Try these plant guilds to grow soil and supercharge your trees’ health!

Helping bees is easy with our handy Food Forest Planting Guide: Buzzing Blooms for Bees

June 4, 2016

Summer is here and so many fruit trees are bursting with Summer sweetness — apples, stone fruits like cherries, peaches, plums, etc, and more (our apple trees are in full swing, as you can see in the photos below).

Our grand heirloom apple tree — some 40 years old, with at least 5 apple varieties grafted to it — is in full fruit…

…as is our 20+ year-old Golden Delicious apple tree.

Now’s a perfect time to think long-term health for your fruit trees, young and old. Adding a plant guild or polyculture around each of your fruit trees can boost their health and production and grow soil in your yard and farm.

We wrote about the parts of a typical plant guild here, which include:

Fixers – Convert Nitrogen and other nutrients into a usable form in the soil for your tree. Includes plants likecomfrey, clover, vetch, dandelion, legumes, and alfalfa.

Accumulators – Deep rooted plants that help break up soil for better water and air absorption. Includesyarrow, comfrey, amaranth, borage, dandelion, and chicory.

Suppressors – Help prevent the growth of weeds and grasses. Includes clover, oregano, thyme, columbine, daffodil, and chives.

Mulchers – Often perennial plants that provide a regular supply of organic matter for the soil under your tree, as they drop leaves. Examples include artichoke, comfrey, and rhubarb.

Repellers – Plants that help repel harmful insects and other critters. Good examples include coriander, daisies, sweet alyssum, nasturtium, mexican marigold, chives, daffodil.

Pollinator Plants – Feed your trees and help the bees! See some of our favorite pollinator-friendly plants here.

Here's a few fruit tree plant guild examples. Feel free to swipe these or come up with your own combinations:

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