If you want to have the best producing fruit trees, it’s important to keep competing plants away from your backyard orchard. There are a couple ways to suppress grass in your fruit tree guild.
Traditionally orchards consist of trees in rows, with grass in between. This make it easy for large equipment to pass between the rows, but it isn’t ideal for the health of the tree.
A better option is to suppress grass up to the drip line of your fruit trees so that the roots aren’t competing for nutrients. (The drip line is the edge of the leaves, and will increase each year as your tree grows). Instead of rows, imagine your trees as connected by concentric circles.
Under the canopy, you can lay down mulch and plant beneficial and useful plants that won’t compete with your tree’s root system. Grass is a major weed however, and it will try to creep in. An easy solution is to plant grass suppressing plants at the edge of the tree.
Plants That Suppress Grass
Some of the best grass suppressing plants also have other uses. Whenever you can get multiple uses out of the same plant do it! It will save you space and time!
Chives are a great option because they are useful in the kitchen as a garnish or spice. They add a nice mild flavor and are great for things such as egg dishes.
Chives also produce attractive flowers that are good for beneficial insects. Plus chives will come back year after year for you!
You can’t eat irises, and they only bloom in the spring, but boy are they pretty! Irises are a great plant for front yard fruit tree guilds because they are a traditional ornamental flower. They also multiply easily, so you can propogate your own and share with friends.
I currently have irises in my yard in San Antonio that came from my grandmother’s house in Utah, to my uncle’s house in Oregon, to my house in Oregon, and finally to my house here in San Antonio. These are the best sort of keepsake!
Like irises, daffodils are kind of a one trick pony. They are also poisonous, so don’t eat them! They’re great for suppressing grass in the early spring though, when it grows the most quickly.
Plus, if you plant daffodils, tulips, and irises in the same area you can have non-stop blooms all spring.
Daylilies are another attractive flower, and these can be edible too! The tuber can be dried and eaten. (Just don’t mistake it for a true lily, which grows from a bulb, not a tuber.)
Here is more information about preparing daylilies: Dining On Daylilies, Sustainably Wildcrafted Foods – Why We Care, and 8 Reasons To Grow Daylilies.
Garlic is one of my FAVORITE things to grow. Probably because it’s one of the few things I don’t kill! Garlic is super easy to grow. Plus, it’s super useful in the kitchen, and just about everybody knows how to use it.
It’s also a great option for around your fruit trees because it attract beneficial insects AND repel the noxious ones!
Here is more information on growing garlic: Planting Garlic is Easy! Here’s How To Do It, 3 Popular Ways of Preserving Garlic From Your Garden, and Growing Garlic For a Year’s Supply Is Practical.
A relative of both chives and garlic is leeks. This tall member of the onion family makes a handsome addition to fruit tree guilds with it’s large attractive flowers.
It comes with all the benefits of chives and garlic. Plus, it can be grown from scraps and then planted into your garden! That’s a win for homesteading on a budget! Here’s how to start it from scraps.
Grow some of these plants around the edges of your fruit trees to suppress grass. They will keep competing weeds out with little work on your part, look attractive, and attract useful pollinators!
Want more information on starting a fruit tree guild? Check out these posts:
- 55 Trees That Are Great For Fruit Tree Guilds
- What Are The Best Nitrogen Fixers?
- 17 Dynamic Accumulators You Need In Your Food Forest
- How To Plant Fruit Trees
- How To Start A Fruit Tree Guild
- Best Plants To Chop and Drop In Your Fruit Tree Guild
- 44 Insectiary Plants For Your Fruit Tree Guild
- The Most Popular Plants For Fruit Tree Guilds
- 16 Great Ground Covers For Your Fruit Tree Guild
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Friday 3rd of January 2020
Kathryn, I plant garlic and leeks around my fruit trees in my orchard within the drip line. Not only do they deter grass, but it keeps pesky squirrels away too. I even plant hot peppers just beyond the drip line for this very reason also. I've lost entire crops to these rodents.
Saturday 4th of January 2020
That's great it's been helping. I didn't know hot peppers work as well.