Trees are generally pretty great. They provide oxygen, privacy, and a nice shady spot to take a nap after a hard morning of work. However, they also provide wood and take up valuable growing and grazing land. Is there a reason to keep trees around on your property after you start living off the grid?
However, if you want to make the most of your land while still keeping all the benefits that trees provide, you simply need to plant trees that are actually useful.
When you start living off the grid, you will find that while you can grow vegetables and raise livestock, a lot of fruits are typically limited to trees. Apples stand as one of the most versatile fruits out there. Not only are they great in pies and right off the branch, you can also turn them into apple cider and apple cider vinegar, the latter is great for preserving other food. Additionally, apple trees produce beautiful white or light pink blossoms in the spring and apple wood is excellent for imparting flavor to smoked meat.
Willows are thirsty trees, and as such, only really grow well near a source of abundant water. However, with wet wood and no fruit-producing ability, they seem like they are not a good choice for your off the grid home. Willow trees actually provide a very valuable resource in their bark. The inner bark of a willow tree contains a substance called salicin, a chemical compound that is the active ingredient in aspirin. Used by both the Chinese and Native Americans as a pain reliever and fever reducer, having a willow tree down by your water source can literally be a life saver.
The mulberry tree is a messy tree if you don’t harvest it, but it is a great fruit producer. The mulberry tree’s little berries are often the first fruit of the year, ripening throughout June. These little berries, depending on how deep purple in color they are, range from sweet to semi-sweet. They make for excellent jams, syrups, and are great to eat as they are. As you will notice while harvesting, they are also a powerful staining berry, making their juice a good dye if need be.
Unfortunately, because the mulberry comes in so early, you need to race your local birds in getting the ripe berries. However, if you plant near your chicken coop, the berries that drop to the ground are a great treat for your hens.
Unfortunately, being a slow growing tree, you won’t be reaping benefits from a freshly-planted oak tree any time soon. However, if you manage to land property with an oak forest when picking a spot for your off the grid home, you have found a little cash cow. Oak trees are some of the best firewood out there. They burn hot and long, and while you need to sustainably harvest it, oak firewood can also be a source of income if you have a lot of trees on your property.
Additionally, oak trees also produce a vastly underrated food source – acorns. Acorns, while incredibly bitter, are a good source of protein and calories from fat. If you know how to process them, they can be used as flours or used as nutmeats. Gathering acorns in the fall (and fighting squirrels for them) can be a good way to supplement your diet in the colder months.
Trees can be an excellent way to make efficient use of your off the grid land, but they are definitely not the only thing you will need. With 20,000 products, emergency supplies, and a source of long-term food supplies to help you until your first crops come in, the Survival Association can help you free yourself from the grid faster so you can start living on your own merits. Contact us today to learn about the benefits we can provide.
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