Brand newbie here - only just posted my 'hello'.
We have around 3 and a half acres of land. Most of it is grass, there are a few big, old trees, and an orchard with around 20 fruit trees - not sure yet how well they are going to do as we only moved on April Fools day. Part of the land is currently growing wheat, and we'll only be able to access it once the farmer has harvested his crop - around July, I think.
Part of the grass is very rough, very weedy, and looks (to my inexperienced eye) like it will be a nightmare to make it into grass that can be walked on barefoot or played on. So we'd like to put quite a few groups of trees in here.
I'm thinking the farmer's field bit would be a good place to plant 'proper' grass seed mixed with wildflowers, and go for a wildflower meadow type area, perhaps with a few groups of trees there too.
There is one area of grass which is better than the rest, and that's where we've put the kids toys, the table and chairs, that kind of thing.
Sorry - I'm getting to the point of this post a long way round, but I wanted to lay out the setup. So ... we're soon having a big woodburner put in, and would like to start growing some wood so that in years to come we might have a chance of at least partially stocking it.
I think clumps of trees would work better for us rather than a designated plantation or rows of trees. And perhaps the main amount to be on the very rough weedy thistly grass. It's important to us that we create lttile woody habitats here and there in the garden, that the kids and dog can enjoy, and that encourage new kinds of wildlife into the garden. At the moment the land feels quite open and featureless, not a place that entices you to explore or wander.
At the moment we are just grabbing whatever tree seedlings we can beg, borrow, or find, and they are mostly sitting in pots waiting to go in: so far some hazel, a couple of oak, some lime, some horse chestnuts, some beech ... and we're planning to plonk them in in mixed groups.
I've gathered that some ash would be good for firewood, and so if we buy any trees, I guess ash would be the first choice, and perhaps some fast-growing willow to give us *something* to harvest before 8 years or so. My (vague!) plan then is that, in a couple of years we might coppice some of the trees that have any kind of reasonable growth, to encourage more shoots to come up for later years, when we can really expect some useful wood. I'm kind of assuming that the different trees will show 'reasonable growth' at different rates (and I have to admit I don't know what that will look like but I'm hoping I'll know it when I see it!) and so there will be a natural kind of 'rotation', rather than needing to work it out scientifically.
So ... is it O.K to just plant them in mixed groups? What kind of spacings would work? Should I put a lot of thought into which tree goes next to which, or just follow my fancy?!
(I know oak doesn't coppice well, so the two or three oaks I plant would just grow normally, rather than be destined for firewood)
If anyone has any thoughts on all this they'd be much appreciated.
thanks in advance