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Peach tree polyculture

 
Posts: 46
Location: Northeastern Kentucky zone 6
6
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Hello all,

So A little background information:
I recently started my first vegetable garden this year and I caught the itch, meaning I want to grow anything and everything I can get my hands on. Haha I was blessed to be in a position where we have a family farm that is a little over 17 acres and my family had already planted a few apple and pear orchards on the property. I’ve been doing my digging in the garden but also I’ve been doing extensive research on this site as well as other places on the interweb and came up with the conclusion that I want to leave my mark on the property in the form of a peach&apricot tree polyculture/fruit guild/food forest.

As of now the two major areas of concern are site placement, which I feel that I have figured out a good enough spot for all three trees with around 12-15 feet in between each tree in the same guild, and pest pressure. To deal with the pest pressure I have come up with a combination for plantings for year one and I’d like some input to see what has and hasn’t worked for others in the past. Our property is located in zone 6B.

Focal point:
Redhaven peach
George IV peach
Moorpark apricot
(Varieties were purchased from treesofantiquity.com)

Canopy:
Black walnut (we have a shortage here on the farm and we have some saplings already volunteering in the area. I have read about juglone and it’s ability to hinder/deter growth in and around the root system, however I read that mulberries planted between walnut trees and fruit trees severely lessens the affect of juglone on the overall system. I’d love to hear input before I go planting my peaches and apricot that I spent money on just to try and save a volunteer variety )

Red bud (similar reasoning, they are volunteering and I need some nitrogen fixing trees that can be made into mulch in the future, as well as aesthetically pleasing)

Sub-canopy:
Mullberry (will need at least a male and female if I want fruit, hoping some wild grapes will volunteer close)
Pawpaw (the thought process here is that in the early part of their life they enjoy shade and the peach trees are short lived so after the peach tree dies back/becomes unproductive in 10-15 years the pawpaw will be there to thrive {thank you @edibleacres YouTube channel!})

Shrub:
Lavender (every lavender shrub I’ve ever seen was covered in pollinators, likes variable soil, low maintenance, natural insecticide to aid in prevention of  plum curculio/coddling moth, lovely smell, aesthetically pleasing, medicinal)

Herbaceous:
Comfrey (living mulch, mineral accumulator, rhizome barrier)
Hastas (living mulch, home for praying mantis)
Tansy (I’ve read somewhere that this is beneficial to peaches, blackberries and raspberries because they bring in predator wasps, any confirmation/correction would be appreciated
Borage (beneficial predators)
Mint (aromatic confuser, medicinal, herb)
Milkweed (monarch butterfly, pollinator heaven, I kinda think they look pretty)

Ground cover:
Clover (nitrogen)
Buckwheat (Phosphorous)

Root:
Carrot (I’ve read that the carrot family brings in beneficial predators, aerates soil)
Garlic (aromatic confuser, edible, aerates soil)
Tulips (aesthetically pleasing, perennial)

Vine:
Trumpet creeper (hummingbird food, potential windbreak, aesthetically pleasing)


I’ve seen a lot of people warn of planting too dense in a location. The way I see it is if something isn’t working, it will get out-competed by what does. Plant the things that need the most time to develop first and work toward the annuals.

Thanks in advance for any advice, tips, tricks, and any overall knowledge that could be provided. I’ve already learned an immense amount from this sit and hope to continue by posting for often.

Bless you.
 
pioneer
Posts: 91
Location: North Texas, Zone 8a, Black Clay
6
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You might want to use Crossvine as an alternative to Trumpet Creeper. Trumpet Creeper will spread like crazy and end up anywhere you don't want it. Crossvine is much less aggressive.
 
Travis Davis
Posts: 46
Location: Northeastern Kentucky zone 6
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J Youngman wrote:You might want to use Crossvine as an alternative to Trumpet Creeper. Trumpet Creeper will spread like crazy and end up anywhere you don't want it. Crossvine is much less aggressive.



