Planting perennial crops is an investment; and while the benefits of doing so are great, for many farmers, the perceived risk is greater. Afterall, it takes years for young tree stocks to mature, and once they do, how does one harvest these niche crops; much less bring them to market? By working at an ecosystems level, we help take the guesswork out of perennial production, and de-risk the supply chain at large.
Replant perennials that may have died. Trim back elderberries that grew too close to hazelnuts.
As the perennial canopy develops, observe and manage it so that 60-80% of the paddock is covered by canopy.
Farmers may observe that the elderberry and hazelnuts attract bird nesting. By this time in the paddock development, if a hawk or eagle comes hunting, the birds nesting in the hazelnuts have been found to organize and effectively chase away these predators as soon as they invade the air space.
Year 8 represents the final transition to a permanent canopy structure formed by hazelnuts, elderberries, and forest species.
While the final canopy development is still about a decade from completion, the majority of the farm enterprise is set for the long run with minimal intervention going forward; except for harvesting the fruits of the system.