I have a new fascination – fruit tree pruning. And I’ve discovered a permaculture method for making little havens of activity under each fruit tree – a tree guild.
I love learning this kind of information, and am working away in each of our gardens, ensuring that all the fruit trees get an ecosystem to work under them. Do you have this in your garden?
Here at Katrina’s Kitchen Garden we are growing many of the plants below, and are more than happy to do a special ‘tree guild’ session in your garden. Now is a great time of year to do this.
Some of the plants your trees would love at their base are:
Attractors – Flowers & Food for you, pollinators, Beneficial bugs
[Calendula, Yarrow, Bee Balm, and a heap of other flowers]
Repellors – repel damaging insects & pests.
[Nasturtium, Marigold, Alyssum, Daffodil, Coriander, Daisies, Basil, Chives]
Suppressors – Prevent Weed & Grass Growth
[Clover, Oregano, Chives, Leeks, Garlic, Thyme, Columbine]
Accumulators – Bring up deep nutrients in soil.
[Yarrow, Chicory, Dandelion, Fennel, Comfrey]
Mulchers – for adding organic matter and water retention
[Comfrey, Artichoke, Rhubarb]
Fixers – Fix Nitrogen & other minerals
[Clover, Comfrey, Beans, Peas, Chamomile]
Thanks Zumbido Vida Bee Sanctuary for the great infographics online. They recommend the following example for an apple tree: Comfrey (Mulcher, Fixer), Yarrow (Accumulator, Attractor), Clover (Suppressor) and Nasturtium (Repeller)
You can get ideas for building your own tree guilds in many places, but I love collecting ideas on Pinterest, so I can compare different ideas without having to print anything or keep a physical library.
I highly recommended the book: The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips.
Take a look at my Pinterest board Fruit Tree Guild for more suggestions.