What Not To Do When Planting Out 500 Hybrid Chestnut Trees From Seed

Last year I decided to start a tree farm, although in all honesty I really have no idea what I’m doing. This year I planted 500 Hybrid Chestnut trees from seed and next year I plan on planting 5000 trees. This article is about things I have learned, experiments I have done and all the stuff I learned along the way.

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Here you can see the piles of wood chips along the aisles

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Glutton for Punishment: Frost Seeding 650 lbs of Clover and Planting 466 Chestnut Trees by Hand

The last month has been taken up by me trying to accomplish the impossible. I’ve been preparing 42 acres of steep hillside that I ravaged with a bulldozer to become a productive chestnut & hazelnut orchard. The first step to doing this is to seed the disturbed soil. My original idea was to have a neighboring farmer come in with a large tractor and a discer and seeder to seed it with medium red clover. As spring progressed and my land got more and wetter, I realized there was no way that was going to happen, any heavy equipment was going to get hopelessly stuck in the clay mud. I still have 6-8 culverts I need to put in, and without them, most of my property is impassible by anything other than an electric bike (and marginally at that).

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Having a Sur-Ron electric dirtbike makes it a lot easier to get around my hill

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It Begins

It all began with 7 days straight of driving a bulldozer 7-8 hours a day.

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The D5 dozer from Carson Rental in Ithaca was very affordable at only $2000 for a week (included delivery & damage waiver)

Cleaning off the frozen clay took me 14 hours with a pressure washer. I don’t advise doing projects like this in the winter unless you’re a masochist.

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I was able to dig 14 ponds and swale out 30 acres in one week

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