[permaculture] spindle cut orchards

Linda Shewan linda.shewan at bryn.com.au
Sun Jun 3 00:23:44 EDT 2007

Lots of permaculture designs that I have seen include espaliers and
variations and all the permaculture reading I have done advocates
pruning which just doesn't sit right with me. 

Permaculture site design is fantastic but where growing is concerned my
heart goes with Fukuoka's natural farming where you allow the trees to
grow to their natural form - but that's incredibly difficult to achieve
and most would say impossible. You can't grow natural form on rootstock
because the roots and tops have already been broken/pruned before
purchase so they have already lost their natural form. The only possible
way is fruit trees from seed or graft a seedling top onto rootstock
grown insitu. I think you need to be really in tune with your
environment and your plants to make this work. 

I'm going to give it a go anyway! I am creating a food forest where the
trees will be left to grow to their natural form. Once I am gone the
school will not have the resources, manpower etc to put into a high
maintenance site and as you said - I didn't understand that was really
what permaculture was about. You should be able to leave it and have it
keep on producing in perpetuity. 

One thing I don't get. Everyone says if you don't prune you won't get
any fruit, or only on the very ends of branches - and then you read
these things where other people say that 100 year old apple tree just
keeps bearing year after year. How can these 2 completely opposite
positions both be true? 

I believe while we prune, butcher etc we are doing nature a huge
disservice. Why do we revere nature so much and seek it out to nurture
our souls. Because nature is perfect on her own. If you prune then leave
the trees for a year or two then all the branches cross over each other
and you create a deformed unhealthy tree. If you had left it alone from
the start you might not have quite so many fruit but the tree would
continue in good health. Trees are just right as they are, I say leave
them to it.

I would really like to hear comments on this because it is the one area
I always struggle with. It's nice to hear someone else finds it a bit of
an affront to nature. 

Paul - are you ok with general pruning - and if so, how do you really
differentiate it?

Cheers, Linda

-----Original Message-----
From: paul wheaton [mailto:paul at richsoil.com] 
Sent: Sunday, 3 June 2007 5:18 AM
To: permaculture
Subject: Re: [permaculture] spindle cut orchards

I had some friends over for breakfast this morning and I mentioned
this.  After that I want to talk about it here more.

I guess what I'm fishing for here is not just more info.  I want to
either get comfortable with the idea, or I want to get support for why
it ain't permaculture.

At the moment, I feel pretty outraged at this practice.  I'm open to
the idea that I am simply ignorant - with a little more understanding
a path will be illuminated to show that this practice can be
incorporated into permaculture.  But my gut says that ain't the case.

Lack of diversity bugs me.

Lack of canopy layers bugs me.

But I think the thing that bugs me the most is that the trees are
treated so disrepectfully.  It reminds me of debeaking chickens or
confining pigs into something where they cannot turn around.  I've
never been one to do physically hug a tree - I keep the chain on my
saw pretty sharp and I'm not bashful about taking out trees to help
the farm - or me.  But it is done with the idea that I am working with
nature.  This seems  ....  twisted.  Is this not one of God's
creatures that is being shackled and squeezed to produce more money?

It seems icky.  It seems far from permaculture.  It smells like a new
direction from big ag.

Or maybe I just don't fully understand it yet and I'm just reactionary.
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