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Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:30 am
by fruitfly
Any suggestions welcome as to what can be planted around a cherry tree. It's about 4'-5' high and I've just put it in the ground from a pot. There's about 34" square of soil around it, but the tree is not central in this roughly square space because of approximately 5' fences along two sides that make a corner.

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:31 pm
by diggernotdreamer
What did you have in mind, there are lots of things that would grow under a tree that are ornamental, spring bulbs, polyantha, forget me nots, sweet woodruff, hellbores, euphorbia or edible crops, nasturtium, salads, chard

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:46 pm
by fruitfly
I was worried about the opposite of companion planting when putting some things near each other might affect their growth, in particular I wouldn't want anything to disturb the fruiting of a tree.

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:58 pm
by diggernotdreamer
Just stick to annuals and shallow rooted plants rather than perennial plants or small shrubs which would be in more competition with the tree

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:29 pm
by Weedo
Most things will grow under the tree without affecting it other than competiton for nutrients and moisture- I would avoid anything in the Rosaceae family that could provide a host for cherry pests and diseases, in particular any that retain fruit or leaves over winter. Also avoid planting close to the trunk so that insects can't girdle the young tree and avoid cultivating very often to avoid stimulating the stock - I presume it is a grafted tree?

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:38 am
by bonniethomas06
I have been reading up on permaculture recently and it seems to be perfectly acceptable to plant fruit bushes around taller fruit trees - one scheme I was reading about had Ribes species like blackcurrants planted around the base of apple trees. Personally I am too gutless to try this, but I suppose in a forest style situation, blackberries grow underneath taller trees?

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:06 pm
by diggernotdreamer
I have planted currant bushes under mature apple trees and was not that impressed with the results, while they can tolerate some shade, they fruit much better given more light. My currants bushes never thrived well, hardly produced any fruit and that was in spite of me providing a good bed for them to live in, I dug them out, replanted them in Ireland and they are still doing well 8 years later and last year I must have picked 50kg of fruit from 8 bushes, which compared to a few bowlfuls under the apple trees is an improvement. The best blackberries that I see are the ones that grow through trees and get up high, the ones more shaded and lower down seem smaller and bitter

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:27 pm
by Weedo
Permaculture!- likely to get your mouth washed out with soap using that word around here, particularly in the sub-tropics.

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:27 pm
by diggernotdreamer
Weedo wrote:Permaculture!- likely to get your mouth washed out with soap using that word around here, particularly in the sub-tropics.


What was that noise, oh it was Bill Mollison turning in his grave - I thought he was one of yours?

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:28 am
by bonniethomas06
Really Weedo? I thought it started in Aus?

That's interesting to know DND - kind of the reason why I haven't risked it, I can see the forest garden argument but it also makes sense that plants need light and not to compete for the soil.

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:47 pm
by diggernotdreamer
I am doing the sort of gardening I do from instinct, I had never heard of permaculture when I started in 1986, it would have been a bit niche and of course we didn't have the internet, we had to learn from other people we met. A lot of what I do is from pure observation of the local conditions, thinking outside the box a bit. A friend gave me a permaculture book in the 90's because he thought that was was I was doing, but I don't really follow any particular path. Instinct is what we should be relying on a bit more, what makes real sense to us, I had a feeling the currants were not going to thrive, but I gave it a go in spite of my misgivings, the blackbirds were happy with the meagre offerings, but they are much happier now with the fatter juicier berries I leave them after we have taken what we want.

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:14 pm
by Weedo
DND - there is a world of difference between the theory of permaculture and how people actually do it. A great many invasive species are planted in so called permaculture systems and it is common for permaculturists to illegally import species they want - using "sustainability" as an excuse (you can find video etc. on the web on how to smuggle plants into Australia). Also, many people eventually wake up to the fact that permaculture requires work (not set & forget) and abandon their jungles. We currently get 2 or 3 new exotic weeds establishing in the NSW sub-tropical zone each year, all from deliberate plantings by alternative lifestylers.

However, as a horticulturist, environmentalist and natural resource manager I agree with most of the principles - Permaculture, Natural Sequence Farming, Keyline Cropping, organic agriculture etc. Unfortunately the implementation is very poor and on too small a scale to be effective.

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:54 am
by Green Aura
Weedo wrote:there is a world of difference between the theory of permaculture and how people actually do it.


Absolutely.

One of the basic principles is using native species, although there are huge debates that go on over whether that's necessary or not, or how far back something needs to have been introduced to count as native.

Weedo wrote:many people eventually wake up to the fact that permaculture requires work


I think some people definitely see Permaculture as an easy option, which underlies their basic lack of understanding of Paermaculture principles and practice.

Part of the problem is that Permaculture courses are really expensive, as are the (good) text books, so people pick and choose stuff off the net without ever seeing the whole picture. While I can understand that those who have paid a small fortune to train want to recoup some of their expenditure and make a living, I fear it sometimes causes more harm than good keeping it such a closed shop.

If you're interested in forest gardening have a look at Jacks and Toesmeier's books - they're fantastic, but at about £50 each somewhat prohibitive.

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:04 pm
by diggernotdreamer
DND - there is a world of difference between the theory of permaculture and how people actually do it

I agree completely, which is why I don't follow any particular methods, I just can't be doing with something that is almost evangelical, it also stops you from exploring and trialing yourself. So many people say to me oh I am going to plant a food forest as if that is it, they can then sit back and harvest the fruits of their non labour. If we wanted to be really environmentally friendly, we should just stop cultivating land. There are loads of non native species in the British Isles which cause no problems as far as we can see, but of course there are others like Japanese Knotweed which in my opinion is one of the worst offenders. I have New Zealand flatworm on my land, brought in with imported plants, can I put them in a box and send them back do you think. Pandora's box is open, unfortunately, a lot of things cannot be recalled and people will always break the rules for their own comfort.

Re: Planting under cherry tree

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:41 am
by Flo
Back to plating under a cherry tree - my fruit trees get foxgloves but not so close as to grow into the branches, nasturtiums, red clover, borage, forget me nots, phacelia - anything of the annual sort (well except for the biannual foxgloves) that drops seeds for another year than is good for the compost heap. These seem to attract pollinators which are good for the trees as well as the compost heap.