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WHAT IS COMPANION PLANTING?
Fruit trees, just like other plants, have likes and dislikes. Whether requiring or preferring a certain diet or not being able to grow well if planted too near certain other plants, you must pay attention to these traits. Companion Planting means plants getting along with their “neighbors.”
Certain plants will secrete chemicals into the ground that another plant might not like. Similarly, they might gobble up an unusual amount of nutrients that will leave other plants feeling deprived. For instance, all fruit trees do not like having grass grow right up to their trunk. Grass inhibits their growth. Keep it at least a foot away from the trunk of any fruit tree.
Apple trees do not like being planted too close to a walnut tree. Walnut tree roots secrete a chemical that impairs the growth of some plants. Likewise, walnut leaves have the same effect. (Do not use them for mulch.)
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All fruit trees dislike being near a conifer for the same reason (chemicals secreted from the roots,) plus conifers will greedily eat up the nutrients in the soil that nearby plants and trees require.
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Apple trees don’t like being planted too close to potatoes.
Apricot trees don’t like to be anywhere near tomato plants.
Cherry tree roots suppress the growth of wheat and make potatoes less resistant to blight and other problems.
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Now for the “likes.” Cherry trees like lime and nitrogen. Pear trees like a lot of iron.
Old timers would use rusty nails in the planting hole. They deteriorate slowly, like a time release fertilizer. If you’ve ever found a horseshoe buried in an odd place in your yard, there’s a chance some long ago pioneer put it there deliberately when planting a fruit tree.
Study your chosen tree variety carefully and provide it with the nutrients it needs so you will be rewarded at harvest time.
HAPPY PLANTING! Susan
For more in-depth information on GROWING YOUR OWN FRUIT