silly knights*
Permies likes hugelkultur and the farmer likes Fruit trees on Hugelkultur raised garden beds? permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies | World Domination!
Register / Login


permies » forums » growies » hugelkultur
Bookmark "Fruit trees on Hugelkultur raised garden beds?" Watch "Fruit trees on Hugelkultur raised garden beds?" New topic
Forums: trees hugelkultur
Author

Fruit trees on Hugelkultur raised garden beds?

Jaimee Gleisner


Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Urbana, IL Zone 5b
Will it work to plant fruit trees on an HK bed? Would this be beneficial to the trees as it is to other plants or would it cause problems with their root systems as the bed settles over the years? Would it be better to plant trees next to the HK bed instead? If so, what types of plants would make sense to plant on the HK bed next to my trees?


Embarking on my edible landscape adventure!
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
plant mine at ground level into the bottom edges of the bed..myself..


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Jaimee Gleisner


Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Urbana, IL Zone 5b
So you figured there could be a problem with planting them on top? What did you plant on the top of the HK beds next to your trees? Thanks for your response!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I'm planting fruiting shrubs on mine but I'd be afraid of planting a tree on one because it might topple over when mature if it's only rooting in the hugelkultur and not in the actual ground.


Idle dreamer

Jaimee Gleisner


Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Urbana, IL Zone 5b
Yeah that is my concern, too. Though I should clarify they are dwarf trees that I plan on pruning to 5' or so. Still too risky?
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
My shrubs are likely to be that tall, so to me, that seems safe.

Angelika Maier


Joined: Jan 16, 2013
Posts: 495
Location: cool climate
    
    2
I have started a threas already on this topic. The problem is that there are air pockets in the woody part of the huegelbed and roots don't like that at all.
Jaimee Gleisner


Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Urbana, IL Zone 5b
Can you link your thread or give me the title? Thanks!

The roots of trees don't like the air pockets? I keep looking at this one diagram of an HK bed with a small tree on it...

https://d2q0qd5iz04n9u.cloudfront.net/_ssl/proxy.php/http/gallery.mailchimp.com/6bc31e24f7ef174a01e7f5915/images/hugelkultur_Wheaton.1.jpg
James Colbert


Joined: Jan 02, 2012
Posts: 248
    
    8
Trees should go between hugelculture beds to benefit from collected moisture and nutrients. The trees also benefit from the mounds acting as wind breaks, something you won't get planting trees on the top of the raised beds. Soft fruit like blue berries or raspberries can be planted into the bed at 45 degrees angle half way up the bed. This is mentioned in sepp holzers new book.
Jaimee Gleisner


Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Urbana, IL Zone 5b
Okay, but I have just the one HK bed, not two to plant the trees between. Will the water and nutrient collection be the same simply planting the trees next to the bed? And what do I use the bed for then? I will end up stepping on it to harvest the fruit and it seems that wouldn't be good for most plants, compaction-wise.
Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 266
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
Jaimee Gleisner wrote:Can you link your thread or give me the title? Thanks!

The roots of trees don't like the air pockets? I keep looking at this one diagram of an HK bed with a small tree on it...

https://d2q0qd5iz04n9u.cloudfront.net/_ssl/proxy.php/http/gallery.mailchimp.com/6bc31e24f7ef174a01e7f5915/images/hugelkultur_Wheaton.1.jpg


It looks to me like that tree is actually growing behind the hugelbeet, and not directly on it. I believe Sepp Holzer plants his trees adjacent.


Vic Johanson

"I must Create a System, or be enslaved by another Man's"--William Blake
Matu Collins
steward

Joined: Feb 24, 2011
Posts: 1494
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
    
  49
I have been misunderstanding hugelkultur, I thought it was a good way to get a forest garden going because it encourages beneficial fungus and holds water. So planting trees adjacent is good, planting in/on is not? I was thinking elderberies and a mulberry, but maybe the elderberries should go on and the mulberry next-to? Hmmm. The bed I am working on won't be raised very high.

I wonder what else I should plant on this bed instead, have to rethink everything...
James Colbert


Joined: Jan 02, 2012
Posts: 248
    
    8
That picture was, I believe meant to be a conceptual representation, not a diagram of how to lay out an actual raised bed.

@ Matu Collins, I highly recommend you take a look at Sepp Holzer's three books. He details the use of raised beds with respect to incorporating them into a complete design/system.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Matu Collins wrote:I have been misunderstanding hugelkultur, I thought it was a good way to get a forest garden going because it encourages beneficial fungus and holds water.


