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Growing squash under fruit trees?

 
Ben Bishop
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Hey everyone,

I had the idea this year to plant some squash under one of my asian pear trees (its about 5 foot tall). The squash and the tree look like they are doing well. The squash is growing pretty huge and I am wondering if it is stealing nutrients away from the fruit tree? If I cut down the plant after harvest and use it to mulch the tree will it release those nutrients back? Thanks

 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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I'm in my second season now planting winter squash under my young fruit and other trees. Since I must irrigate, the squash is taking up moisture from the drip emitters that the small trees can't take up yet. The squash acts as an indicator plant to tell me when I need to water, since it's leaves droop obviously and well before the tree shows evidence of stress. You will be removing some nutrients when you harvest the squash, but any number of sources can replace them, including a few shots of urine in wet weather.....
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
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Location: zone 6b
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I'm finding the squash does a good job of helping the mulch prevent grass/weeds from growing under the trees and keeping the soil cool and moist. The biggest obstacle, in fruiting-sized trees, is finding/cleaning up the drops so the pests don't multiply. IMHO for fruiting trees summer squash or melons might be a better bet - they can finish fruiting and be out of the way around the time apples or pears are ready to bear fruit. But they still might make it difficult to get to the tree to thin the fruit.
 
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