Growing pest- and disease-free apple trees in the home orchard can be challenging, especially if you elect not to use chemical pesticides to kill or deter pests from taking up residence in your trees. Many common garden vegetables, flowers and herbs have been shown to be beneficial in keeping such pests from attacking your plants, including apple trees. Still other plants attract what are known as beneficial insects, which feed on the pests that attack garden plants and fruit trees.
Garlic growing nearby will repel aphids from fruit trees, roses, cucumbers, peas, lettuce and celery. A tea made from raw garlic cloves steeped in plain water and poured into the soil around your apple tree will help repel codling moths, carrot root fly, root maggots, snails and Japanese beetles. Bury capsules of time-release garlic near the base of your apple tree. This will keep deer away.
Planted under apple trees, chives decrease the chances of the tree contracting apple scab disease. Position the chives in a ring around the trunk, about 6 inches away. Planted this closely, chives will also discourage insects from climbing the trunk.
Nasturtiums are generally used to control whiteflies and squash bugs. Planted in a ring around an apple tree, they will attract wooly aphids to the nasturtiums, thereby minimizing the damage to your apple tree from these pests. Plant the nasturtiums in a ring about 2 feet from the trunk of the tree.
Clover attracts many beneficial insects, which are predators of insect pests that eat and destroy garden crops. Planted in a ring around apple trees, clover will attract predators that eat the wooly aphid.
Lavender has long been used as a moth deterrent indoors, keeping them away from wool clothing and linens. Planted under and around fruit trees, lavender can deter the codling moth from laying its eggs in the apple tree.
Plant leeks near apple trees and they will improve the growth of your tree. They also repel carrot flies. The leeks should be planted within 15 feet of the apple tree that you want to protect.