Fruit trees are a great addition to a backyard or front yard garden. The spring blossoms are as colorful as the fruit that appears later. You may be looking at the bare ground under your fruit trees and wonder what to plant around them. Companion planting has been around for a long time and is the best way to choose plants to work in around your fruit trees. In companion planting, certain plants grow together help to repel insects and offer nutrients the other plants need. This creates a more conducive ecosystem for your fruit tree and the other plants around it.
Plants from the allium family, such as onions, garlic, chives leaks and shallots, repel fruit tree borers. The flathead apple tree borer is prevalent in the United States and Canada. This insect attacks the woody parts of apple and pear trees (trunk, branches and roots). The peach tree borer attacks peach, plum, cherry and other stone fruit trees.
Tansy, also known as mugwart, cow bitter, bitter buttons and common tansy, is a perennial (meaning that it comes back every year) flowering herb. It repels ants, flies, moths and other flying insects that are harmful to fruit trees.
The codling moth, deterred by nasturtiums, is a serious pest to apple trees. It will also feed off of pear, walnut, quince and other fruit trees. The larva damages the fruit by tunneling to the core. Nasturtiums planted at the base of fruit trees will climb the trunk, sending moths away.
Marigolds seem to benefit every type of plant, including fruit trees. They drive away harmful insects above ground and cut worms below ground that target companion plants. These flowers are annuals, but they reseed themselves. So, you may not need to replant unless you don’t like the location of the new plants in the following year.
Plants that add nitrogen to the soil, such as lucerne, acacias and clover, benefit the development and growth of fruit trees. If your fruit trees are incorporated into your vegetable garden, you can plant peas and beans beneath them, which also add nitrogen to the soil. Just make sure the vegetables are situated to get enough sunshine.
Different plants can help with pollination by attracting bees. Spring bulbs are the first flowers of the season and will draw in bees and other beneficial flying insects early in the season. Fruit trees benefit by association. Marjoram, lemon balm and borage also attract pollinators.