Permaculture is currently a hot topic in Australia and around the world, with many blogs, websites and think-pieces devoted to it. But what exactly is permaculture and what has it got to do with trees and arboriculture? The term permaculture was coined by Bill Mollison in the late 1970’s and is explained as the creation and development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. In layman’s terms, it is designing a garden/farm that benefits the environment while producing food, energy and shelter for humans and wildlife. In a world of dwindling natural resources; increasing waste and pollution; climate change; the overuse of chemicals and fertilisers to grow ‘perfect’ crops, many people are turning to sustainability and self-sufficiency. As the name suggests a permaculture garden is designed to provide a permanent ecosystem, reducing wastage, and give back to the planet.
Trees are an important part of a permaculture ecosystem as they have many important functions. There are so many different species of trees available to plant, it is important to research their credentials carefully when you are planning your permaculture garden. Understand the positives and negatives of the variety you are considering including the potential size, root spread, fruit yield and the level maintenance needed to keep the tree healthy and safe.
Fruit trees are an obvious choice for a permaculture garden, they are Mother Nature’s very own healthy and versatile ‘fast food’. The fruit such as apples; pears; oranges; lemons; plums; damsons and figs to name just a few have a wide variety of food potential. They can be eaten raw or cooked and made into different dishes including long life jams, chutneys and pickles. Trees can also provide nuts; seeds; flowers; leaves and saps which can all be used to create an assortment of culinary delights.
Food that is produced and is surplus to a family’s requirements can also become an opportunity to make an income through selling the produce to others. This has an economic benefit for all parties. Bartering the excess produce in exchange for goods and services is also a common practice of those who engage in permaculture.
For centuries, throughout the world, trees have provided livestock with fodder, even Plato in his book Critias and Timaeus commented on using trees for animal fodder ‘…there were also many other lofty cultivated trees which provided unlimited fodder for beasts.’ Tree are perfect for fodder as unlike crops, they are permanent; they help prevent nutrient losses from the ground; they do not depend on artificial fertilisers, they have a high protein content and they also produce three to five times more yield than pastures grown in comparable areas.
The ideas encompassed in permaculture are becoming more mainstream as people learn about the benefits of self- sufficiency. If you are interested in the incorporating some of the ideas into your daily life there are many handy guides to help you on your way.
If you would like to talk to a tree care company who provide a quality and professional tree service, who understand the benefits of proper tree maintenance and have the best interests of the customer and the environment at heart, call the Heritage Tree Care experts on 0737155444 for a free no obligation quote. Our qualified Arborists will be delighted to advise you on the best course of action for your trees. We cover Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Redlands, Toowoomba and Gold Coast area in Queensland, Australia