Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest. Most of our acreage is old farmland that is now just rosehip bushes and grasses (outlined in red below).
Although I love the riparian area around the creek, I’m a big forest lover and need more trees. So why not grow our own forest? If successful, we will also be improving wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and providing even more to explore for the kiddos. Discounting the very steep areas, we have about 15 acres that can potentially be forested.
Since I know nothing about growing a forest, I solicited some free advice from a forester I work with. He recommended starting with ponderosa pine. Once that’s established, we can start thinking about adding other tree species. We will have to get seedlings appropriate for our elevation zone (~2400′-2600′), and plant them on the northeast side of anything that is a foot or taller. This will cast a shadow on the seedling in the afternoon sun and hopefully shield it from getting fried in the hot and dry summers.
Although I was told fall would be best, we can start in the spring. I’m planning on getting around 20 seedlings to start and see how it goes. If the planting is not a complete disaster, a lot more will be get planted this fall. The first year is crucial as the roots get established so I’ll be hoping for some of those rare summer thunderstorms we had last year.