Visit to Agroforestry ResearchTrust


: 9.30am - 12.00 Midday

  • News
  • Orchard Link Event
  • Orchard Link Course

The Trust Director, Martin Crawford, has planned and carried out all most of the aspects of the Trust’s work. He has spent over 30 years in organic agriculture and horticulture, including working for the Yarner Trust in North Devon (teaching small-scale organic agriculture); growing food for a small hotel on the Isle of Iona; restoring the walled gardens of a manor house in mid-Devon; and running his own organic market garden and tree nursery in South Devon.

Agroforestry is the growing of both trees and agricultural / horticultural crops on the same piece of land. They are designed to provide tree and other crop products and at the same time protect, conserve, diversify and sustain vital economic, environmental, human and natural resources. Agroforestry differs from traditional forestry and agriculture by its focus on the interactions amoungst components rather than just on the individual components themselves.

This site of the visit is just outside Dartington, has been in use since 1997 and covers 8 acres.
It holds trials including about 5 acres of nut trees, autumn olive, persimmons and some more common tree fruit. The tour takes about 2 hours.
Projects already under way include trials of:
·         Che (Cudrania tricuspidata) seedling plot.
·         Date plum (Diospyros lotus) seedling plot.
·         American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) seedling and cultivar trial plot.
·         Holm oak (Quercus ilex) seedling plot from sweet-fruited parents, plus ballota and emory oaks (Q.ilex ballota & Q.emoryi).
·         Trials of unusual fruits now include American pawpaw, and service trees.
·         Chestnut variety trials. These are trials of mainly French chestnut cultivars, with 18 selections now planted.
·         Walnut variety trials. Trials of French, German and N.American walnut cultivars, with 20 selections now planted.
·         Hazelnut breeding experiment, aiming to find good selections from N.American hybrid seedlings.
·         Unusual nut trials: including butternuts, heartnuts, monkey puzzle, ginkgo, nut pines, sweet-fruited oaks including local holm oaks and N.American hybrids.
·         Sorbus species evaluation trials, including a planting of the rare Devon species, Sorbus devoniensis with edible fruits.
·         Trials of Eastern European black locust cultivars. These 5 selections, obtained from the Hungarian Forest Research Institute, may make black locust silviculture economic in the UK.
·         Disease-resistant cultivar trial of 25 pear cultivars and 25 plum cultivars.

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