Did you know you can rent out a fruit tree from an organic farmer?

A new trend beginning surface in the organic eating world is fruit tree rental programs being offered by local organic orchards. This is a great way to get organic fruit when you don’t have to time or space to grow tress at your home, or if you’re renting and can’t plant your own. It’s also a great way to save money on some fresh organic fruit!  According to momsplans.com

Renting one apple tree costs $55, and depending on the harvest, we could walk away with anywhere from 80 to 120 pounds of apples.  That works out to 68 cents to 45 cents per pound for organic apples!”

Here’s an excerpt from Earth First Farms‘ Rent-A-Tree FAQ page:

-Yield varies based on the tree, the year, and the weather, among other factors. We usually expect to harvest 2 or 3 bushels of apples from each tree in an average year. At about 40 pounds per bushel, that means 80 to 120 pounds of apples. In a bumper year, you may harvest up to five bushels from a single tree.

-Expect about 60% of your tree’s apples to be ready for fresh eating, and about 40% that you will want to juice, sauce, or make into pie filling.

-For more information about individual varieties, read our varietal descriptions.

-There are no guarantees as to picking dates, though we can give you estimates based on previous years. We test your apples as they begin to ripen, and when the sugar content shows that they are ready to pick, we let you know immediately.  We try to give you a week’s notice to plan a trip.

-All the apples from your tree can be picked in one trip to the farm.
The cost to rent a tree for the year is $55.

Renting a tree takes many of the limitations to living in the city out of the picture. Most of the work and maintenance will be done by the farmers who own the trees, while you get to reap the rewards of the harvest!

This new trend is still fairly unknown, however word travels quickly once people start to discover this great idea. One Cherry orchard in England has already rented out all of their trees through 2015 after a news story was doneabout their farm.

“Dallaway launched Rentacherrytree in 2008, and found renters for 300 trees almost immediately. By the following year he had let 500 trees, and this year his whole orchard is taken (bar the 500 trees he keeps aside to supply local markets and farm shops). Those who rent a cherry tree can come and see it in full bloom each spring, picnic in a field among the blossom, and then return in the summer to pick the fruit. They also receive a bi-monthly newsletter and are invited to a hog roast during the picking, and each September they can renew their option for the following year. (Roughly 500 trees become available again each September, so now is the time to join the waiting list for 2014.)”

Most orchards will keep you up to date via email about the progress of the tree you rented. Depending on the type of agreement you choose, you may be able to go and pick the fruit from your tree when it is ready for harvest or choose to have the fruit picked and shipped to you.

Find out if any farmers near you have and tree rentals or leasing programs. If they don’t, then talk to them about it! It’s a win for the farmer who is able to basically pre-sell his produce, and the consumer which will get awesome organic fruit at below wholesale prices.


Finding gold in gum trees an old prospectors’ trick – ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A breakthrough in using gum trees as a way to discover gold deposits has been compared to the practices of old time prospectors.

The CSIRO has found minute traces of gold in the living tissue of eucalypts near Kalgoorlie-Boulder in Western Australia.

The gold has been brought up from as far as 30 to 50 metres below the ground by the massive tap roots of the trees in search of water.

Previously, research into so-called bio-prospecting had been confined to laboratory conditions and after processing of the tree material.

Dr Melvin Lintern, from the Earth Sciences Division at the CSIRO, says finding the gold particles in the leaves and bark of the gum trees is a world first.

“For a long time we’ve been able to collect leaves from the site and then send them off to a laboratory to get them analysed, so that’s not particularly novel.

“Where we’ve done some groundbreaking research is to actually locate the gold in living tissue.

“We weren’t expecting this at all. To actually see the gold particles in the leaves is quite a Eureka moment for us.

“These trees are sort of telling us what’s going on below the ground, and the eucalypts and acacia trees that we did the research on appear to be bring up the gold from a remarkable 30-metre depth.”

Once commercially applied, using tree specimens to identify possible mineral deposits could conceivably slash the costs of multi-million dollar drilling and exploration programs.

The old timer prospectors around Kalgoorlie would say ‘oh there’s blackbutt trees around that area therefore it’s prospective for gold’.

Simon Coxhell, Geologist

Consultant geologist Simon Coxhell agrees this development in bio-prospecting could be an adjunct to normal prospective practices.

“It may be a way of defining initial exploration targets and it is quite valid.”

Mr Coxhell has spent many years exploring in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region and he says the geology in the area, literally the rocks, is generally of the laterite kind.

