[permaculture] Blueberry/willow guild design critique

Paul Cereghino paul.cereghino at comcast.net
Wed Jul 18 03:14:33 EDT 2007

To think I was excited when I got a response!  Pat... would you please 
call me Paul rather than "This person"..  Still looking for 
suggestions... I couldn't find many design suggestions in your 
response.  Your motive is unclear to me.

>Juncus effusus is not aggressive. You see the plant will proliferate only if conditions meet its
>needs. It can tolerate very sour ground that most other plants cannot and also where their seeds
>will not germinate.
Under wetland conditions J. effusus is a very successful competitor.  I 
am talking about wetland conditions where soft rush can outcompete other 
species and load the seedbank, hence my hesitation about using it as 
part of a polyculture, but due to its productivity, my interest in its 
value as a mulch plant.  There are many plants adapted to seasonally 
anaerobic soils other than soft rush.  I guess soft rush must behave 
differently where your come from.  We could talk more about my field 
experience with soft rush if that is what you are after?

>Willows that are used in natural fencing can be grown but not with blueberries and certainly not in a situation where you want to harvest food.
I was going for NEXT TO.. as opposed to WITH.  The willow would have to 
be organized and harvest managed so that the willow was not shading the 
blueberries.  How does having some osiers nearby prevent harvest of 
food?  You might notice that the   Willow seed is small and wind blow.  
I have only seen germination on bare moist ground.  Most of my local 
species don't sucker strongly from rhizomes.  I was imagining fairly 
well behaved stools.  I like hardwood poles over bamboo because the 
bamboo is so slick that garden climbers slide off.  Other coppice 
species adapted to seasonally saturated soils are welcome if you have 
any suggestions.  I have planted some Fraxinus latifolia and will see 
its second year growth, but I have found it finicky in previous plantings.

>Also plant on giving some distance from the food stuff or your going to have willow everywhere in
>no time. Invasive applies to this plant
There are hundreds of willow species, with different growth rates and 
habits.  Growing the willow as coppice with some competing canopy might 
encourage straight vertical growth better for my purposes.  I was 
proposing a mosaic not an intercrop.  I agree that a blueberry willow 
intercrop would be silly.

> rather than to Juncus e. and I. psuedoacorus which are
>only successful under very prescribed circumstances.**
I guess you could call yellow flag opportunitistic?  But I don't feel a 
need to plant more of it, It'll make good starvation food if you don't 
mind a little heavy metal loading.
*Yellow flag iris, /Iris pseudoacorus/
*(Washington State Class C Noxious Weed)
This emergent wetland plant with showy yellow flowers quickly spreads 
through underground rhizomes and rhizome fragments. It naturalizes along 
streams, canals, and shorelines in Washington, particularly near 
developed areas. It outcompetes native wetland plants along the 
shoreline and severely reduces water flow.
Iris pseudacorusis a wetland plant that is especially showy during its 
short blooming period. This good-looking plant has been transplanted 
into well-watered gardens all over the world and has widely escaped; it 
is also used in sewage treatment, and is known to be able to remove 
metals from wastewaters. Like cat-tails, yellow iris colonizes into 
large numbers, forming very dense monotypic stands, outcompeting other 
In some regions it has escaped from cultivation to establish itself as 
an invasive <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasive_species> aquatic 
plant <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_plant> which can create 
dense, monotypic stands that outcompete other plants in the ecosystem. 
Where it is invasive, it is tough to remove on a large scale. Even 
ploughing the rhizomes is often ineffective, and its eradication is 
highly unlikely. It has been banned in some areas but is still widely 
sold in others for use in gardens, and it will continue to be planted by 
gardeners unaware of or unconcerned with its invasive potential.

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