Companion Planting for Fruit Trees: Natural Insect Repellents
Companion Planting for Fruit Trees
While modern agriculture relies heavily on toxic chemicals to raise crops and control insects, home gardeners are reaping the benefits of companion planting; the natural way to attract beneficial insects and avoid the use of pesticides. Fruit trees can be protected if the right plants are used nearby. The method of course is not new.
What is companion planting?
Companion planting is about creating a natural environment in the garden to encourage the quality growth of nearby crops. Putting the right plants together enhances growth, improves soil and controls the destructive insect population yet attracts beneficial insects. Nature is balanced.
What is the "Three Sisters" method of companion planting?
The "Three Sisters" method of companion planting was how Native Americans created a system of companion planting. This system provided a balanced diet of corn, beans, and squash from a single plot of land.
How did it work?
The corn stalks provided support for climbing beans, which did not compete with the corn - and provided its own nitrogen - while the squash created a dense cover that shaded out weeds which would have affected the corn and beans.
What are some companion plants for fruit trees?
1 - Garlic - Use garlic to repel aphids, caterpillars, mites, and Japanese beetles. Garlic is considered a beneficial nursery plant because it attracts good insects by providing shelter, pollen and nectar.
Peach Trees - Plant garlic at the base to repel borers and prevent leaf curl.
Apple Trees - Plant near apple trees to protect against apple scab.
2 - Comfrey - Comfrey is beneficial for the avocado tree and most other fruit trees because it serves as a trap crop for slugs. A trap crop pushes insects away from other essential plants because of its disagreeable taste or a bad smell. The comfrey plant will also accumulate calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It will help keep surrounding soil moist and rich.
3 - Chives - Chives, like garlic, is one of the most popular repellents because of its powerful ability to repel beetles and aphids. Plant chives to prevent apple scab while growing under apple trees. It will also repel mites and nematodes.
4 - Nasturtiums - Plant under a fruit tree to deter white flies, squash bugs, cabbage moths, potato beetles, and the striped pumpkin beetle. It also acts as a trap crop (see definition in number 2) for aphids. Nasturtiums will limit woolly aphid damage.
5 - Lavender - Plant lavender and it will repel fleas, ticks, and mice. Plant near or under fruit trees to deter the coding moth, while attracting beneficial insects such as butterflies. (see link below for ways to attract butterflies to your garden)
6 - Tansy - Plant around fruit trees to repel flying insects, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, cucumber beetles, ants, and moths. Tansy will also concentrate potassium into the soil.
7 - Clover - Plant around apple trees to attract predators of the woolly aphid while it also attracts many beneficial insects.
8 - Leeks and Onions - Plant leeks near apple trees to improve their growth. Plant onions to repel borers, slugs, cutworms and mites.
For more gardening ideas, see links below:
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