We have cut swales and will be planting some appletrees soon. We are located in Wisconsin zone 5A, and I was interested in suggestions for what other trees/nuts/anything else that people could recommend. I would like to try and get a lemon tree here by making a small sun trap with stones too. What are some suggestions for companion plants to apple trees? I have heard that rhubarb is nice because the large leaves will also help funnel water to the newly planted trees. Also, can anyone offer some ideas to keep the deer from nibbling the new plants? Any advice would be much appreciated, thank you!
Ryan, Pears or plums, Mulberry can be nice to have. Chestnuts or walnuts. Berry bushes and nitrogen fixing plants. If I was to do mine over I would plant my trees on contour strips, swales. Then graze sheep or something in between the tree rows. Trees would be protected by fence. I am now using electric, it might keep the deer away also.
Do you grow annual garden crops too? I have found that one of the best ways to get food forest/orchard going is to just plant vegetables, corn, whatever all around the new trees. Prepare the area as you would any other for annuals, and then plant your trees and perennials in there too. These will benefit hugely from the additional water and attention primarily directed at the annuals, and you will get food yields immediately from the area, making it more rewarding to work in. Keep growing garden crops there until the trees start to shade the area enough to make them unproductive and then let your perennials fill in. The permaculture word for this is managed succession. It is much much better to establish new trees and perennials in patches or clusters rather than as isolated plants out in former pasture or woodland.....these are much more difficult to fence, water, and otherwise get established....
This is a great thread. Any photos Joyce? They can act as the before photos, even though you have a good start with 4 trees planted.
posted 6 years ago
Hi Jennifer, Nope, - good idea. Will do it!
posted 6 years ago
Thanks for the insightful information! Ideally (landowner permitting), I will be incorporating hugelkulture beds next to the trees so we can get vegetable production as well. Perhaps if I can't get this done as soon as I would like, I will plant some hardy vegetable crops right near the tree--good advice. What are some good crops beside the corn you mentioned? I was thinking about some jerusalem artichokes, sunflower, and rhubarb. Suggestions for good pollenator attractors? The area we are planting is roughly 5 acres and all will be planted on the downhill side of our contour swales. Since the land manager is a traditional style vegetable farmer (tilling, weeding, etc) I am having a harder time getting them to try the hugelkulture, but I really think this is the way to go. She just needs a little solid evidence to for convincing I want to avoid fencing but I have a feeling this might be a little difficult, at least in the begining. Also, has anyone had any luck with Sepp Holzer's method of shocking the trees before planting? It sounds like a great way to get hardier trees from the get go...
We are in North Central Wisconsin 4b, and are two years into your project : >
Page 11 in the attached EBook on guilds has some fruit tree guild plants. We had read comfrey was great, but many advise against it, as becomes overwhelming, so we would caution against it.
You might consider using the upright dead pole maples found in the woods and dried branches for your fencing material. Use good quality screws or they will strip frequently in the hard dried wood.
Try to avoid planting them so close to the woods edge like we did: they lose the sun by 2pm this way. Of course, they get sun by 7.
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posted 6 years ago
With more scattered new trees I've been tucking some winter squash next to them. This spreads out under and around the tree, helps suppress weeds, and also tells me when it and the new tree need water with it's obviously wilting leaves. Comfrey is quick to indicate water stress this way too. For perennials I've been adding aromatics like mints and beebalms, and bulbs like garlic, onions. Sometimes poisonous bulbs like daffodils, since we also have a gopher problem.