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High density tree planting

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  • Larry Haftl
    ... is that ... Like I said, this method is not very Fukuokaesque... serious pruning is at the heart of it. Trees are selected and pruned to stay small
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 2, 2002
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      Jamie wrote:

      > My only concern about planting fruit trees in such high densities
      is that
      > each tree will not be able to achieve full canopy development and thus
      > fruit quality.

      Like I said, this method is not very Fukuokaesque... serious pruning
      is at the heart of it. Trees are selected and pruned to stay "small"
      (under 4 meters high). I met a man at our local watershed council
      meeting who runs a local tree and bush nursery. During a coffee break
      we somehow got on to the topic of dense planting for home orchards.
      He had converted a small part of his land into this type of planting
      following Dave Wilson's techniques. Small in the sense of only about
      2 acres. I got to see the orchard and it was quite amazing to me.
      A LOT of fruit being produced in a relatively small area. His biggest
      problem is finding help at harvest time. All of the trees looked
      healthy (but then I'm to arborist). His nursery is certified organic
      but I can't remember if he uses any kinds of sprays. He does let
      the grass and weeds grow around the trees, cuts them just before
      harvest but leaves the residue right where it lands as a kind of
      mulch.

      It's been about 2 years since then but I remember calculating that
      a pessimistic estimate of what I could grow on about half an acre
      using that method was measured in tons of fruit. Can't remember if
      it was two or four tons. Actually made a planting layout but never
      did it because I ran into Fukuoka shortly thereafter and that has
      got me thinking from a different perspective.

      It is a form of polyculture in that several varieties of several
      species are planted in close proximation to each other. In the same
      "hole" you might plant four different varieties of the same fruit
      which would give not only variety but also prolonged harvest.

      Wilson emphasizes, and the nurseryman I met reinforced, the need
      for pruning. Summer pruning was the main thing to keep the tree "manageable"
      and winter pruning to clear out old and winter-damaged wood.

      If you ignore Fukuoka's dictate about not pruning and all that that
      implies then this method appears to me to be the most beneficial
      and productive for a backyard or small farm orchard.

      Larry Haftl
      larry@...
      http://larryhaftl.com/fukuoka
      http://FukuokaNaturalFarming.org
    • jamie
      Hello Larry, I ve nothing to add to your fine Fukuoka Introduction, but would like to comment on these high density orchards. If we start from the principle of
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 3, 2002
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        Hello Larry, I've nothing to add to your fine Fukuoka Introduction, but
        would like to comment on these high density orchards.

        If we start from the principle of 'do-nothing' farming then pruning is a
        movement away. However, if Wilson's system works and pruning is the only
        major intervention then it would appear to have interest for anyone involved
        in Natural Farming. But, and here's another however: however, I would
        imagine that even with the use of dwarfing rootstocks there would be much
        remedial work necessary to fight off disease and pests. If, as you rightly
        quote in the Fukuoka intro - "If a single new bud is snipped off a fruit
        tree with a pair of scissors, that may bring about a disorder which cannot
        be undone. Human beings with their tampering do something wrong, leave the
        damage unrepaired, and when the adverse results accumulate, work with all
        their might to correct them." - there will be much work to correct such
        intense intervention. Can this then be described as Natural Farming? Can it
        even be described as sustainable?

        There was a discussion on own root fruit trees a while back and one of the
        points I picked up was the longevity of own root fruit trees as opposed to
        grafted fruit trees. Dwarfing rootstock can often give only 30 years of
        productive life, own root more than 100 years (often much more). Natural
        Farming would seem to favour own root fruit trees, not only because
        intervention is minimal to nil, but because, ultimately, the single tree
        that might replace the four dwarves, would not only produce more fruit in
        its lifetime but also produce more fruit once it had reached its adult size.

        We're human beings and thus want results to fit the scale of our lives.
        Three score years and ten might just favour dwarf rootstock orchards, but
        then so do modern farming techniques that have led to the environmental
        pollution as we pump ever more into our soils to get ever more out - the
        desire for immediate profits at the expense of future loss of fertility.
        Wilson's high density planting would seem to favour conventional levels of
        inputs (whether labelled organic or not) and if we must continually buy-in
        off-farm products how can we say our farms and gardens are sustainable?

