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Sun trap, heat trap, heat trap or heat circle

Louis De Jaeger

5 jun. 2024

Sun trap, heat trap, heat trap or heat circle

A 'sun trap' is a design method that ensures that heat and sunlight are retained. In this way we create a microclimate that is favorable for crops that have a greater heat and/or light requirement.

We plant the largest trees in the north. NB! If you are designing a domain in the southern hemisphere, you should apply this method in reverse, because there the sun is highest in the north instead of in the south. To the south of the tallest trees we plant a slightly smaller tree or shrub each time so that we create a stepped shape. You can, for example, place annuals, grapes or figs inside the parabola. You could also opt to dig a pool or pond at the southernmost part. This way, the plants will receive extra sunlight through the reflection in the water.

The parabolic shape of this heat trap is ideal for retaining sunlight and heat. This will stretch your season and allow you to experiment with more southern plants that are previously intended for USDA zone 9.

Please note: the extra heat can cause plants to bloom earlier, which can cause problems in the event of late frost.

Would you like to learn more about food forest design? Then read 'Design your own food forest' by Commensalist founder Louis De Jaeger or book a no-obligation phone call with one of our Commensalists.

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