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Questions re "The Permanent Orchard -- Beyond Organic" by Stefan Sobkowiak

 
Cate Mawson
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What a wonderful DVD you have made – I downloaded the digital version and watched it Mon. night.
I have a few questions …
1) Re horizontal wires -- Why are there horizontal wires near the “NAP” trees? How many are there (I thought I saw 3), how far apart vertically are they spaced and what gauge of wire?
2) Re Honey locust trees (ie the “N” in “NAP”) – how is the height controlled from shading everything around it? Is the only “pruning” done by placing the wire hooks on it to make the branches go downwards, are they coppiced at all, …. ? My honey locusts are over 40 ft high in my backyard! J
3) Re planting shrubs, herbs, etc – when can you plant the supporting shrubs, etc -- is there an approx height you wait for the “NAP” trees to reach first?
4) Re “wire hook pruning” – is there an approx age or height or branch diameter when this is started?
5) How long are your tree rows? Is there any optimum length?
I am looking forward to making a food forest in the near future. Thanks so much for any answers and guidance you can provide.
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
permaculture orchardist
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Cate Mawson wrote:What a wonderful DVD you have made – I downloaded the digital version and watched it Mon. night.
I have a few questions …
1) Re horizontal wires -- Why are there horizontal wires near the “NAP” trees? How many are there (I thought I saw 3), how far apart vertically are they spaced and what gauge of wire?
2) Re Honey locust trees (ie the “N” in “NAP”) – how is the height controlled from shading everything around it? Is the only “pruning” done by placing the wire hooks on it to make the branches go downwards, are they coppiced at all, …. ? My honey locusts are over 40 ft high in my backyard! J
3) Re planting shrubs, herbs, etc – when can you plant the supporting shrubs, etc -- is there an approx height you wait for the “NAP” trees to reach first?
4) Re “wire hook pruning” – is there an approx age or height or branch diameter when this is started?
5) How long are your tree rows? Is there any optimum length?
I am looking forward to making a food forest in the near future. Thanks so much for any answers and guidance you can provide.

Good questions Cate and you have a keen eye.
1) The wires are a remnant of the old orchard, we kept first to give us our planting line. Now we have been raising them above the fruit tree canopy by attaching them to the taller honey locust (with fencing insulators and one screw). On the now high wire we attach 1/2" irrigation pipe with mist nozzles to serve double duty as frost protection and to apply our whey spray and we could also use aerobic compost tea and seaweed. I can't wait for the system to be finished so spraying will take 5 minutes per orchard block (1-1.5 acres each). Wire guage? 12 or 10 not sure but heavy duty. So when finished there will only be one wire 12-15' in the air.
2) height control by training the tops, look closely in the film there are a few shots showing the 'bent over' tops. Plus we train the branches very downward. Yes trees are like clay in the hand of a potter. You can make them do whatever you want (within reason of time invested), just look at Bonsai.
3) shrubs: we planted most shrubs after the trees but can put everything in in one go if the area is small enough. Our goal is to fully plant out (trees, shrubs, vines and herbs) 1/2 acre per day in the future. It's the next step needed to wider commercial adoption. No you can add shrubs at any tree height.
4) 'hook' training of branches: we start with the bottom half of the tree 2-3 year after planting and the top half when the tree is mature and reached the desired height. The branch must still be able to bend without breaking. Best time is July as it is past the peak season. Relax you will break branches, but you will get the 'feel' of each tree type and how much it can bend.
5) Tree rows are 300-480'. Should have a passage every 100-150' to work best especially for animal pens, we do not have them but it would be better.
Best success on your project, post your pics and progress over the years on our film website forum (www.permacultureorchard.com)
 
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