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A basic question of sun light in the food forest

 
Gilad Fisher
Posts: 20
Location: Rehovot, Israel
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Hello all.
Right now Im trying to plan 2 food forests.
One is kind of small, about 70m^2 and one is bigger, about 250m^2.
As O learned, the methodes are the same no matter the size.

So there is the 7 layers of the forest:
1. The tallest trees.
2. Smaller trees.
3. Bushes.
4. Herbs and small plants.
5. Plants that grow horizontly.
6. Root.
7. Climbers.

So here is my qustion:
Most tall and small trees need full sun light.
The thing Im just cant get is how the small trees and the bushes get the sun light they need if the higer plants block of the sun?

Thank you all!
 
Dan Boone
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a) ~39" rain/year
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The permaculture design books and study materials go on for endless chapters with detailed solutions to this basic problem, complete with geometry and equations. A ruthless condensation of that tedious wisdom -- most of which I confess I do not yet understand -- seems to boil down to:

1) Edges. Shape your forest patches so that light comes in from the exterior edges or in through planned clearings.

2) Tree spacing. A mature wild forest has an interlocked canopy that admits very little sun. You'll want to plant your trees further apart than that.

3) Choice of canopy trees. Some trees let in more sunshine between the leaves than others.

4) Shade tolerance in the understory plants. Plants lower in the layers need to be chosen for their ability to tolerate less than full sunshine.

Hope this helps!
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1311
Location: Central New Jersey
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The tall trees take care of themselves on the sunlight issue. Shorter trees come in a couple of varieties - early succession type stuff that wants lots of sun and dies well at reclaiming open ground for forests, and the types that are adapted to growing under the canopy of the taller trees.

When planning out a food forest, you want to have in mind which kind ofnshorter trees you are working with and where you are planning to place them. If they need lots of sun, you probably want them on the edges. If they are understory trees by nature, then they should be fine in the interior.

There are also considerations for how dense is the shade from your overstory trees. Some are much more, or less, effective at blocking sunlight.

Plotting sun angles, figuring out placement to manage where how much shade falls and which plants to position in which shade levels. All parts of the puzzle of designing a food forest.

But, when it comes to the understory trees, you want to pick trees that like those shaded conditions. There definitely are such trees. Pawpaw leaps to mind, the young trees can be killed off by too much sun.
 
Gilad Fisher
Posts: 20
Location: Rehovot, Israel
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Dan Boone wrote:The permaculture design books and study materials go on for endless chapters with detailed solutions to this basic problem, complete with geometry and equations. A ruthless condensation of that tedious wisdom -- most of which I confess I do not yet understand -- seems to boil down to:

1) Edges. Shape your forest patches so that light comes in from the exterior edges or in through planned clearings.

2) Tree spacing. A mature wild forest has an interlocked canopy that admits very little sun. You'll want to plant your trees further apart than that.

3) Choice of canopy trees. Some trees let in more sunshine between the leaves than others.

4) Shade tolerance in the understory plants. Plants lower in the layers need to be chosen for their ability to tolerate less than full sunshine.

Hope this helps!


Thank you for answering. I have some qustions about what you said:
A. I have some good books about permaculture, these are what I have:
1. 1978 Fukuoka- The One Straw Revolution
2. 1988 Mollison- Permaculture, A Designers' Manual Bill Mollison
3. 1992 Bell- The Permaculture Way, Practical Steps to Create a Self Sustaining World
4. 2001 Hemenway- gaia's garden, A Guide to Home Scale Permaculture

I still havent read all of them. If you have one of them, will you mind telling me on what page/ section they talk about the sunlight in food forest design?

B. about the tree canopy: so would you say that if I have a tree with a maximum canopy of 4 meters, I should plant other trees 5 meters from him?

C. Do you have any data base of some resourse I can learn and see what trees give more of less shade?


Peter Ellis wrote:The tall trees take care of themselves on the sunlight issue. Shorter trees come in a couple of varieties - early succession type stuff that wants lots of sun and dies well at reclaiming open ground for forests, and the types that are adapted to growing under the canopy of the taller trees.

When planning out a food forest, you want to have in mind which kind ofnshorter trees you are working with and where you are planning to place them. If they need lots of sun, you probably want them on the edges. If they are understory trees by nature, then they should be fine in the interior.

There are also considerations for how dense is the shade from your overstory trees. Some are much more, or less, effective at blocking sunlight.

Plotting sun angles, figuring out placement to manage where how much shade falls and which plants to position in which shade levels. All parts of the puzzle of designing a food forest.

But, when it comes to the understory trees, you want to pick trees that like those shaded conditions. There definitely are such trees. Pawpaw leaps to mind, the young trees can be killed off by too much sun.



Thank you for reapling as well.
I have some qustions for you as well:
A. Do you know of any data base or resourses that I can learn witch trees are under-canopy trees in nature?

B. I ask you qustion number C I askedDan Boone.


Thank you guys!
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1311
Location: Central New Jersey
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Let me suggest Plants for a Future www.pfaf.com

Read the books you have and you will find that your questions are addressed by the authors, each with their own observations and experiences.
 
Aljaz Plankl
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You need to take into consideration your climate and soil and... don't just go for the common guidelines. Also design of a small forest garden can be done without tall trees in other words, canopy of a small forest garden can be in a form of dwarf small trees.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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I would reiterate the above poster's comment about climate and soil. As I recall the O.P. is in Israel, which is mostly in a Mediterranean, if not drier, climate zone. (as am I here in CA, USA) A multi-layered, closed canopy forest is in fact quite rare in this type of climate, except in riparian niches and at high altitude (both situations increasing the available moisture. In general a permaculture system seeks to mimic the typical mature ecosystem of the region. This, in my climate and similar climates, is often scattered trees on grassland, with patches of underbrush in particular niches. To encourage denser vegetation in this climate will not only require more irrigation, but will also present an increased fire danger if it does dry out.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1311
Location: Central New Jersey
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The OP appears to be operating from a misunderstanding about the sun requirements of plants.
That is not a characteristic of a climate, but a misapprehension of the needs of plants.
Although it is certainly true that today that region is arid, seriously so, it is also known that the modern condition is largely man-made desertification.
Lawton's work in the Dead Sea has demonstrated how to go about restoring a sort of ecology you might expect in a wetter climate in that region.
 
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