This video shows a lot of trees or large shrubs growing in hugelkultur: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWaEEdB6GZM&feature=player_embedded
Jaimee Gleisner


Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Urbana, IL Zone 5b
Yes, I had watched that video, too! And to me, the diagram I posted appears to have a tiny seedling planted on top of the bed that grows into a fruit tree with its roots coming out the bottom. Of course, it is open to interpretation and may not have been meant to be taken quite so literally... but I would like to make use of my HK bed to the benefit of my fruit trees and just am unsure which way to go. It seems the consensus is to plant next to the bed, but then I feel as though I've wasted the bed b/c I'll end up stepping on it to harvest my fruit. I will also end up using up another 4-5' of my open grass space (which I was leaving for my young children to play on) if I plant my trees next to the beds. I'm conflicted!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Jaimee Gleisner wrote: It seems the consensus is to plant next to the bed


I don't think it's a consensus. I think it would be fine to plant small trees in a hugelkultur. My concern is with poorly rooted tall trees toppling over.

Jaimee Gleisner


Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Urbana, IL Zone 5b
Perhaps I should just go for it and see what happens! Thanks all!
Jay Hunter


Joined: Jan 15, 2013
Posts: 21
In a dry climate you would want to plant low next to the bed. But in a wetter climate your tree would drown out there. In my location they plant fruit trees on berms to keep them from getting crown rot because the soil is inundated with water for so long in the spring.

Has anyone tried planting trees on the crown of these beds?
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4110
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  58
For certain short lived trees like dwarf peach, the south side of a well drained bed would seem the perfect spot in my cool climate. The wetter gullies are a great spot for plums that are meant to produce coppice wood along with fruit. If I were planting apples that I want to survive for 100 years, I'd put them on more solid ground and fertilize them with humus from spent beds.


QUOTES FROM MEMBERS --- In my veterinary opinion, pets should be fed the diet they are biologically designed to eat. Su Ba...The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know. I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one. John Polk ...Even as we sit here, wondering what to do, soil fungi are degrading the chemicals that were applied. John Elliott ... O.K., I originally came to Permies to talk about Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and now I have less and less time in my life, and more and more Good People to Help ! Al Lumley...I think with the right use of permie principles, most of Wyoming could be turned into a paradise. Miles Flansburg... Then you must do the pig's work. Sepp Holzer
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
some of my beds have perennial plants on them like currants, gooseberries, honeyberries, rhubarb, comfrey, etc..but I also use annuals on them as well. My new bed that I just put in has a plan for it of early plantings of greens and salad crops with peas, and later croppings of festivity OP corn, 2 kinds of bush beans, summer squash and more salad crops, collards and kale.

at each end of the new bed is going either 2 peach or two sweet cherry trees..probably the latter (I have 4 peach and 2 cherry trees coming, just deciding on what goes where). I ALWAYS put one comfrey root cutting under each of my fruit and nut trees.
Jaimee Gleisner


Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Urbana, IL Zone 5b
Okay everyone, my fruit trees are arriving in a few days and I'm still torn on this issue. I really want to put them on my HK beds b/c I built the bed for them- it's already there and I don't have any other use for it in that location since I designated that spot for my fruit trees. Plus, with the high water table around here it seems better to get the roots off the ground a bit. But I am afraid of killing off my trees if they truly will not do well with air pockets. I called some horticulturists around my town and chatted with them about my plans. Several seemed to think all would be fine in mature HK beds, but not in new ones b/c of the air pockets still present in new beds. My beds were completed in mid November so they are almost 5 months old. While they have shrunken slightly, obviously not much has broken down yet, especially over the winter, so there are lots of air pockets still. So here's a question... how quickly will the tree roots grow into the bed? They have a good 7" of compost/soil to go through before hitting the wood/straw/leaf layer. Maybe it would take another year or two for them to really get into the air pockets and by then the bed will be more and more decomposed?

I really wish someone here has done this and could give me their experience!
Pierre de Lacolline


Joined: Mar 12, 2010
Posts: 37
Location: New Hampshire; USDA Z5
Unfortunately I can't tell you about any long-term results, but last year I planted a couple of plum trees into a relatively low (2' above ground, maybe 8-12" deep dug-in portion) hugel. Comfrey in between them and some annuals around the side. Everything in that bed did *really* well last year, even during some really dry, hot stretches of weather -- I irrigated, but not as much as I would have expected given the weather. The beds were freshly built, but much of the wood was several years old and well weathered.