        Larry, if you get any more details of your local orchardists work, let me
        know: I'm willing to be persuaded.


        Jamie
        Souscayrous


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Larry Haftl <larry@...>
        To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2002 11:48 PM
        Subject: [fukuoka_farming] High density tree planting


        > Jamie wrote:
        >
        > > My only concern about planting fruit trees in such high densities
        > is that
        > > each tree will not be able to achieve full canopy development and thus
        > > fruit quality.
        >
        > Like I said, this method is not very Fukuokaesque... serious pruning
        > is at the heart of it. Trees are selected and pruned to stay "small"
        > (under 4 meters high). I met a man at our local watershed council
        > meeting who runs a local tree and bush nursery. During a coffee break
        > we somehow got on to the topic of dense planting for home orchards.
        > He had converted a small part of his land into this type of planting
        > following Dave Wilson's techniques. Small in the sense of only about
        > 2 acres. I got to see the orchard and it was quite amazing to me.
        > A LOT of fruit being produced in a relatively small area. His biggest
        > problem is finding help at harvest time. All of the trees looked
        > healthy (but then I'm to arborist). His nursery is certified organic
        > but I can't remember if he uses any kinds of sprays. He does let
        > the grass and weeds grow around the trees, cuts them just before
        > harvest but leaves the residue right where it lands as a kind of
        > mulch.
        >
        > It's been about 2 years since then but I remember calculating that
        > a pessimistic estimate of what I could grow on about half an acre
        > using that method was measured in tons of fruit. Can't remember if
        > it was two or four tons. Actually made a planting layout but never
        > did it because I ran into Fukuoka shortly thereafter and that has
        > got me thinking from a different perspective.
        >
        > It is a form of polyculture in that several varieties of several
        > species are planted in close proximation to each other. In the same
        > "hole" you might plant four different varieties of the same fruit
        > which would give not only variety but also prolonged harvest.
        >
        > Wilson emphasizes, and the nurseryman I met reinforced, the need
        > for pruning. Summer pruning was the main thing to keep the tree
        "manageable"
        > and winter pruning to clear out old and winter-damaged wood.
        >
        > If you ignore Fukuoka's dictate about not pruning and all that that
        > implies then this method appears to me to be the most beneficial
        > and productive for a backyard or small farm orchard.
        >
        > Larry Haftl
        > larry@...
        > http://larryhaftl.com/fukuoka
        > http://FukuokaNaturalFarming.org
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
      • Larry Haftl
        ... a bunch deleted for brevity... ... let me ... If I get a chance I ll pay him a visit in the next week or two to pick his brain, but in all honesty I really
        Message 3 of 7 , Oct 3, 2002
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          At Thursday, 3 October 2002, jamie wrote:

          >Hello Larry, I've nothing to add to your fine Fukuoka Introduction, but
          >would like to comment on these high density orchards.

          a bunch deleted for brevity...

          >Larry, if you get any more details of your local orchardists work,
          let me
          >know: I'm willing to be persuaded.

          If I get a chance I'll pay him a visit in the next week or two to
          pick his brain, but in all honesty I really don't want to "persuade"
          you or anyone to use this method. I don't mind giving you the information,
          but like you I have a hard time reconciling it with what Fukuoka
          is saying. I live in a "quick return" culture that more and more
          jars at my sensibilities. For someone who wants to harvest a bunch
          of fruit from a small space starting in six to eight years (an eternity
          to most Americans I think) this technique would probably work.

          Personally I would rather be like the old Afghan who had just planted
          a young sapling next to a bench in an otherwise barren and desolate
          landscape. This was shortly after the US invaded Afghanistan and
          one of our soldiers asked the old man why he had planted the tree.
          "Surely you'll be dead before that tree gives any shade," said the
          soldier. "Yes," said the old man, "but this tree is not for me, it's
          for my children."


