Tree establishment is one of the primary challenges farmers face when adopting agroforestry techniques. More specifically, a major critique of silvopasture, by non-silvopasture practitioners, is that regeneration is overly challenging in the face of livestock damage and deer browse. This study has three primary objectives: 1) to determine the effectiveness of different apical bud protection methods during the establishment phase of silvopasture from treeless pasture and during enrichment planting of a sugarbush 2) to determine the tradeoffs between organic, chemical, and mechanical control of grass when establishing silvopasture from treeless pasture 3) to establish an on-farm demonstration area in New England of silvopasture regeneration techniques.
We will compare the use of no bud protection, paper bud caps, woody shrubs, and tree tubes in the protection of hardwood tree seedlings from deer in silvopasture and sugarbush applications to accomplish the first objective.
We will accomplish the second objective by comparing the effects of white clover living mulch, glyphosate, composted hay mulch, and grass clippings on height growth of fruit trees planted in silvopasture establishment from treeless pasture. The third part of this project will be optimized through on-farm educational events and outreach at professional meetings. The benefits of this project in establishing on-farm, scientifically robust, demonstrations of silvopasture regeneration strategies will extend beyond the scope of this project’s timeframe. This project will also serve to advance science-based tree establishment methods applicable to many different agroforestry practices in the Northeast United States and beyond.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project seeks to address the following three objectives:
1) To determine the effectiveness of different apical bud protection methods during the establishment phase of silvopasture from treeless pasture and during enrichment planting of a sugarbush. The impact of this objective will be to better inform farmers about the effectiveness of bud caps, no bud protection, tree tubes, and the use of shrubs to protect trees from deer and livestock during silvopasture regeneration and enrichment planting of a sugarbush.
2) To determine the tradeoffs between organic, chemical, and mechanical control of grass when establishing silvopasture from treeless pasture. This objective will inform farmers of the tradeoffs between four methods of minimizing grass competition with trees: clover as a living mulch, clipping of grass, glyphosate, and manure/waste hay as a mulch.
3) To establish an on-farm demonstration area in New England of silvopasture and sugarbush regeneration techniques. The impact of this objective will be to provide farmers with information and a go-to location for learning about how to regenerate and establish silvopastures on their farm and how to enrich poorly managed sugarbushes with valuable species.