That means they’re ancient and highly weathered.

And he believes that’s why the gum trees there are able to show traces of gold and that was recognised by the early pioneers.

“The old timer prospectors around Kalgoorlie would say ‘oh, there’s blackbutt trees around that area, therefore it’s prospective for gold’.

“Those eucalypts they tend to grow in areas of reasonably deep weathering, in areas of lots of mafic volcanic rock, that’s the greenstone belt, which typically gold mineralisation is associated with.”

After more than a century of gold mining, much of Australia‘s easy to access reserves have been mined out and explorers and miners are being forced to go far deeper for new finds.

This breakthrough has the potential to more easily identify prospective areas at depth.

Chernobyl’s legacy recorded in trees.

Exposure to radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl accident had a lasting negative legacy on the area’s trees, a study has suggested.

Researchers said the worst effects were recorded in the “first few years” but surviving trees were left vulnerable to environmental stress, such as drought.


They added that young trees appeared to be particularly affected.

Writing in the journal Trees, the team said it was the first study to look at the impact at a landscape scale.

“Our field results were consistent with previous findings that were based on much smaller sample sizes,” explained co-author Tim Mousseau from the University of South Carolina, US.

“They are also consistent with the many reports of genetic impacts to these trees,” he told BBC News.

“Many of the trees show highly abnormal growth forms reflecting the effects of mutations and cell death resulting from radiation exposure.”

Prof Mousseau, who has been carrying out field studies since 1999 within the 30km (19-mile) exclusion zone around the site of the 1986 explosion, said it was the first time that a study of this scale – involving more than 100 Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris) at 12 sites – had been conducted.

“There was one similar study conducted before but it only looked at a total of nine trees and was mainly interested in wood structure, not growth,” he said.

“Another study was performed in the 1950s but it was for a different tree in the US and it used a single external gamma source suspended above the ground to show growth effects for a very limited number of trees.”

For this study, the team took core samples from Scots pine trees for a number of reasons, such as the species is found across Europe and well dispersed within the Chernobyl region.

“They are also a favourite for silviculture and have enormous economic value,” Prof Mousseau added.

“Also, based on past work and our own observations, they appeared to be a good target for radioecology as they showed signs of being impacted by the fallout.

“In fact, one of the first ecological observations at Chernobyl was the death of the so-called red forest: a stand of these pines which very quickly died and turned red following the disaster.”

Scots pines’ tree rings were also easier to read than other species, such as birch, found in the study area, he explained.

Prof Mousseau and his team hope to follow up this study by carrying out similar work in the Fukushima region in Japan, where logging also had considerable economic importance and pine trees were widely dispersed.

“Based on our limited field observations in the most contaminated regions of Fukushima prefecture, there did not appear to be a major die off as seen in Chernobyl for Scots pines,” he said.

“However, anecdotally, we have noticed significant die off of growing tips and branches in some areas that suggests that there could be impacts on growth.

“This is worth further investigation.”

Source: BBC





World’s Oldest Trees Dying At Alarming Rate


According to a disturbing new report, the world’s oldest and largest trees may be dying off — and fast.
The study determined that trees between 100 and 300 years old are perishing “en masse” because of a deadly combination of large destructive events like forest fires, and other, more incremental factors like drought, high temperatures, logging and insect attack. The steady increase in threats means old trees are dying at 10 times their normal rate, researchers concluded. Their study appears in the Dec. 7 issue of the journal Science.

“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” explained lead author David B. Lindenmayer, of Australian National University, in a release. “Large old trees are critical in many natural and human-dominated environments.”

The scientists originally discovered a “very, very disturbing trend” while inspecting Swedish forestry records from the 1860s, then realized forests in Australia, California’s Yosemite National Park, the African Savannah, Brazilian rainforests, and other regions of Europe had also suffered large losses of old trees.

Critically, “Big, old trees are not just enlarged young trees,” Jerry F. Franklin of the University of Washington, another of the study’s authors, told the New York Times. “Old trees have idiosyncratic features — a different canopy, different branch systems, a lot of cavities, thicker bark and more heartwood. They provide a lot more habitat and niches.”

They also capture and store significant amounts of carbon, notes The Telegraph, and recycle surrounding soil nutrients, which in turn encourages new growth.

Scientists warn that unless an urgent “world-wide investigation” can assess the loss and create conservation programs with time-frames that span centuries, the world’s oldest trees are gravely imperiled.


Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com