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Apples and onions?

 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Somewhere, possibly from The Designers Manual, I had gotten the idea that I should plant bulbs under my apple trees, so I planted a number of kinds of onions. Recently someone here on the board mentioned that alliums might stunt the growth of fruit trees. My apple trees have never done really well, they're youngish trees, and only in the third year of producing apples, and the foliage is sparse and rather pale. Should I remove the onions to another location? Would it be best to leave the area directly over the roots free of other plants and just have mulch there? What do you think?
 
Shawn Harper
Posts: 360
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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I have alliums at the base of some of my parents fruit trees and they seem fine. i used garlic if it matters. Although you should have other things there too like comfrey.
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Somewhere, possibly from The Designers Manual, I had gotten the idea that I should plant bulbs under my apple trees, so I planted a number of kinds of onions. Recently someone here on the board mentioned that alliums might stunt the growth of fruit trees. My apple trees have never done really well, they're youngish trees, and only in the third year of producing apples, and the foliage is sparse and rather pale. Should I remove the onions to another location? Would it be best to leave the area directly over the roots free of other plants and just have mulch there? What do you think?


Tyler, after seeing what Bryant had to say about it, I planted onions (thank you for them, btw) in a different area. I do have comfrey, daffodils, mint, and a few other plants growing around my young apple trees and they seem to be doing very well. I have plants growing almost against the trunk of the trees, and out for a few feet all around.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Thankyou. I've never been able to get comfrey to grow.

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Tyler, for those trees you have that aren't doing so well, you might try this trick.

Get some B-12 or B Complex vitamins at the grocery store (they are good for humans as well). Take 4-8 tablets and dissolve them in one gallon of water.
Dilute this solution 4 parts water to one part solution, apply to the drip line of each tree, this will stimulate new root growth which will help the trees.

Once your apple trees are well established (4 to 6 years old in the ground) you can plant alums at least a foot inside the drip line, that way the feeding roots are far enough away that the alums won't act so allopathic to the trees.

B Complex usually helps more than straight B-12, the trace minerals and Vit.C seem to be appreciated by our trees. So much so I give them all two gallons of dilution each spring as a wake up tonic.

If you can find it, Sea-90 is a super addition, it only takes 1/2 cup per tree and you add it once a year or once every two years. This stuff is very interesting, it really improves flavor as well as providing lots of trace minerals (over 95) for tree health.
This stuff also seems to help trees hold on to more fruit. I now have to pick off extra fruit so branches don't break from excess weight on the branches.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Thank you Bryant! I will definitely give those suggestions a try! I think I will gradually move the onions away to different locations, try those supplements, and maybe try again with comfrey.

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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Comfrey is great stuff. If you can find 1-2 year old plants instead of crowns or cuttings, they are worth the money since they establish quickly.

We are growing comfrey for wound healing, I just found a place to buy 1 and 2 year old plants and plan on getting a few for a new area. (Coe's Comfrey)
 
Todd Parr
Posts: 573
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I bought my first comfrey plants from Coe's Comfrey and was very happy with them. He sent me extra and we talked on the phone for awhile about various things. A very nice person to do business with.
 
Roy Hinkley
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Location: S. Ontario Canada
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I think Borage serves the same function as comfrey, possibly not quite as well. It grows very well up here, maybe not so much in your zone.
 
Casie Becker
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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I planted a small section of borage in this garden last spring. Everything in this picture self seeded from that strand. It was easy to weed out the few that were in unsupportable locations. They're strictly an annual here. When the weather heats up the whole stand will die without supplemental watering. I don't bother giving this ornamental bed much watering.

The small white flowers showing to the left of the borage are frog fruit (or matchstick plant). It's a nearly evergreen, native ground cover. I encourage it to grow where ever I can get it to spread. It's used as a lawn substitute and in the flowerbeds. Without any fertilization or supplemental watering it spreads to cover the ground in a solid carpet of tiny white flowers which all the local insects seem to visit. I think there's something like 30 butterflies who rely on it for larval stages and I have personally seen as many as eight different species of pollinators visit a patch during a ten minute period. The blooms are just starting now, but they continue until the sunlight gets too low in late fall. I've seen this flourish in full sun, on the edge of a road, where people regularly park on top of it. It's become available in local nurseries, but chances are you can find some to transplant from nearby. It's not edible for us, but it's hard to beat for low maintenance habitat support.

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Tyler Ludens
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Posts: 8987
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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This companion planting guide lists chives as companions for apples, so maybe I won't move them after all! http://www.geofflawtononline.com/2016/03/02/companion-planting-guide/

http://www.permaculturenews.org/resources_files/Poster_GDN_Com_Plant.pdf
 
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