PO: Hazelnut trees for food.
If you are planning for Peak Oil, food and shelter are the first serious concerns.
Hazelnut trees produce hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are reasonably edible raw, can be preserved with due care, and hazelnut trees are pretty productive. For the ground occupied, hazelnuts can be the most food produced of any food crop.
You can eat the nuts, chop them into stews, vegetable dishes, and ground to an oil-rich meal. Once shelled, the meats need to be frozen or used right away, or the oils begin oxidizing and spoilage sets in.
If you are considering planting trees on your property, remember the common nuts such as hazelnuts, pecans (in the south) or walnuts (in the north), even acorns, as well as the fruit trees.
Pruning mature trees can produce kindling and small firewood pieces while maintaining the health of the tree. Managing shuckworms and other parasites can be as simple as keeping windfalls picked up. Wormy or damaged fruits from nut trees can be used for livestock feed – hogs and cows may need to be shown that nuts are edible, but pecans can provide at least part of the feed for either.
Instead of a flowering tree or shade tree, consider nut trees and fruit trees. In exposed areas, investigate how to use trees and shrubs for windbreaks. A windbreak can block wind, partially, to reduce heat loss to wind and require less heating in the winter. A deliberate row of trees can help provide habitat for birds and other ecological niches – for managing pest insects and weed seeds, as well as other benefits.
Your county extension office can provide information about windbreaks, managing health of fruit and nut trees, and help identify types of trees that grow well in your area. If you look at pecan trees, consider whether you want native (smaller, tougher shell, more resistant to worms) or hybrid types.
As you consider your post-peak-oil community, consider skills such as someone interested in pruning trees for tree health and grafting trees to splice productive tree types onto hardy rootstock.
Peak oil – not just about nuts. Ahem.