Alley Cropping: Filling A Niche Between Rows

​​The Maryland Forest Service already plants in rows, so why not maximize land use to the benefit of landowners and the trees lining those rows by filling the ground with more desirable species instead of noxious weeds and grasses? That’s what alley cropping is all about!

Alleys created by tree row plantings are a perfect home for other agricultural or horticultural crops, including fruit and nut producing trees/shrubs like the ones found at our Edible Forest Trail at Bloomfield Park! Even potential biofuel like switchgrass could be well-suited for alley cropping depending on landowner goals, or clover for livestock grazing. Trees lining these rows could be species grown for hardwood veneer or lumber, pulpwood, or other fruit/nut specialty crop trees/shrubs, for example.

​​Alley Cropping Illustration courtesy of USDA National Agroforestry Center
Alley Cropping Illustration courtesy of USDA National Agroforestry Center​​