Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ash forest

Ever since I took my wife away on a weekend green woodworking course she has cornered just about everyone we know to find out if they have a piece of ash she can have to make into the pole part of a pole lathe.

We have two ash trees at the bottom of the garden, unfortunately none of the branches are straight enough or long enough for the desired pole. The trees do, however, have a lot of seeds left on them from last year. So I've been wondering how long and how many seeds we would need to create an ash forest.

Ash seedsAccording to Ray Tabor's book "The Encyclopedia of Green Woodworking" for ash there are approximately 13,200 seeds per kg and you can expect a 50% germination rate.

I collected 1.675Kg of seeds from the lower boughs of our trees. If 50% of them grow we will have just over 11,000 trees, enough for 4.4 hectares (10.9 acres) of land (based on a 2m spacing)!

At the moment though the seeds are in a container in the kitchen. I'm going to plant them in a mix of compost and sand in cardboard boxes (the kind that fruit is packaged in - free from the local co-op), I just need to collect enough boxes. Then the boxes will be stored at the bottom of the garden.

It takes up to two winters for the seeds to germinate, so this time next year I will expect lots of ash seedlings. At least it gives us time to find suitable land to plant them out on.

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