Planting mast orchards are a great way to attract and hold more wildlife, and Chestnut Hill Outdoors offers a variety of hard mast species to help landowners widen that window. Planting several different species not only expands the availability of nutritious food over a longer period, but it also allows more options for mast orchard locations. Having a variety also improves pollination and mast production. It’s what the folks at Chestnut Hill Outdoors call dirt wisdom.
For example, Shumard oaks are drought tolerant and grow best in well-drained soils. Alternately, Nuttall oaks are much more tolerant of poorly drained soils – even areas that experience intermittent flooding during the dormant season – but can also withstand moderate drought. Swamp white oaks also like to put down roots in moist soil but drop their acorns earlier in the fall. Swamp chestnut oaks thrive in slightly drier soils, making them a good option for the edge between drier arable ground and bottomland that’s too wet to till and plant. Sawtooth oaks are a favorite among mast orchardists as they mature quickly, produce prolific crops up to 100 lbs/tree at maturity as early as September and do well in drier soils.