Agroforestry in Action

Agroforestry is a technique which is being promoted by those advocating more sustainable​ ​farming systems. The basic idea is​ ​planting trees and getting the spacing right so that you can​ ​use the space between. At scale the simplest way of managing this is to plant​ ​in lines. The​ ​species selection in these lines can be more targeted at functions; for example they could be​ ​fruit or nut trees, trees which are​ ​edible for livestock, or for timber. The strip of land between​ ​each line of trees can then be used either to grow a crop or grow grass which can be grazed.​ ​The trees are planted small and so in early years the gap between the trees is the yielding part​ ​of the system. As the trees grow and mature they become the primary crop. Two years ago we planted an area as a test patch for which species worked well here. The​ ​layout was planned as a food forest in​ ​development. A food forest is less structured than​ ​agroforestry; it is looking to make use of a wider variety of plants to mimic a forest​ ​structure in​ ​making use of light at different levels from the ground. The​ ​experience of setting up the food​ ​forest has shown that when farming at a larger scale, something of that complexity has higher​ ​labour​ ​requirements to manage and a greater loss of yield in early years. It​ ​wouldn’t be as​ ​worthwhile to plant a really large area of land in that way, compared to an agroforestry system. Last spring we made a start at planting out our initial agroforestry​ ​system. We planted a variety​ ​of fruit and timber trees in lines, following the natural contours of the field. Over the course of​ ​last summer we rotated our rams on the paddocks which were formed between each row. We​ ​even added a golf course built into the system so that we would have something to do in​ ​lockdown. We have just planted an additional 40 fruit trees, many of which are perry pears​ ​grown from grafts taken from our genetically unique to the farm varieties (https://www.threepools.co.uk/single-post/2019/01/14/heritage-fruit-conservation). Where many agroforestry systems are planted as single species we have used our​ ​understanding of permaculture principles to diversify our planting arrangement. We have used​ ​multiple varieties of each fruit species, fodder trees and timber species; diversity reduces the​ ​risk of damage from pests and can aid pollination. We have also​ ​included an area of willow on​ ​the wettest patch of ground. This willow can then be coppiced and used as mulch for the fruit​ ​trees. The species of willow selected were those with the highest salicylic acid. As the wood​ ​breaks down the vapours released by high salicylic acid containing material​ ​reduces rust and​ ​mildew problems in fruit. Plus, when fed to livestock, willow has anthelmintic properties​ ​(wormer). Back in 2019 we as a team visited Tim Dowdes, a Nuffield scholar and​ ​dairy farmer, where we​ ​were able to observe his test agroforestry area​ ​he has planted as part of his dairy system. He is​ ​using willow,​ ​sycamore and hornbeam for their fodder quality. He was using a​ ​permanent​ ​electric fence to protect the trees from the cows; when the​ ​trees were established he would​ ​remove the fence and allow the cows to directly browse the trees. He had also planted walnut​ ​trees around his milking parlour on the theory that walnuts repel flies. It takes a number of years for trees to mature and produce a yield. So, ​i​n theory, we could take​ ​the agroforestry idea further. The trees have a 5-7.5 metre spacing along a line; to allow space​ ​for them once mature, but not create a closed canopy which could provide too much shade.​ ​Knowing that they will take 5+ years for the fruit trees to reach a​ ​significant size and start fruiting​ ​we can fill in the gaps using soft fruit ​ ​bushes (red / white / black currant, gooseberries etc).​ ​These will be productive immediately, and their productivity will naturally be reducing as the​ ​trees reach heights where they will begin to shade the bushes. Within the lines we have​ ​included timber trees, these will take​ ​significantly longer to reach a height at which they could be​ ​harvested;​ ​their final size will be approaching a height where they begin to shade​ ​the fruit trees. If you’re thinking of planting and you’re interested in fruit trees, we​ ​would recommend Tom the​ ​Apple Man (@Tomtheappleman ). Having​ ​visited a number of potential growers, he clearly​ ​showed an understanding, and actual implementation of permaculture principles.​ ​He also has a​ ​wide variety of heritage varieties.




Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Google+ Social Icon

Follow Us On Social Media  

Terms & Conditions: This website is owned and operated by Three Pools. These Terms set forth the terms and conditions under which you may use our website and services as offered by us. This website offers visitors to review our business vision, buy tickets for events and buy our products. By accessing or using the website of our service, you approve that you have read, understood, and agree to be bound by these Terms.We may permanently or temporarily terminate or suspend access to the services without notice and liability for any reason, or for no reason.The Service and all materials therein or transferred thereby, including, without limitation, software, images, text, graphics, logos, patents, trademarks, service marks, copyrights, photographs, audio, videos, music and all Intellectual Property Rights related thereto, are the exclusive property of Three Pools. Except as explicitly provided herein, nothing in these Terms shall be deemed to create a license in or under any such Intellectual Property Rights, and you agree not to sell, license, rent, modify, distribute, copy, reproduce, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, publish, adapt, edit or create derivative works thereof.

Returns: When buying an item, you agree that: (i) you are responsible for reading the full item listing before making a commitment to buy it: (ii) you enter into a legally binding contract to purchase an item when you commit to buy an item and you complete the check-out payment process.For any undamaged product, simply return it with its included accessories and packaging along with the original receipt (or gift receipt) within 14 days of the date you receive the product, and we will exchange it or offer a refund based upon the original payment method. In addition, please note the following: (i) Products can be returned only in the country in which they were originally purchased.We may, without prior notice, change the services; stop providing the services or any features of the services we offer; or create limits for the services.

 

Shipping: Our fulfillment is carried out by ourselves and we post using the Royal mail. We will ship out all products within 5 days of order. 

Privacy Policy: We receive, collect and store any information you enter on our website or provide us in any other way. In addition, we collect the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Internet; login; e-mail address; password; computer and connection information and purchase history. We may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, length of visits to certain pages, page interaction information, and methods used to browse away from the page. We also collect personally identifiable information (including name, email, password, communications); payment details (including credit card information), comments, feedback, product reviews, recommendations, and personal profile.Our company is hosted on the Wix.com platform. Wix.com provides us with the online platform that allows us to sell our products and services to you. Your data may be stored through Wix.com’s data storage, databases and the general Wix.com applications. They store your data on secure servers behind a firewall.  /Non of our tickets sold include the sale of alcohol. We will check the age of our event attendees at the bar of all of our events.