suggestion for shade tree zone 6

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Sakmeht, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Sakmeht

    Sakmeht Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all,

    We have our coop partially finished and I will be planting a shade tree on the south side. I want a fruit or nut tree, and a fast-growing one at that. I make herbal medicines so I'm partial to elderberries but haven't grown the bush/tree before. I'm wondering if any of you have experience with elderberry trees (or shrubs) and if so how do you like them? How tall do they get? Tall enough to shade a coop that's 7-1/2 feet or so tall? If not, can you suggest any shade trees that are the fruit or nut variety? I know our neighbors have peach and apple trees so I'm looking to avoid those types as we may do some trading in the future.

    Thanks!
    Sarita
     
  2. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    I have apple and pear trees, but my favorite shade provider are the grapevines around the duck run. It keeps them cool in the summer, and let's the light through in the winter. I can get over 50 lbs or grapes from 1 vine.
     
  3. Big Dreamer

    Big Dreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would the grapes do good on FL? Safe for the ducks? And how fast do they grow? Im looking for a shade tree also, to either be in the pen or on the outside
     
  4. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    I don't know if there is a variety that grows well in FL. You would have to do some research. As for whether or not they are good for ducks, I say YES. They can eat the leaves. So can you actually [​IMG]. They are used as a wrap in Greek cooking.
     
  5. Big Dreamer

    Big Dreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do they grow fastish?
     
  6. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm in zone 6, too. I have a few apple trees- and they grow great and provide a lot of shade. Peaches do even better! If you don't want either of those, I'm not sure what to tell you that is 'fast' growing. My mother in law has elderberry bushes- but they are just bushes. I think they can be trained into trees... sort of. But I'm not sure that is going to give you the shade you are looking for. My parents have Bing cherry trees and Pecan trees- but they are slow growing and don't branch out for a lot of shade until they are much, much older. What about a Pear tree? My in laws have them and they do pretty good, and are fairly fast growing. If you are serious about the shade, I wouldn't be so quick to rule out the apple, pear and peach trees. Are you sure it has to be fruit? I planted a Tulip Tree- (yellow poplar) and it's not a fruit tree- BUT it is FAST, FAST growing and provides beautiful huge tulip looking flowers! I got mine at Lowes in the Spring a couple of years ago and it has gone crazy in growing for me. I plan on getting more of them!

    Also remember, if you get fruit trees- you must have two of them to produce fruit. And even then- that's been ify for me. I've had to up my fruit trees to 3 a piece to get decent fruit on them each year. So ONE single fruit tree won't do you a bit of good if there is nothing to cross pollinate with. Also, each tree has an "off" year. I have only 4 apple trees (so far- going to plant more!) and if you had a bumper crop last year, then the next year will be pretty weak. (BTW- If your neighbor is close enough and they have apples, you could probably plant one apple tree and have it produce- if it is close enough to be cross pollinated from their yard to yours.) I think nut trees would be great- but there again, they are pretty slow growing- but a Pecan might be a bit faster than say a Walnut or Oak. I haven't built my coop yet either- I'm still in the "design" stages. But I plan on planting fast growing shade trees around my coop too- like Maples and yellow poplar.

    Hope I didn't overwhelm you! Gardening and planting is an obsession of mine!
     
  7. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    ooh! LOVE the grape vine idea! Grapes grow excellent here- but they take some time to establish while they root down the first year or two. But after that, they will cover anything they are growing on. [​IMG] I'd vote for the Concorde grape as they do a bit better in our Zone and are more prolific at producing.

    (I also have Honeysuckle and Wisteria that has gone crazy all over my pergola)- smells great and covers fast!
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  8. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in Oregon and Musa Basjoo banana trees grow very fast in the summer. They are like huge umbrellas, then die back in the winter so the sun can come in the run. I just protect the base with a round of plastic chicken fencing. I have no idea what zone I live in though. I'll have to look it up..
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  9. Sakmeht

    Sakmeht Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I HAVE been wanting to plant grapes, especially concord - but I'm not sure it would be high enough to shade my coop all that well. I suppose I don't have to have a fruit/nut tree - but it's definitely preferred. I've heard elderberry trees can get to 40 feet high, and the shrub types get to 8 or 10 feet. The shrub-type really sounds ideal, but only if it grows that high. I might end up having to use a non-fruit/nut tree by the coop and just plant my 'food' trees farther away. My husband and I are survival types, so we like to grow things we can use.
     
  10. Zonoma

    Zonoma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had the same idea but wanted something that I wouldn't be "jealous" of the chickens eating and something that, should it grow taller than the bird netting covering my run, would still be able to shed its fruit through the netting and into the run. I settled on a crabapple. I searched for a dwarf variety (10 ft, max) with wide, splayed out limbs started and topped it off to encourage the lower branches to thicken up. The birds have a roost they love and snacks in the fall. At least that's the plan, right now it is still young enough that I've protected it from my girls with some simple chicken wire. Also a bonus, the are gorgeous when they flower and, though I don't care for crabapples, the chickens love them.

    As far as your OP concerning elderberries, I actually ruled those out simply because 1) I love making wine and preserves from them too much and knew I wouldn't get enough if they were in the run, and 2) they get really thick and really weedy really, really fast. I only keep one or two around because of that alone. It's hard enough to maintain a cultivated garden and keep them in check when there's only two! They are really yummy though!
     

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