Layers of a Food Forest
Canopy Layer

This is the largest layer of a food forest system and acts as a productive windbreak crop. It is composed of trees that are typically 40+ feet once fully mature.

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Understory Layer

This layer is made up of small productive trees, or large shrubs, designed to increase crop yield. This layer is usually 10-25ft once fully mature.

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Shrub Layer

A perennial crop, consisting primarily of berries and medicinal varieties but also used to build habitat and pollinator support. These plants are usually kept at 10ft once mature.

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Herb Layer

A mix of annuals and perennials, this layer is smaller plant varieties that die back in Winter but return in Spring. These are generally culinary and medicinal herbs used to confuse pests and minimize disease.

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Vines

An additional layer of productivity, the vining layer is vertical grow space. This increases yield and pollinator attraction as they climb through the larger layers of the food forest system.

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Root Zone

An underground layer of edible plants is used to increase soil texture and fertility. These are usually medicinal and culinary roots and tubers.

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Mycelial Network

This is an underground communication network which ties all of the layers together. The mushroom is the fruiting body, while the mycelium assists in carbon sequestration, is a decomposer, and builds a dynamic community of essential microorganisms in the soil. This is the foundation of the whole system.

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Ground Cover

Creeping, living mulch layer. These plants are an essential part of the forest floor and are implemented to increase yield diversity, soil protection, and habitat for insects and wildlife.

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