I'm building an agroforestry (food forest) area in the yard, and was wondering how to exactly lay out the plants so they work well together.

I'm putting in:
Aronia X2
American Persimmon X2
Red Colossal Gooseberry X2
Red White Blue Currant X1 each
Adams & John Elderberry X1 each
Darrow Everbearing Blackberry X3
Russian Mulberry X1

paw paw tree X2
Goumiberry X2

  • Do you mean a forest garden? Could you post a photo of your yard, as the shape of the space will affect how you access the plants
    – Nic
    Jun 25, 2016 at 21:12
  • @Nic yes, a food forest, or agroforestry project. Jun 25, 2016 at 21:22
  • need a lot more information and then there is still the possibility of it having too many answers or being too broad You say agro forestry but the only tree is the paw paw. We need site plan showing where north is, dimensions, indication of soil type and what is the end goal
    – kevinskio
    Jun 25, 2016 at 22:40
  • what is your area's normal tree/shrub/soil association? To make something other than that is just silly. Otherwise, it will be a maintained ornamental garden. No other way. Nature has taken millions of years to get to the point of your area's plant/tree associations...you will be embarrassed if these plants are separate from your area's native biology/botanical/soil associations. Where the heck are you? Food forest? What does that mean? For chipmunks, deer, possums or humans? Grins. Great passion, needs more information.
    – stormy
    Jun 25, 2016 at 22:48
  • @stormy It's more of a placement question than a soil question. eventually I plan to get them some goumi bushes (within 2 years), and stuff to help out their soil better. I'm in zone 4A sandy soil with about 6 feet to the water table. food forest - youtube.com/watch?v=BFDuM2P1E-Q The space is about 20'X100' Jun 25, 2016 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


Well black thumb...now I get it. I did this in a development and had a forest, seriously, that gave fruit, shade, interest and privacy. We had to leave and they ripped ALL OF MY PLANTS and hard scape OUT. Put back in lawn. I am still grieving big time.
There are things you need to consider. For example; the cactus in this guy's yard along with deciduous plants that need more water. Not cool. Amazing his is working. The shade for him might be a good thing with the temperatures. Otherwise forget trying to grow vegeys. I am not fond of soil irrigation, but I do not live in such hot hostile climates. All of those trees thrive in his zone but need extensive pruning...to do better in such a small space.

Please use scientific/botanical names of the plants you are lusting after. Common names can make huge mistakes. Send a sketch of your ideas and plant materials to include your home, water lines, water availability (don't make the mistake thinking you'll get away with no maintenance...that will take time)...electrical lines, wind direction, neighbors... any underground covered up concrete, check with your neighbors to find out what they are growing and what they've done...come up against.

Lawns, sadly are what most developments INSIST you have. We can work with that...I've done designs and installations to incorporate 'forests' as well as abiding by the covenant. Hey, Elderberries are fantastic! So are hops! I need to know where you are for sure. 6' to the water table??? euuuuww. Close and also impregnated with who knows what chemicals...check this out. Are you on a well? Or city water?

And before you get too invested, CHECK your covenants as well as your city's regulations. This is NOT a normally allowed thingy!

  • How do you use botanical names when the company doesn't use them? How should they be spaced properly? We're on a well. The 6' estimate is based upon the rise from walking up the slight slopes from the creek. Trees often self thin so I can use that to help with the trimming problem. Jun 26, 2016 at 22:33
  • I also checked on the laws, and since my neighbor has a farm there's no laws against it. I'm just looking to fill trees in a patch of yard that's getting hard to maintain still. Jun 27, 2016 at 3:09
  • @blackthumb re. botanical names: By doing some minimal research, e.g. checking on Wikipedia?
    – Stephie
    Jun 28, 2016 at 5:46
  • Sigh, this NATURAL stuff is making me dizzy. How much more natural can one get to know plants and soils intimately? six foot rise and what is the distance? Rise/Run=Slope pumpkin. Allowing plants to prune themselves is just silly. When you've got a MAN MADE FOREST you better prepare to help these plants or you'll have a mess! Are you in a development or are you relying on what your neighbor is doing? And each and every plant you purchase or drag home has a name and lots of special information you need to know. All with height, width special considerations...scientific names!!
    – stormy
    Jun 28, 2016 at 6:53
  • I'm working from a catalog with videos to pick the foods we like to grow, and would sound interesting. Scientific names don't come in the catalog unfortunately. FYI it's: directgardening.com Jun 28, 2016 at 17:17

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