And also just as beautiful I noticed, wooooow! I really appreciate that.  
6CD9E376-5C61-431F-8460-1CE544798290.jpeg
crossvine-flower
 
Travis Davis
Posts: 46
Location: Northeastern Kentucky zone 6
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I just found another added benefit for tulips in that they attract ladybugs. As do geraniums, dill, fennel and white cosmos. This in turn will help to keep any aphid and white fly issues in check for any future annual gardens near the area. Learning something new every day.
 
Travis Davis
Posts: 46
Location: Northeastern Kentucky zone 6
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Travis Davis wrote:Hello all,

So A little background information:
I recently started my first vegetable garden this year and I caught the itch, meaning I want to grow anything and everything I can get my hands on. Haha I was blessed to be in a position where we have a family farm that is a little over 17 acres and my family had already planted a few apple and pear orchards on the property. I’ve been doing my digging in the garden but also I’ve been doing extensive research on this site as well as other places on the interweb and came up with the conclusion that I want to leave my mark on the property in the form of a peach&apricot tree polyculture/fruit guild/food forest.

As of now the two major areas of concern are site placement, which I feel that I have figured out a good enough spot for all three trees with around 12-15 feet in between each tree in the same guild, and pest pressure. To deal with the pest pressure I have come up with a combination for plantings for year one and I’d like some input to see what has and hasn’t worked for others in the past. Our property is located in zone 6B.

Focal point:
Redhaven peach
George IV peach
Moorpark apricot
(Varieties were purchased from treesofantiquity.com)

Canopy:
Black walnut (we have a shortage here on the farm and we have some saplings already volunteering in the area. I have read about juglone and it’s ability to hinder/deter growth in and around the root system, however I read that mulberries planted between walnut trees and fruit trees severely lessens the affect of juglone on the overall system. I’d love to hear input before I go planting my peaches and apricot that I spent money on just to try and save a volunteer variety )

Red bud (similar reasoning, they are volunteering and I need some nitrogen fixing trees that can be made into mulch in the future, as well as aesthetically pleasing)

Sub-canopy:
Mullberry (will need at least a male and female if I want fruit, hoping some wild grapes will volunteer close)
Pawpaw (the thought process here is that in the early part of their life they enjoy shade and the peach trees are short lived so after the peach tree dies back/becomes unproductive in 10-15 years the pawpaw will be there to thrive {thank you @edibleacres YouTube channel!})

Shrub:
Lavender (every lavender shrub I’ve ever seen was covered in pollinators, likes variable soil, low maintenance, natural insecticide to aid in prevention of  plum curculio/coddling moth, lovely smell, aesthetically pleasing, medicinal)

Herbaceous:
Comfrey (living mulch, mineral accumulator, rhizome barrier)
Hastas (living mulch, home for praying mantis)
Tansy (I’ve read somewhere that this is beneficial to peaches, blackberries and raspberries because they bring in predator wasps, any confirmation/correction would be appreciated
Borage (beneficial predators)
Mint (aromatic confuser, medicinal, herb)
Milkweed (monarch butterfly, pollinator heaven, I kinda think they look pretty)

Ground cover:
Clover (nitrogen)
Buckwheat (Phosphorous)

Root:
Carrot (I’ve read that the carrot family brings in beneficial predators, aerates soil)
Garlic (aromatic confuser, edible, aerates soil)
Tulips (aesthetically pleasing, perennial)

Vine:
Trumpet creeper (hummingbird food, potential windbreak, aesthetically pleasing)


I’ve seen a lot of people warn of planting too dense in a location. The way I see it is if something isn’t working, it will get out-competed by what does. Plant the things that need the most time to develop first and work toward the annuals.

Thanks in advance for any advice, tips, tricks, and any overall knowledge that could be provided. I’ve already learned an immense amount from this sit and hope to continue by posting for often.

Bless you.



