The Ecosystem Orchard: A New Orchard Aesthetic

Excellent blog post by fellow apple grower Mike Biltonen of Know Your Roots!

The Ecosystem Orchard

For well over 100 years, orchardists and researchers alike have been striving for ways to make orchards more productive, efficient, and profitable. And while the story doesn’t begin with England’s East Malling and Long Ashton (EMLA) Research Stations, the modern chapters of dwarf fruit tree production certainly do. The East Malling research station was established in 1913 as a way to “study the problems which are met with in the actual culture of fruit trees and bushes.” Though not limited to development of dwarf rootstocks, its establishment launched the orchard world down a path that has resulted in smaller and smaller trees, planted in increasingly higher densities, requiring greater inputs of resources, pesticides, and money. And there is no doubt these technological advancements have led to greater productivity, cosmetic fruit quality, and profitability. But at the same time they’ve gutted the heart and soul from fruit orchards, reducing overall biodiversity…

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