The seven layers of a forest garden

Tree shrubs crowded up against each other

Toona sinensis & Phormium tenax in Martin Crawford’s forest garden

A quick reference for the multiple layers of a forest garden, because I can only ever remember 3 of them (see my logo)…

@AgroforestryT has a definition of forest gardening and helpfully lists the “seven layers” of a forest garden:

  1. Canopy—highest layer of trees, plan spacing correctly to allow enough light through to understorey
  2. Small trees/shrubs—between & below canopy trees
  3. Shrubs—mostly shade tolerant
  4. Herbaceous perennials—die back in winter, contribute to ground cover
  5. Ground cover—mostly creeping carpeting plants, with some clumping examples
  6. Climbers—require sturdy trees to climb
  7. Rhizosphere—root bearing plants and fungi