African Yams/Fruit Tree Pollarding/Mini-Orchard Idea
I get some mileage out of my junk mail:
That's an idea I had for an intercropped orchard that came to me when I was considering the relative merits of pollarding trees.
For those that aren't familiar with the term, to "pollard" a tree means to prune it back to a certain height/number of branches year after year. This is sometimes done to create biomass or "tree straw" that can be cut and fed to grazing animals; it's also done to maintain trees at a low height.
You'll see this done with crepe myrtle trees in the south.
In my idea, useful trees for fruit and mulch could be kept small and used as supports for climbing African yams (true yams), allowing a goodly amount of food to be created in a small space, along with mulch and perhaps fodder for rabbits or other livestock.
The trick would be to choose species that will actually produce fruit under pollarded conditions. I'm not sure if most fruit trees will. Guavas fruit on new wood, as do mulberries; peaches, cherries and other fruits may have to be handled differently and pruned at proper times rather than simply lopped off in winter.
There's always room for experimentation.
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