Around here we have very often the discussion weather one should plant natives or grow edibles.
While you can decide that for your own garden, there are public spaces to be planted too.
It is very easy to convince the city council to plant natives or give the plants for a planting action,
it is very difficult to convince planting edible plants. Bushcare is everywhere and they want natives only.
Appletrees are a pest because birds spread the seeds. Fruit trees generally do make bigger fruit eating birds move in
at the expense of smaller birds. Olives are spread by birds and so on.
The trucks, the spraying and packaging of fruit never seems to be an argument, because they say that people can build
bird protected orchards in their gardens.
Were is the bigger environmental impact?
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
posted 5 years ago
i think it isn't one or the other. I live in a forest that i almost all native plants and it is one of the last bishop pine forests left. I am very mindful of what I plant and where I plant it and also I like to look at what native plants are also food plants and have lots of them. This is a fabulous place to grow berries and I adore berries so I am growing lots of different berries most of which are native here. I also have none native fruit trees. pomegranate and apple trees and a weeping mullberry tree to turn into a children's living play house as it grows. I like to plant food plants that would not work here permanently that if I leave the deer will probably eat up and the native plants can move back in. and the more invasive species like Jerusalem artichokes I will probably grow in containers or if I grow them in the ground I will choose a variety that does not spread much. for public spaces many people here feel the same as where you live but in San Francisco there is a gorilla grafting movement going on to graft fruit tree branches onto many of the city trees and there is a public park in San Jose that is an edible food forest!
most of the parks here without fruit trees still have bigger birds like crows hanging out waiting for people to drop food they bring in for picnics or children have as snacks.
When I took Geoff Lawton's online PDC last year, my final design project was my neighborhood. I came to look at the 160 acres of my 'hood as a unit. When I did this, I realized that at least in my extremely hot and dry climate, food-producing trees in public spaces were not always the best choices. Why? Because they often require more maintenance or resources (water, pruning, protection from superheated environments such as roadways, replacement) than native trees. Also, in my climate, many fruit trees need additional water and by being in Zone 1, they can tap into greywater sources (laundry, shower/tub, sink) and are close to many opportunities to harvest additional rainfall off impervious surfaces such as roofs, patios and driveways.
In terms of policy and cities getting on board with edible trees in public spaces - therein lies the challenge. One must make a case and take it to the city. Usually one has to do some experimenting to make sure the idea is sound. Sometimes the efforts are guerilla efforts (like those in SF). For example, we probably would not be where we are today in terms of stormwater harvesting practices along public right-of-ways if it hadn't been for Brad Lancaster and his brother, Rod, creating some guerilla curbcuts and infiltration basins. Now, 15 years later, that idea has proven so successful that whole neighborhoods in Tucson, Arizona employ a variety water harvesting features, from traffic slowing chicanes and roundabouts to streetside curbcuts and basins. Tucson has become the first desert city to achieve the coveted "Emerald City" award. And now that Tucson has approved these Green Infrastructure (GI) methods, it can (and IS) spread to other cities like Phoenix where I live.
But it all started with a series of experiments. And it took root because of the concerted work of many people over a number of years. Cities rarely pay attention to something that is not tried and tested.
Subtropical desert (Köppen: BWh)
Elevation: 1090 ft Annual rainfall: 7"
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