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Apple/Pear tree companion planting affirmation/debunk/suggestions  RSS feed

 
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
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I just got my order of 5 apple, and 4 pear trees in, and they're temporarily planted in 7gal root pouches until the fall. I plan on planting chives and clovers at the base of apple trees as well. The clovers will be mostly for nutrients, and for the Ferrel bees I hope to gather in a Warre hive.

I'll be putting the trees into northerly aspect hugels, but I'm looking for affirmation of what I'll be planting with them.

These are the companion groupings I've came up with so far. Keep in mind all of the hugels will be started with Clover's.

Plant Guilds:

Guild 1: Corn, Squash, Sunflowers, Beans(pole/bush), Jerusalem Artichokes, Amaranth (I personally would like to use this grouping planted by the apple/pears trees as this will be the dominant plantings in my hugels.)

Guild 2: Onions, Brocolli, Potatoes, Beets

Guild 3: Tomatoes, Carrots, Basil, Sunflowers.

Funny how the Sunflowers are a nitrogen fixer like a legume, but work well with tomatoes vs. legumes which work against tomatoes.

 
Posts: 360
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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I thought sunflowers emitted a substance from their roots inhibiting plant growth
 
Don Splitter
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
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Shawn.... ooops... I was typing so fast, I mis-typed... Sunflowers are NOT a nitrogen fixer, but they are great for pollination, green manure, breaking up the soil, shading squash, and bush beans, and attracting pollinators.

And then there's this....

Author: BioBilly

"Sunflower; helianthus an annual plant [that at the time of this publication was considered by farmers as a weed]. The roots dive deeply to pull up minerals and fiberize the soil. Stalks breakdown quickly and add organics to the soil. A heavily planted field of sunflower will produce almost double the amount of green manure as compared to any other plant. Sunflowers make a wonderful mother plant for corn, whose deep diving root will grow in with the shallow corn roots to help stabilize the corn.
[This makes sense when one considers the physics of the two plants. Pound for pound a pipe is stronger than a solid, because a pipe has to have two surfaces deflected before it will bend, compared to one surface on a solid. A sunflower has a pipe like stalk, corn has a solid stalk. In high winds corn will blow over first, but a companion sunflower will catch a corn stalk in its arm like leaf petiole and ride out the storm together"

And this: (which I really love)

Author: Dan D Lyons

"Next, I would consider planting a ring of giant sunflowers under that mulch around your tender apple tree to give it some much needed shade from the coming July/August sun. I know it says to plant the apple tree in full sun, but please trust me on this one, I have had lots of experience killing young trees by baking them in the sun Once your sunflowers are about 1ft tall, then plant a planting of pole beans/bush beans intermixed in the spaces around the sunflowers and apple tree. The pole beans will use the sunflowers (that are now about 2-3'' when the beans are sprouting) as a natural lattice and also quickly add nitrogen to the soil and give you an edible crop. The birds will give you some very rich 'guano' fertilizer when they show up to eat those mature sunflower seeds. You can even save a few of the sunflowers and beans to use as seeds for next year . This planting will look very nice a be a good conversation piece in suburbia. After harvest you have a ton of biomass (leaves and stalks) to mulch your apple tree with. Then in the fall you could go with a more perennial companion planting to accomplish the same thing that your sunflower/pole bean guild did but on a longer term basis, many of the things Tel Jetson mentioned in his post to you."

 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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some of the plants I have planted around my apple trees are (some are in sun some in shade): chives, walking onions, comfrey, french tarragon, thyme, oregano, rhubarb, yarrow, ....shady ones, violets, hostas, solomons seal, vinca, forget me not, burdock, helianthus, daffodills, etc.

pear guilds I have at this time (3 more coming this spring) : comfrey, daffodills, daylillies, checker mallow, bearded iris, woodbine vine...future pear areas will be similar but also include forsythia, spirea, and coreopsis as well as thornless blackberries.
 
Don Splitter
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
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Brenda... good info.. I'm trying to narrow down buying more seed, and focus on some of the local native plants. I have yarrow, wild clovers, and a host of other native plants around the area that I'd like to use(There's a reason the Objiwe plant book has 500 pages). My favorite is the wild Yarrow... such a great plant with sooooo many uses.
 
Posts: 1121
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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this looks like a real promising thread to keep an eye on
 
Posts: 107
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Brenda, do forsythia and spirea have any edible or medicinal uses, or are they for ornamental purpose only? I'm curious because I really like how forsythia looks And spirea we sell at the garden shop where I work.
 
Posts: 107
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I realize this is an old thread, but I'm curious about the need for shade for young fruit trees.  (Sunflowers certainly sound like a clever and elegant solution to this problem, btw!)  But is it a problem?  For every climate, I mean?  I'm in zone 7b, and there's some shade around my trees part of the day.  Should I still worry about killing them with too much sun?  Or does this mostly apply in, perhaps, Florida, or a place with absolutely no shade whatsoever?  Mr. Dan D. Lyons () didn't mention his zone.
 
pollinator
Posts: 759
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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In a Missouri, a fully dormant tree planted in the fall or early spring doesn’t need shade. Half day shade might help. Trees planted in late spring or early summer will benefit a lot from shade. I’ve moved small but fully leafed out trees in early summer. They did great with the temporary shade of some lawn chairs and lots of watering.

Sunflowers sound like a great idea, but I haven’t tried using them for tree shade. I don’t think I’d plant them close enough for the roots to intermingle. It seems like they’d out complete the tree for moisture. We usually have some very dry periods in the summer.
 
pollinator
Posts: 529
Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
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Lori Whit wrote:I realize this is an old thread, but I'm curious about the need for shade for young fruit trees.  ...  Should I still worry about killing them with too much sun? 



I live in Southern Arizona, which is pretty much the definition of "Sunny".  In my experience, as long as the fruit trees have enough water there is no need to provide shade.

However, providing them with shade will reduce the amount of water they need during the hot&dry months.
 
Posts: 39
Location: San Martin, CA
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I'm in Zone 9b. I'm in an area where stone fruit do extremely well.  With the exception of mature pecan and black walnut trees already on my property, my orchard is only a few years old.  I planted peaches, apricots and cherries over the last few years on full sun and only lost one cherry tree, which I think was mostly due to mechanical damage from my horses.  I had lost a few apple and pear trees I planted in 2013, probably because it was a drought year and I didn't water them enough.  I planted a combo pear tree and a seckel next to the stone fruit in 2015.  They are faring a lot better because we had a lot of rain last winter and I deep mulched them.
 
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