Easy Summer Fruit Tree Plant Guilds

Plum Tree Sample Plant Guild

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

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:

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

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

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

  4. 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.

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

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

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

Sample Apple Tree Plant Guild

Sample Peach Tree Plant Guild

Cherry Tree Sample Plant Guild

Plum Tree Sample Plant Guild

There’s no limit to the combinations of plants you can experiment with. The best rule of thumb is to go for the right blend of the plants that’ll boost your tree and soil health AND that make you smile. Happy planting!

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