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Ok....so my sister grabbed me a few Osage Orange fruits full of seeds and I intend to start a bunch and plant "somewhere" for future harvest. I also have some Blackthorn seeds in the mail which I will do the same with......probably two plants or so of each (depending on male/female requirements) here at home. The rest will get planted in the wild or along roadways free from stickers like you/us...lol. But, being the age where deciding if I can get away with a 30 year roof or should i pay for a 40 year roof causes angst, I'm curious how long it will take to get some harvests out of these species. Anyone ever do or consider doing this? Anyone rig up forming blocks for cane-style handles on growing samplings or branches? I've watched branches on hollies form around other branches even grow into each other to form one....Ive seen trees formed in wierd ways also....sounds like fun...long term anyway.....anyone?
 

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I wish I would have considered these questions years ago! If you know what I mean! (probably just a 20 year roof). :)
 

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OTOH, Mother Nature has been around for the ages and has provided ample specimens, it's just up to us to go out and find them,,,,lol
 

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My general observation is that the harder the wood, the slower the growth.

Here's a few things I can saw w. some certainty. The Tulip tree, more commonly known as the yellow poplar, grows very straight, and rapidly, given enough water and light. I would expect 1 10' tall sapling at 5 years, w. a branch free lower trunk at least 4' tall and 2 - 3 inches thick. Not a very strong wood, but it works easily, and would make nice sticks.

Mulberry grows like a weed where I live. Altho related to the osage orange, it is much less strong. Once the roots are established, it can be almost impossible to eradicate. There are several abandoned properties near me where mulberries have been repeatedly cut down near the ground, only to grow back w. numerous straight "child" trunks." I've cut a few of those and find that at 8 years a few of the inner rings have turned to heart wood. Its also fairly light, and feels springy. I think they will make good sticks.
 

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I think its a fine idea for a 5-10 year plan, plant away what do you have to lose.

I planted a hawthorn sappling 10 years ago, it is just now getting big enough to pull the whole thing up and make a stick out of it (I'm not going to). I'll probably take down the main shoot to make it branch out more suckers and wait a few more years and pull those.

Blackthorn is a slow grower, but is considered invasive from its roots, so be careful where you plant it.

Hedgeapple is also fairly slow grower, I rarely see a straight branch on any tree. Personally I don't mess with them too much, but they are everywhere down here.

Understanding espalier techniques, you can definitely form most any tree into a unique cane/stick. Most of us don't have that much patience :)

Now blocking fresh green cuttings is much more productive.

I am not super picky about 'this specific tree' I look for shape and diameter, determine that it is at least a strong enough wood to work and snag it.
 

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I'm 60, so don't have a lot of time to start from seed. Buying a started tree from a nursery might be a better idea. More expensive, though. Also wouldn't have the pride of saying "I grew that from Seed, Myself!"

Here in rural North Dakota, there are a lot of shelter belts, some quite old, that owners wouldn't mind being cleaned out. I'll start asking around.
 
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