Ground cover under apple tree

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Wombat18

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Ground cover under apple tree
« on: August 14, 2009, 21:48 »
I have a large, mature apple tree with low hanging branches.  The ground under it was very overgrown with nettles and brambles when I took the allotment on, and I have never really got round to clearing it properly until now.  Can anyone suggest attractive ground cover that will grow under the tree and suppress the weeds without having an adverse effect on the tree or taking over the whole allotment?  If it is something that attracts beneficial insects so much the better.

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Paul Plots

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Re: Ground cover under apple tree
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2009, 22:46 »
A nice question Wombat18....

Trouble with most ground cover plants is their habit is to spread readily across the ground so anything that grows in shade successfully and spreads to block out weed growth will need some control or it will continue to spread onto the rest of the plot.

Do you want a perennial flowering plant or have you considered a seasonal veg crop?

Also; how near the surface is the tree's root system?
Never keep your wish-bone where your back-bone ought to be.

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Yorkie

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Re: Ground cover under apple tree
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2009, 23:24 »
On the final point from Learner, apple trees' root systems tend to be pretty shallow so you do need to make sure that you're not growing anything which will disturb them.
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once...

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Paul Plots

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Re: Ground cover under apple tree
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2009, 12:29 »
I think some off-cuts of astro-turf would do the job!!

Green and pleasant to look at, it wont sap any nutrients from the ground or disturb the tree's roots and it will supress weed growth. Every now and then you can flip it up and check for slugs lurking underneath, add a scattering of chicken pellets to feed the tree in the spring and generally forget about it.

Problem would be finding someone who has a decent size off cut or two.

Just a mad-minute thought  ::)

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missycat

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Re: Ground cover under apple tree
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2009, 16:17 »
Don't know what your defenition of pretty is but thought I'd show you what I did this year First Early potatoes and strawberries in tyres.
Next year I'm hoping to have heavy duty weed control fabric down covered by bark chippings and in the tyres I'll grow my First Early potatoes followed by any veg that can tolerate some shade...I am thinking about growing gooseberries 2 tyres high (easier to pick) but still to decide. Tree surgeon said it would be OK to grow in tyres under trees so long as I'm not covering too much of the tree's root area
allotment 10.06.09 004 (600 x 450).jpg

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Paul Plots

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Re: Ground cover under apple tree
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2009, 01:19 »
A good idea and nice solution missycat  ;)

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Trillium

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Re: Ground cover under apple tree
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2009, 18:05 »
Ideally, commercial orchards do an underplanting of alfalfa, but it can get out of control in a small garden. After you clear the majority of weeds, you could do a mulch with alfalfa pellets (not cubes) which is horse feed, water them to make them unpalatable to rodents, and then direct seed some white clover. Its another green manure which isn't as rampant but covers a lot of bases.

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Swing Swang

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Re: Ground cover under apple tree
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2009, 08:25 »
You didn't say if you wanted a living ground cover - I'd mulch with whatever fited in with your garden plan. Bark, carpet, astroturf, weed supressing membrane and shingle etc. could then use post ans planters when desired.

SS

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Goosegirl

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Re: Ground cover under apple tree
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2009, 16:48 »
I have an old Bramley and I planted primroses, geranium macrorrhizome, some ferns that tolerate drier conditions such as hart's tongue, Bowle's golden grass, Solomon's Seal, tiarella wherryii and heucheras. As long as there is plenty of organic matter in the soil and it is mulched well to contain moisture, that and the the dappled shade should suit them fine.
Spring always comes when we sow the seeds of life.



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