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Apple Guild, starting in October  RSS feed

 
Posts: 1
Location: Twin Cities, MN
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Hello all permies!

I have two apple trees (a Honeycrisp and a Wolf River) that I planted in the spring of 2016.  I'm sad to say that they are currently planted in grass, with little stone walls around them and mulch inside the walls.  Nothing permaculture-y about their world right now. I didn't know any better back then, okay?

Anyway, next spring I will be creating guilds around the two trees.  In the meantime - is there anything that I should be doing this late fall/winter to prepare them?  Should I remove the mulch?  Compost around the base? 

I am in Minneapolis (zone 4a) and aside from being grown in little walls with mulch, the trees are in good shape. 
 
pollinator
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Michele Ess wrote:Hello all permies!

I have two apple trees (a Honeycrisp and a Wolf River) that I planted in the spring of 2016.  I'm sad to say that they are currently planted in grass, with little stone walls around them and mulch inside the walls.  Nothing permaculture-y about their world right now. I didn't know any better back then, okay?

Anyway, next spring I will be creating guilds around the two trees.  In the meantime - is there anything that I should be doing this late fall/winter to prepare them?  Should I remove the mulch?  Compost around the base? 

I am in Minneapolis (zone 4a) and aside from being grown in little walls with mulch, the trees are in good shape. 




I did the same thing in the beginning.  

Once I got my head on straight I dropped cardboard between the trees and piled wood chips between and around the trees, to join them into an island.  Don't remove the mulch, if anything add more mulch.

In Spring I went in with black locust, cosmos, mint, garlic chives, Siberian pea shrub, and comfrey.  Because my place has so much grass, I kind of build little islands, and then join them as I plant out.   I think of the planted areas as locations where I can propagate into other parts of the space.  Kind of eating away at the grass

Check out the following video for an idea of doing simple guilds.  I think this is a great way to move towards full-blown polyculture, especially if you are doing it with a shovel.



 
Posts: 1092
Location: Green County, Kentucky
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Scott Foster wrote:

Michele Ess wrote:Hello all permies!

I have two apple trees (a Honeycrisp and a Wolf River) that I planted in the spring of 2016.  I'm sad to say that they are currently planted in grass, with little stone walls around them and mulch inside the walls.  Nothing permaculture-y about their world right now. I didn't know any better back then, okay?

Anyway, next spring I will be creating guilds around the two trees.  In the meantime - is there anything that I should be doing this late fall/winter to prepare them?  Should I remove the mulch?  Compost around the base? 

I am in Minneapolis (zone 4a) and aside from being grown in little walls with mulch, the trees are in good shape. 




I did the same thing in the beginning.  

Once I got my head on straight I dropped cardboard between the trees and piled wood chips between and around the trees, to join them into an island.  Don't remove the mulch, if anything add more mulch.

In Spring I went in with black locust, cosmos, mint, garlic chives, Siberian pea shrub, and comfrey.  Because my place has so much grass, I kind of build little islands, and then join them as I plant out.   I think of the planted areas as locations where I can propagate into other parts of the space.  Kind of eating away at the grass

Check out the following video for an idea of doing simple guilds.  I think this is a great way to move towards full-blown polyculture, especially if you are doing it with a shovel.





Are you sure you want black locust in there?  They make large trees -- the place I'm buying in Kentucky has about eight huge ones in the back yard that I'm going to have to take out (partly because the house would be in danger if a tree or large branch fell, and partly because they shade the best garden site).  I'll use the wood for fence posts and firewood, and may plant some more of them in better locations, but I certainly wouldn't put them in among my fruit trees -- the mature black locusts are at least fifty feet tall.  Oh, and I may leave the stumps of the ones we are removing and see if they will coppice -- I could keep the growth low enough to prevent it from shading the garden.

Kathleen
 
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:Oh, and I may leave the stumps of the ones we are removing and see if they will coppice -- I could keep the growth low enough to prevent it from shading the garden.

Kathleen



They will work well as coppiced or pollarded trees.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Todd Parr wrote:

Kathleen Sanderson wrote:Oh, and I may leave the stumps of the ones we are removing and see if they will coppice -- I could keep the growth low enough to prevent it from shading the garden.

Kathleen



They will work well as coppiced or pollarded trees.



That's what I thought -- I'm glad.  Now we'll have a perpetual supply of fence posts, at least!

Kathleen
 
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Michele Ess wrote:Hello all permies!

I have two apple trees (a Honeycrisp and a Wolf River) that I planted in the spring of 2016.  I'm sad to say that they are currently planted in grass, with little stone walls around them and mulch inside the walls.  Nothing permaculture-y about their world right now. I didn't know any better back then, okay?

Anyway, next spring I will be creating guilds around the two trees.  In the meantime - is there anything that I should be doing this late fall/winter to prepare them?  Should I remove the mulch?  Compost around the base? 

I am in Minneapolis (zone 4a) and aside from being grown in little walls with mulch, the trees are in good shape. 



How far out from the trunks are these little walls? No fruit tree should have mulch touching the trunk, that invited voles to chew the bark off in the wintertime. It can also create a too moist for the bark environment that can lead to diseases.

What to do, pull the mulch back so there is at least 6 inches between the mulch and the trunk bark. Next would be to decide if you like your little stone walls or not, if not, then just remove them and extend the mulch out further so you have a nice donut of mulch around the trunk.
Then just wait for spring. If you noticed any yellowing of the leaves this year, use about a half cup of Epsom salts around the trees in the spring, just before bud out is perfect timing.

Redhawk
 
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Location: South West, Indiana, USA
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I'm really interested in guilds around fruit trees but am concerned about mice and vole damage to the trees.  Thoughts?
 
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Welcome to permies!
The first six inches around the tree trunk ought to be mulched with rocks, pebbles, or something like that. As Redhawk addressed, this discourages the voles. Then continue with wood chips or other plant based mulch and the guild.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Victor Shelton wrote:I'm really interested in guilds around fruit trees but am concerned about mice and vole damage to the trees.  Thoughts?



voles and mice are very similar, the difference is that voles will travel just under the ground surface if they need to, and both do not like onions or garlic and will avoid areas where these are growing.

To protect trees you first want clear soil next to the trunk, a distance of at least 6 inches works to make them feel exposed to predation and that can help keep them away.
Next is to bury 1/4" wire mesh (hardware cloth in the USA) at least 6 inches deep around the tree and this mesh needs to extend at least 8 inches above the ground, this keeps them from being able to sneak in for a bark meal.
Cats, feral or domestic are also good, nothing like a predator to keep prey animals away. Dogs can do this job but they are far less efficient at this job.

For guilds to work best you want to have space between the guild plantings and the tree trunk, a minimum of one foot will work if you have the mesh installed at that distance from the trunk, better would be 1.5 to 2 feet all the way around the trunk for the inside edge.
Double row or triple row plantings of garlic, onions, or any other deterent plants act as a type of insurance when used as one layer of protection combined with at least the mesh option.
 
Victor Shelton
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Onions, garlic or chives would be easy enough, especially the chives...have lots of them and garlic.  I would think the chives would like the shade better than the garlic.  Some of these trees are 15+ years old, not sure I could dig 6 inches down, but I can see where the hardware cloth would be a good idea...maybe with stones on the top of the soil too.  I've never had issues with mice or voles on trees with just grass around them, but have with mulch, especially wood chips or sawdust. Thanks.
 
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