13 Mar 2009, 8:08pm
Crop Species Shrubs
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Chapter 5: The Best Shrubs

From A Guide to Innovative Tree Farming in the Pacific Northwest by Mike Dubrasich. 2005. Whirlwind Press. For a hard copy of the book ($10 - includes shipping) please contact W.I.S.E. [here].

Best of the Best: Scouler Willow (Salix scouleriana)

Runners-Up: California Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta var. californica), Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor)

Honorable Mention
: Saskatoon Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), Lewis Mockorange (Philadelphus lewisii)

Tree farmers plant trees, but shrubs often occur on tree farms naturally. The tree farmer’s choices are to ignore the shrubs, poison them, or make profits from them. Innovative tree farmers choose the third option.

The best tree farm shrubs are easy to grow, easy to market, and provide opportunities to add value. Moreover, the best shrubs provide annual income, and hence greater earning power than a periodic crop. One-year-old shoots (rods) are the products tree farmers harvest from shrubs; coppicing is the method employed. Rods are used in basketry, furniture-making, and a variety of arts and crafts.

Scouler Willow

The best shrub for Pacific Northwest tree farmers to grow is Scouler willow. Taxonomists have identified over 50 species, subspecies, and varieties of willow in our region. Scouler willow is the most common, but many other native willows are excellent rod producers. Scouler willows can grow into small trees, but coppicing keeps them short and manageable.

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