I have decided not to replace trumpet Creeper with cross vine, but to incorporate both as well as a vining honey suckle variety. I really just loving hummingbirds. Haha

Also, I have picked up some chamomile (German, Roman, Dyers, and Saint johns) and some bergamot varieties that I also plan to add. Oh, and rhubarb. This project is getting out of hand quickly with the amount of things I plan to add. 😂
 
J Youngman
pioneer
Posts: 91
Location: North Texas, Zone 8a, Black Clay
6
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Flame Acanthus (it grows as a bush) is the best hummingbird plant I have found, they go crazy for it. Salvia is also pretty good.
 
Travis Davis
Posts: 46
Location: Northeastern Kentucky zone 6
6
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J Youngman wrote:Flame Acanthus (it grows as a bush) is the best hummingbird plant I have found, they go crazy for it. Salvia is also pretty good.



Thanks for the information! I’ll look into those!

Today I had this great idea that I was going to transplant some trumpet Creeper from our living wall at the house, to the peach tree area. When I tried doing so I found the smallest possible sapling I could locate. The taproot is super developed even on 2 inch saplings so I will have to find another way if I plan on moving some babies from the mother wall. Thanks for following along. :)
 
Travis Davis
Posts: 46
Location: Northeastern Kentucky zone 6
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I just ordered a lot of trees from the Missouri Department of Conservation (over 200 ) and have been collecting seeds over the past few months. I’m excited for this winter to get stratifying some seeds and hopefully collect some other hardwood cuttings as well to add to the landscape.
 
J Youngman
pioneer
Posts: 91
Location: North Texas, Zone 8a, Black Clay
6
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Didn't know they offered seedlings. Those are great prices. Would love updates on shipping/product quality and survival rate.  
 
Travis Davis
Posts: 46
Location: Northeastern Kentucky zone 6
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J Youngman wrote:Didn't know they offered seedlings. Those are great prices. Would love updates on shipping/product quality and survival rate.  



My dad recommended them saying he’d ordered from them before. I will let you know how things go this spring.
 
Travis Davis
Posts: 46
Location: Northeastern Kentucky zone 6
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Sea buckthorn in the polyculture? Nitrogen fixing fruit bearing deer resistant tree that is high in vitamin C. Hmm. Interesting.
 
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I would consider blue lupine as well.  Nitrogen fixer either biennial or short-lived perennial, attractive to both pollinators and the eye and deer resistant.  Also cycles P fairly well.  Oats to help establish mychorizal fungi would also be helpful.
 
Travis Davis
Posts: 46
Location: Northeastern Kentucky zone 6
6
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Glen Kowalski wrote:I would consider blue lupine as well.  Nitrogen fixer either biennial or short-lived perennial, attractive to both pollinators and the eye and deer resistant.  Also cycles P fairly well.  Oats to help establish mychorizal fungi would also be helpful.



Thanks for the tip. I’ll look into both of those further. 👍🏼
 
Posts: 82
Location: KS/OK Line along the Arkansas (not the Ar Kan Saw) River
12
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J Youngman wrote:Didn't know they offered seedlings. Those are great prices. Would love updates on shipping/product quality and survival rate.  



A number of State Forestry Services (between the Rockies & Mississippi at least) have conversation tree planting resources.  I'm familiar with MO, KS, and OK catalogs, all available online.  They essentially operate a nursery devoted to useful trees, shrubs, etc., for their specific states.  I'll be honest, although pricing and bundling varies by state, there's a good variety of plants that will likely do well in your individual climate because they come from stock that is native to your area, so unlike ordering Elderberry to plant in Oklahoma from Vermont, as an example, it should be well adapted to your climate and moisture levels.  In the case of KS Forestry, they also do a good job of explaining within their catalog what is appropriate for the various areas within our state (which ranges from 6A-7A and 15-45" of moisture annually.  

It also comes in handy for doing Plant ID when you relocate a few hundred miles and enter into an area where new useful plants grow wild.  
 
gardener
Posts: 1571
Location: Longbranch, WA Mild wet winter dry summer
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I would recommend alternatives to tulips because they are less persistent in uncultivated environments.  Daffodils and blue bells are very persistent and if both spread the bloom time out over a longer time period . It would help if you update your profile to include your location  which then appears under your name when you post.  That helps with location specific recommendations.
 
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