Jay Hayes wrote: I am also planting many long lived nut trees, hickories, pecans, walnuts, and chestnuts in single tree gaps in closed canopy forests on my land that I fully intend to care for until they reach canopy dominance.
How is this working? I'm afraid to try this, even in our 30-50% thinned maple forest (selectively logged for birch and maple 15 yrs ago) . Shade-tolerant maple saplings and fierce understory shrubs like hazelnuts would seem destined to outcompete the introduced nuts unless you were pretty serious about that care.
We, too, are only a few years into this, and very much appreciate these forums. Thanks, all.
Robin Hones wrote:I had the good fortune to tour Martin Crawford's forest garden yesterday. One technique he uses that is relevant to this discussion is that his emergent layer is mostly n-fixing trees (Italian alders) which are then limbed up to the the extent of a telescopic lopper (about 20'?) allowing a lot of light to come into the lower layers. This means that the tallest trees in the system are support species which fits well because of course he doesnt need to climb up to get their products, and also through this limbing system they have a minimized impact on the light levels at canopy level ( mostly 15-25' in his case I would guess).
Robin Hones wrote:The Italian Alders are dotted about the system. At least two sides of his 2 acre site are protected by pre-existing conifers. I will post photos when I get them downloaded off the camera.
Jay Hayes wrote:Since un-managed "forests" have widely varying canopy densities depending on geographic location, rainfall, elevation, soil type, overstory species composition, and the main driver of non-anthropogenic disturbance (the natural cause of succession), it makes sense that food "forests" would have an equally diverse composition. In a "forest" the two most "productive" life stages(in temperate, even-aged forests and plantations), from a biomass production stand point, are often considered the "establishment phase" (think the mad flush of vegetation post clear-cut), and the time where the stand is fully stocked with very large "mature" trees just prior to what folks might call the "old growth phase". The least productive time is considered the "stem exclusion" phase where trees are closed canopy but small and competing so heavily for light, water, and nutrients, that there is essentially no mid or under story layer at all. There are of course many better ways to judge productivity and I understand that such a myopic view will be off putting to some. That said, I am very interested in trying to mimic natural forest succession patterns but inserting food crops into the mix.