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grass and mints in an apple tree guild

 
Linda Kurtz
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I asked these questions in relation to a posting I did about the start of a food forest with an apple tree guild and received no answer. This may be a more logical place to find an answer:

1. Should I remove all the grass out to the tree line before I plant my understory plants or can I plant a cover crop (maybe vetch) to crowd out the grass?

2. Should I worry that any mints I plant will get out of control or rely on the chop and drop method to keep them under control?

Thanks for any insights -
Linda
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
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Location: Western Washington
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Linda, I can only comment as to what I'd do in that I would

1) use a sickle to remove a 2x2ish chunk of grass
2) plant mint
3) use the grass greens and dirt as a topsoil/mulch

Personally I'd be delighted if my mint decided to get a little wild and crazy.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
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Location: Western Washington
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I'd also precede similarly and put in patches of this and that rather than skinning the entire thing at once. if your grass holds the soil together well you can keep it as paths. I graze geese on grass and like to have some around.

Did I address your question directly? Anyone one else want to chime in?
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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Is the tree in already? If not, just tear up the turf and turn it upside down when you plant the tree, then mulch and plant over it.

Mint will spread by runners, faster or slower depending on how suited it is to your climate. It does like water and will compete with other plants for it. I generally prefer to keep it contained, but sure you can chop & drop (smells great!). It's certainly easier to control than most grasses.
 
Linda Kurtz
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Thanks for the responses. They are the answers I was hoping for! ( At heart, I guess I'm lazy like Paul - though actually I prefer to think of it as not wanting to waste time on stuff that doesn't HAVE to be done!) I was kind of hoping it would work to start tucking in plants this fall that I have around the property. (BTW, I propagated a bunch of comfrey from stems-making sure I cut them at the nodules and had good success with new plant starts. Haven't seen anyone talk about this kind of propagation of comfrey) So, it looks like I can start my guild this fall and tweak it with annuals (Dill, etc) in the spring. Yeah!

Linda
 
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