I'm planning to do something very similar this year with siberian pea shrub and goji. There's a mulberry going in too, but I have not yet decided if it will be on top of a hugel or in solid ground just downhill from a hugel.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
I have about a 24' long hugelbed I also finished up in November of last year. I was a bit concerned about the fruit trees falling over also as I was planting standards..so I planted them up into the ENDS of the hugel bed..they are up about 2' from the bottom on the sloped end..and there are spots where logs are even sticking out (buggers)..after the heavy winter snows and rains..so I'll have to probably put on some more soil there.

I planted 2 standard peach trees, one a hale haven and one a red haven..they are just unbranched whips and when I planted them I made sure there was plenty of SOIL at the roots..so far I haven't gotten any MULCH around them yet as my mulch plants aren't up enough to chop and drop yet here in Michigan..but I did put some charred logs around them and have made sure they haven't dried out.

I put them in a couple weeks ago and am getting some baby green leaves growing now..so things are looking up for the hugelbed.

I have lettuce along the center of one side..and spicey italian and spiecy asian greens on the other side..along the top of one side i have planted 16 transplants of cabbage and the other side 4 transplants of broccoli (that's all I had)..the top is waiting on some festivity OP corn and some squash when the weather stabilizes (forcast of 26 for this coming sunday)

in my rear garden i have some super dwarf and dwarf apple trees growing in beds that were made with buried bark and wood chips covered over with soil and compost and they are doing very well...but they aren't tall like this new bed
Matu Collins
steward

Joined: Feb 24, 2011
Posts: 1494
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
    
  49
What is the problem with logs sticking out?
Jaimee Gleisner


Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Urbana, IL Zone 5b
It's funny. I'm not a fan of the logs sticking out either, just aesthetically speaking.

So, I went ahead and planted my fruit trees on the edges of my HK beds. I dug into the crown of the bed and found I had only about 8" of dirt so it wasn't enough to bury the tree roots. I dug into the side of the bed until I hit the logs and dug the hole right in front of it into the ground. Then I built the bed back up around it a bit and mulched around 6" or so from each trunk. So they look like the are on the side of the bed sort of, but are really directly into the ground (I was careful not to bury the graft). They seem very happy and are leafing out and some are flowering even.

Tree hedge row pre-mulch


Apples leafing out


Plum flowering
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
I have one standard peach on each end of my hugel bed..they are actually ON the ends of the bed but also will root down into the ground BESIDE the ENDS of the big logs in my hugel bed..they also seem to be doing fine, and are leafing out.

This bed is MUCH TOO HIGH to plant on top of with anything like a tree..i could barely reach the top to get corn seed in..and a few transplants of squash, cabbage and broccoli (which I planted cause they don't require a lot of "tending" as I'm just to short to "tend" the top
Jen Shrock
pollinator

Joined: Jan 25, 2013
Posts: 356
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
    
    8
Sepp commented at a seminar recently that hugel beds are good to plant fruit trees on top of if you want to be able to lift them off and move them later. Basically he was commenting on starting trees and giving them a place to grow for a year or two to develop before moving them. His comment was that, with the proper type of equipment, you could just slide the "tines" of the fork under the roots and lift the tree right off of the top without damaging the roots.

Maybe a small hugel "bump" might not be bad, but I would be concerned about getting substantial enough rooting on top of the bed. I just don't think that there is enough surface area on top.

He did comment about bushes/small trees could be planted at a 45 degree angle to the side to allow their roots to spread out and get a good foothold since they are more or less perpendicular to the side.


"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." ~Maori Proverb

www.permi-eden.com
duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 393
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
    
  11


Brenda,

build those hugels as tall as you want

the problem is solved with the new "hugel access system" for planting, maintaining, and harvesting

http://www.utilitytruck.net/vantel.html
James Colbert


Joined: Jan 02, 2012
Posts: 248
    
    8
Based off of what i have read and seen of how Sepp Holzer uses Hugelculture, fruit trees are planted between beds and up to 1/3 up the side of a bed. Keep in mind that these beds are 4 to 6 feet high so planting any higher up the bed would not be practical. I could see him using smaller beds for plants that he will eventually transplant.
 
 
subject: Fruit trees on Hugelkultur raised garden beds?
 
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books