My husband and I sprouted a random appleseed, and planted it in the ground. It's now two years old and about 6 inches tall. Last year I picked up some free strawberries off the side of the road and planted them about 6 inches from my little sprout. Come to find out, those free strawberries came with some free sheep sorrel, too. At first, I was really excited, because it's edible, it's not grass (which is takes over everything), and I don't have any anywhere else on my 5 acres.
But, my husband is worried about it overtaking the little apple tree, and I've been reading that it can really spread quickly. I also read that it's a good nutrient accumulator and pollinator attractor.
My question is, should I keep this sorrel from my apple tree guild, manage it in some way, or let it take over and be happy that it's not grass?
Be happy, but do manage a guild a bit in favor of young apple, mulch with some organic matter that will provide some nutrients for all plants in a guild.
Almost all plants are surface feeders, sorrel can take some from apple, so if you apply some well rotten mulch or even better compost, you are good.
With young plants i don't like too many plants right next by.
Leaves, leaf mold and compost are my favourite around young plants - with them young plants really shoot into growth compared to young plants overgrown with "guild".
I'm talkin about half a meter, meter of "clear ground" around young plant in first year, then less and less as time goes on and plant is ready to take root competition.
And sun! It's very important for plants having as much sun as possible in first years - here in temperate climate, that is.
Our other, clearance sale, store-bought, grafted trees have leaf &/or grass mulch around them, but we planted this one before we realized how wonderful mulch is. We'll have to scrape up some forest litter (our forest is mostly alders) and mulch with it. Our compost never really gets to develop, since the deer get to it before it can compost. We have been fertilizing it with my husband's aquarium water, though--but that does nothing for preventing other plants from over growing it.