          Larry Haftl
          larry@...
          http://larryhaftl.com/fukuoka
          http://FukuokaNaturalFarming.org
        • Robin, Maya, or Napi
          Thank you, Larry, That beautiful story will be told today, in a presentation that means much to us here. The governor s appointed Falls of the James Scenic
          Message 4 of 7 , Oct 3, 2002
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            Thank you, Larry,
            That beautiful story will be told today, in a presentation that
            means much to us here. The governor's appointed Falls of the James
            Scenic River Commission will hear our appeal from noon to 2:00. We
            ask that they recommend to City Council that the city acquire the last
            105' by 110' parcel of the greenway between the university, our river
            bluff neighborhood, & the James River. The parcel, fondly called the
            "missing link", is at the intersection of a T shape park system, with
            the top of the T running along the river & including our neighborhood
            symbol, a hundred year old gazebo. The greenway stem of the T
            includes the park that I correspond with this group about, & some
            hundred+ year old trees that we are trying to save from a developer
            who has proposed-is this classic-a parking lot on the land for a
            proposed apartment complex. That the park has been truncated, & by
            one of the world's nastiest polluters at that, has meant that we
            clamber up & down a steep & rough rocky bank, while just across the
            river, the wealthy neighborhood has two bridge/ramp/stair entrances to
            the James River Park system, one of the finest urban river rapids in
            the U.S. If our community's park committee, represented today at the
            Commission by our small school, gains the vote of this prestigious
            body, then it will go a long way toward the city Department of Parks &
            Recreation's acceptance, if not respect, for our natural farming of
            the alley boundary, which has been called "an eyesore" by Department
            staff, who like their flowers to stand like soldiers, evenly spaced.
            While I credit this group for the on-going encouragement of our
            Fukuoka inspired project, I may just tell your story as having come
            from a wise man in the group, unless you can use some quote points in
            Richmond, Virginia. The greenway is for generations of our children.

            Larry Haftl wrote:

            > At Thursday, 3 October 2002, jamie wrote:
            >
            > >Hello Larry, I've nothing to add to your fine Fukuoka Introduction,
            > but
            > >would like to comment on these high density orchards.
            >
            > a bunch deleted for brevity...
            >
            > >Larry, if you get any more details of your local orchardists work,
            > let me
            > >know: I'm willing to be persuaded.
            >
            > If I get a chance I'll pay him a visit in the next week or two to
            > pick his brain, but in all honesty I really don't want to "persuade"
            >
            > you or anyone to use this method. I don't mind giving you the
            > information,
            > but like you I have a hard time reconciling it with what Fukuoka
            > is saying. I live in a "quick return" culture that more and more
            > jars at my sensibilities. For someone who wants to harvest a bunch
            > of fruit from a small space starting in six to eight years (an
            > eternity
            > to most Americans I think) this technique would probably work.
            >
            > Personally I would rather be like the old Afghan who had just
            > planted
            > a young sapling next to a bench in an otherwise barren and desolate
            > landscape. This was shortly after the US invaded Afghanistan and
            > one of our soldiers asked the old man why he had planted the tree.
            > "Surely you'll be dead before that tree gives any shade," said the
            > soldier. "Yes," said the old man, "but this tree is not for me, it's
            >
            > for my children."
            >
            >
            > Larry Haftl
            > larry@...
            > http://larryhaftl.com/fukuoka
            > http://FukuokaNaturalFarming.org
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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            >
            >
            >
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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Sean Phelan
            ... Larry, Although I agree that quick return and instant America are not good things, there are other pressures and reasons to hurry. 6-8 years is an
            Message 5 of 7 , Oct 3, 2002
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              > I live in a "quick return" culture that more and more
              > jars at my sensibilities. For someone who wants to harvest a bunch
              > of fruit from a small space starting in six to eight years (an eternity
              > to most Americans I think) this technique would probably work.

              Larry,

              Although I agree that "quick return" and "instant America" are not good things, there are other pressures and reasons to hurry.

              6-8 years is an eternity for your own fruit, when you look at it from another perspective:
              1) We're eating fruits loaded with pesticides . 6 years is a long time to poison yourself
              -OR-
              2) We're eating organic fruits from 1000's of miles away. That's a lot of pollution and gas consumption, just to get the fruits to your fridge.

              3) Either way, we're encouraging the loss of biodiversity that inevitably comes with large-scale agriculture.

              Personally, I'd rather deal with the "unnatural" of doing some pruning, than the "even-more-unnatural" stated above.

