[permaculture] Managing Wild Grapes in Woodlands

bmn at iglou.com bmn at iglou.com
Fri Mar 22 08:45:56 EST 2002

"forester" may be the key word.  Forestry programs typically decry the 
understory and see it as a hindrance to woodlot management.  On the other 
hand, you are correct, grapevines are very important, and quite useful to 
a landowner.  

My favorite moment with a classicly trained forestry consultant came when 
I was on an ECO walk on an area my agency was about to tear up for an 
easement.  I noted the easement went right through the middle of a 48" 
Tulip Poplar and a slightly smaller oak right next to it.  Since we were 
walking on an old logging road, and to the right (opposite side) of the 
road there was a stand of 15-20 year old trees, I requested the alignment 
be changed to go to through the younger treed area and avoid the 
bigger/older trees.  The consultant looked up and said, "Oh, no.  You 
don't want to do that.  That tree (the Tulip Poplar) has a fault.  He 
pointed to a cavity that had formed where the first branches were (some 
12 meters up).  A branch had broken off the tree many years ago. The 
branch that had fallen was approximately .75-1 m in diameter.  This tree 
was quite large and had fantastic habitat.  I had to engage in a 
discussion about how in our mind (the Environmental Team's) that was not 
a fault but a HUGE additional value to that area.  If you think he was 
surprised then, you should have heard the discussion about how we value 
dead trees!!! <grin>

BTW, is there a url for the folks that gave your workshop?

one more BTW, in a good many areas, foresters also decry Spicebush 
(Lindera benzoin).  To me this is a fantastic plant both for habitat, 
mast, tea, and spice (the ripe berries dried, ground, & used for 
allspice) as well as a great addition to pans of water on our radiators 
during the winter.  enough of that...I've rambled too long...

-----Original Message-----
From: Allan Balliett <igg at igg.com>
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 06:58:40 -0500
Subject: [permaculture] Managing Wild Grapes in Woodlands

> Friends -
> I took part in a Plant Savers workshop in Virginia last spring. It 
> was  mentioned several times that a spring season obligation of the 
> natural forester is to cut down wild grape vines.
> Well it's spring, but now I'm hearing that wild grapes are a primary 
> source of food for both birds and many mammals, including black 
> bears.(I'm on the Blue Ridge)
> I'd appreciate any insights on this or suggested reading.  In our 
> area it is not uncommon to see several LARGE vines pulling at an oak 
> in the woods. (Wild grapes are listed as a noxious weed in many 
> states.)

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