Monday, February 15, 2010

Trees as Agriculture

The second seminar I attended on Saturday was on agroforestry. I am interested in this for some of more open spaces- not to turn them into woods, but to use them in a variety of ways in different spaces. This presentation was a little frustrating because there were two presenters, not one, and in allowing one another to talk, they covered less ground and left less time for questions.

However, I have a better understanding of coppicing, the ways trees may be used for fodder, and how to do hedge laying. I got a few more insights regarding species that do well in Vermont for these various uses.

My long term goal is to strategically plant trees in this field to provide some shade and fodder to animals while also increasing fertility through leaf fall.

We would also like some wind break here. The pines must come down, and they are not a good windbreak anyway. If we could incorporate some other trees into the line of the apple trees moving left of this picture and then curve around, the house would be better sheltered from prevailing winds. Ideally, these would be a combination of fruit and nut bearing trees and hedges. We have to pick carefully, because we do not want to strongly shade the area. But even any garden space we put inside the windbreak would do better with a bit of shelter.

We could lay hedge along the contour visible in the top picture, partly a living fence, and also as a lower bit of windbreak.

The main place I want it is along this field on the left side. We want this field for pasture and we will put woven wire fence around it. Because the ATV trail runs along the left border of this field, we intended to do some denser plantings and it seems a good place to teach ourselves (or fail at) hedge laying.

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