              Where I live in Florida, organic apples come from NY(1200 miles away) and organic "anything-else" comes from California (3000 miles away)
              Even organic citrus comes from California (think about that one ... Florida imports organic oranges from California)

              I'll be happy to prune a bit to stop that, but I'd probably just snip of a little branch every few weeks, instead of some huge pruning once a year.

              You have to figure that even in Nature, a tree can lose a branch or two from an animal running through or a deer coming to browse.

              Sp

              -------------------------------------------
              Sean Phelan
              Sequoia Consulting - Internet solutions that make sense
              http://www.sqcn.com
              mailto:SPhelan@...
              http://www.TheSCIA.Org - Proud Member of the Space Coast Internet Alliance
              (321) 984-0211
            • Larry Haftl
              ... I always like to get a byline on my work. In this case wise man in the group sounds ego-inflating enough to satisfy... :) Good luck with your
              Message 6 of 7 , Oct 3, 2002
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                At Thursday, 03 October 2002, you wrote:

                > While I credit this group for the on-going encouragement of our
                >Fukuoka inspired project, I may just tell your story as having come
                >from a wise man in the group, unless you can use some quote points in
                >Richmond, Virginia. The greenway is for generations of our children.

                I always like to get a byline on my work. In this case "wise man
                in the group" sounds ego-inflating enough to satisfy... :)

                Good luck with your presentation. Sounds like you have an economic
                justice issue as well as environmental one. Hope you succeed.

                BTW, I still don't know if you are Robin, Maya or Napi. Is this a
                well-kept secret, do you have a multiple personality, or do all three
                of you speak on this list with the same delightful voice?

                Larry Haftl
                larry@...
              • Larry Haftl
                ... good ... fridge. I can understand those pressures and desires. Fortunately, I am literally surrounded by organic farms and orchards that give me the time
                Message 7 of 7 , Oct 3, 2002
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                  At Thursday, 3 October 2002, Sean wrote:

                  >Although I agree that "quick return" and "instant America" are not
                  good
                  >things, there are other pressures and reasons to hurry.
                  >
                  >6-8 years is an eternity for your own fruit, when you look at it from
                  >another perspective:
                  >1) We're eating fruits loaded with pesticides . 6 years is a long time
                  >to poison yourself
                  >-OR-
                  >2) We're eating organic fruits from 1000's of miles away. That's a lot
                  >of pollution and gas consumption, just to get the fruits to your
                  fridge.

                  I can understand those pressures and desires. Fortunately, I am literally
                  surrounded by organic farms and orchards that give me the time to
                  think about what I'm doing rather than act from desparation.

                  >Where I live in Florida, organic apples come from NY(1200 miles away)
                  >and organic "anything-else" comes from California (3000 miles away)
                  >Even organic citrus comes from California (think about that one
                  .. Florida
                  >imports organic oranges from California)

                  Having spent some time in both Florida and California it doesn't
                  surprise me. What I have trouble with is living in a major grape-
                  growing region and eating grapes that come from Chile. BTW, I'm planting
                  some grape vines in spring...

                  >I'll be happy to prune a bit to stop that, but I'd probably just snip
                  >of a little branch every few weeks, instead of some huge pruning once
                  >a year.

                  Actually, if you go this route you do a major pruning once in summer
                  and then some touchups in fall and late winter. It's not the kind
                  of thing that makes sense doing a nibble at a time.

                  >You have to figure that even in Nature, a tree can lose a branch
                  or two
                  >from an animal running through or a deer coming to browse.

                  I have deer come and share our apples on a regular basis. Never broke
                  a branch. They are surprisingly delicate eaters. The upside of having
                  deer browse on your garden or orchard is that it gives a sense of
                  sharing with nature that is unique. The downside is that you can't
                  shoot them when deer season opens because they've become "pets".

                  I understand what you are saying about branches being broken by natural
                  forces, but pruning is only part of the problem. Transplanting saplings
                  is a bigger one. Fukuoka promotes growing trees from seeds. Something
                  almost nobody seems willing or able to do. But it is the only way
                  to get a truly native/natural tree. If you have the patience to plant
                  seeds and wait for the orchard to grow then you have patience to
                  never prune them. If you are going to transplant a tree then what
                  does it matter if you prune it?

                  Larry Haftl
                  larry@...
                  http://larryhaftl.com/fukuoka
                  http://FukuokaNaturalFarming.org
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