5 steps from forest to orchard
There’s no place for big forestry trees in an orchard, but smaller ones have their place.
You can argue there is a place for pear, hazel and other wild fruit species in a mixed tree cropping woodland – they aren’t going to interfere with your giant oaks, pines or elms.
However, if you have a fruit orchard then big pines, cypress, or gum trees are going to shade it too much, and one day will need felling, or worse, will blow down randomly and take your fruit trees with them. This is not a good long term plan.
But you can squeeze in useful coppicing trees like hazelnut and chestnut through a large orchard for internal shelter, and add a whole extra layer of productivity. I have seen this done with walnuts too, although I don’t recommend this as their leaves are a menace and mess up other plants below.
Shelter belts can also produce good, small diameter wood and nuts – hazels are great for this.
In 2014 I decided to condemn some faltering 13-year-old Lawson cypress and open up a dark weedy corner of the orchard. In autumn (May-june) a dozen cypress are cleared, leaving a north-facing sheltered glade to catch the sun. It’s surrounded by tall shelter to the east and south, with apple trees, gorse and a bay tree offering shelter to the west. There are crop trees of chestnut and Chinese elm left through the area, along with alder and some ponga for internal shelter and beauty.
As I peel back the cover of gorse, failed forestry trees and gums which are too close to the power lines, I heave a sigh of relief that I will not be picking bits of smashed pear tree out of next year’s firewood log pile. A prized redwood has outperformed the cypresses, so it is pruned up to let in more light. Two large Eucalyptus fastigata are felled to avoid dropping them onto the new orchard area in years to come, and so there’s no risk of them blowing storm debris onto the power lines.
A bit of planning and dropping trees in the right order helps things go smoothly on the lifestyle block. Without the big trees, more sunlight gets in to warm the trees and soil. The geese and horse will bring in grass seed in time, and we oversow clover for a soil-binding edible pasture ley. The horse will not be let into this area until the trees are big enough to avoid being flattened, and only when their branches are bare.
firewood. A 2m Lawson trunk is turned into a gate post strainer.
THESE GORGEOUS drinkers and feeders are new to Chook Manor, bringing some cottage garden style to the practical equipment you need to keep your hens happy and healthy.
The Cottage Garden feeder is a heavy duty, zinc-plated feeder that holds approximately 3.5kg of mash, pellets or grain, and comes in blue, green or hot pink.
The Cottage Garden drinker also comes in the same trendy colours, and this heavy duty, zinc-plated unit holds approximately 4-litres of fresh water.
These are some of the great products for your hens available from the poultry specialists at Chook Manor. Its range includes coops and hen houses, incubators, mite, lice and pest control, rol, plus food and health products.