change of mind set to think about pulling them.
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applestar
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If you re going to do a lot of thinning and chipper/shredding, I think this would be a good time to inoculate with some good mushroom spawn.
Have you checked out the Field and Forest website? (as much as I respect the Fungi Perfecti site, I think it makes more sense to obtain adapted spawn closer to home. There might be others too but those two are the only ones I have experience with.)

If you do this though, you'll probably have to join a local mycology club and learn how to ID the edible/desirable mushrooms so you can harvest the right ones.

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applestar
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Have you seen this page? I thought to look it up at Plants for a Future. Wow Acer negundo has a pretty useful edibility rating! 8)
:arrow: https://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Acer+negundo

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rainbowgardener
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The silk moth is gorgeous. Haven't seen one, but I will keep an eye out. The biggest of the box elder trees is about 4' tall. They seem to be newly arrived in our area in the last few years.

The NPIN page says "it is spreading in the East as a weed tree"

A couple years ago, I was staying for a few days in a cabin in a forest preserve (Nature Conservancy) a couple hours from me. Their woods had hundreds and hundreds of little box elder seedlings (which I didn't know at the time what they were), more in open disturbed areas, like around our cabin. I didn't see any large ones (though I guess there must have been some somewhere.
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lorax
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Omg, you've got Manitoba maples (aka Box Elder, aka The Trees That Ate The Province, aka Acer negundo). They're useful plants, certainly, but they're also horribly weedy. If you're going to plant maples, you might want to look at other native species of them, as Manitobas are short-lived (for trees), brittle, and attract all sorts of unkind insects along with the beneficials.

They're also kind of the Jason of tree life - no matter what you do, even stump-grinding, they'll still try to come back. Yikes - if they're still seedlings/saplings, you've got a better chance of keeping them from taking over.

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