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Growing veggies under fruit trees?

 
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Hello all!
I’m inquiring how close I can have my apple trees to my actual market style garden… zucchinis, tomatoes that sort of thing. I have seen some people who have veggies right next to or underneath, I’m curious as to what the benefits or negatives would be and if I should do it as well! I would love to get some apple trees in my smallish backyard… I’m just worried about them taking too much from the veggies. I believe I read Charles Dowding didn’t grow much around his fruit trees because they pulled too many nutrients in the earth/compost away from his veggies.
Thank you for any advice!
 
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I have never grown anything under fruit trees except pinto beans.

I see no reason not to if a person has a small space.

Here is a thread along with those same ideas:

https://permies.com/t/139169/Compatible-Fruit-Trees-Vegetables
 
pollinator
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I would say that it depends on your climate. When I lived in the SF Bay Area, growing veggies under fruit trees didn't work because the weather is so mild, they needed all the sun they could get. Where I live now, in southern Oregon, nothing really likes full summer sun, so under trees is great.

Also some tree roots are likely to encroach on your veggie growing areas, I had this issue with a fig tree. Maybe others aren't so bad.
 
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I agree with Stacy. I think it depends on your climate and the type of fruit tree in your climate.  A very common permaculture set up is to put flower bulbs in the drip line of your fruit tree.  Especially things like daffodils, which are poisonous to many critters. They wake up the soil and get everything moving and then fade as the tree wakes up.  Something like plums are perfectly comfortable in my climate,so I have various, diverse edible weeds growing under it.  Not grass.  Don't put anything growing too close to the trunk. Keep it all a foot away. Not even loose mulch,because it will become a home to voles, who will live there in the winter and eat your tree cambium until they kill the tree.  I definitely wouldn't grow vegies under a tree that's marginal in my climate, like say a lemon tree.  I would want it to get all of the nutrition it wants and monitor it closely.
JOhn S
PDX OR
 
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I agree with the comments above about climate: water and shade. The other thing that may be a factor to consider is the age of the tree, and it's vigour.
When first planted you want the trees to establish well and put on good root and top growth to establish a fruiting framework reasonably quickly. The normal advice is to keep an area about 4ft square clear of vegetation and/or well mulched at least for the first year or two. In an old fashioned orchard grass was then left to grow between the trees to actually reduce their vigour, so they put more of their effort into growing flowers and fruit than branches. (This is just my memories from what I have read!). So it seems to me that once established, growing vegetables around the trees will be fine.
If anything, a rich growing area for the veggies (assuming annuals) would be less good for the tree, than the tree for the veggies. I suspect perennial vegetables would be less of a concern, since their deep, established roots will mean the soil needs to be less rich and the roots will share nutrients with the tree and vice versa.  Any roots that you want to harvest may cause root disturbance which may be something to avoid if possible, although in good soil many roots like carrots can pull straight out sometimes without digging....it depends!
 
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David the Good recently released a book about 'Market Row Gardening' as he calls it, and has several Youtube videos showing it in use. He plants various trees in the 3 foot veggie rows as bare roots and cuts them back hard to a knee+ height where they will then branch out, and just posted a video explaining that to keep the trees from shading out and taking over you keep them pruned back, perhaps espalier style, and that should work.
 
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I've been working on combining annuals and perennials in my gardens.
I use raised lasagna beds for annuals with the idea that they will feed the tree next to them.

I am now pruning and festooning my trees to keep them easy to  harvest and not shading out the vegetables.
Even if the shade gets heavy, winter and spring crops should do quite well.
 
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I finally found a study that I remember reading in the past. It's titled

"Root Development of Young Delicious Apple Trees as Affected by Soils and by Cultural Treatments"

W. W. Yocum, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

I found it amazing how far the roots will grow in only 2 or 3 years.

"The development of root systems was extremely rapid, the roots reaching a Maximum depth of 8.8 and a lateral spread of 12 feet the first year, and 14.8 feet and 21.2 feet the second. During the third year the maximum lateral spread reached 29.4 feet and the maximum depth reached was 17 feet. This greatly exceeded the lateral spread of three-year-old tops, which was about 6 feet, and the height of the trees, which was 7 to 8 feet. "

Also:
"The root systems responded readily to changes in soil environment. Under clean culture a generalized root system was produced. The roots penetrated deeply and spread widely in such a manner that a very large volume of soil was thoroughly occupied. In competition with corn there was little lateral spread and most of the root growth was vertical. Under straw mulch the roots had a pronounced shallow, lateral development. Under sod mulch both tops and roots were dwarfed."

And finally:
"Corn planted 7 feet from the trees had little effect upon tree-root development the first year, but when planted nearer to the tree row it resulted in dwarfing the root system. When planted 3.5 feet from the trees for two years, the average lateral spread of surface roots toward the corn was 8.4 feet, while below four feet in depth the roots were generally limited in spread to four feet. With corn planted 5 and 7 feet from the tree row, the average lateral spread of horizontal roots was 9.4 and 10.2 feet respectively. The average spread of roots of cultivated trees in loess soil was 15.5 feet after two years of growth. "

I was amazed at how extensive the root growth was, But this was in very good soil, not clay like I have here. I also noticed that straw and sod mulch adversely affected root development.
 
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ive planted right under my trees on the south face with no issues. i wouldnt do that with shallow rooted bushes like blueberries cane fruit or elder as they might compete. all my alliums are under my fruit trees hopefully deterring pests
 
I suggest huckleberry pie. But the only thing on the gluten free menu is this tiny ad:
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