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Companion Planting for Fruit Trees: Natural Insect Repellents

Updated on November 24, 2011
peaches on the tree
peaches on the tree

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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    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      I'm moving the garlic bed near the peach trees now. Great information!

    • profile image

      chickenmyra 5 years ago

      What herb or plant keeps the tomato worms from eating the tomato leaves? Thanks.

    • profile image

      shell20110309 5 years ago

      Companion Planting for Fruit Trees,it is the first time for me to hear it.

    • Durant profile image

      Joel Durant 6 years ago from Canada

      Companion planting is so important, but not many do it yet. A great hub!

    • Clever Katie profile image

      Clever Katie 6 years ago

      I enjoyed your hub. I was not aware that leeks and onions were pest repellents. I learned something new from your hub. Thanks.

    • RalphGreene profile image

      RalphGreene 6 years ago

      I found hub with great information. Thanks for sharing.

    • bugzapper profile image

      bugzapper 6 years ago

      I always found when it comes to insect repelling...the best defense is a good offense!

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi loved this one. How better the world would be if things were restored with the way of nature.Your hub abounds with excellent advise. Rated up

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia

      I'm definitely bookmarking this one! This just shows us what we can really do to keep our gardens free of chemicals and keep the bugs down. Great hub!

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      These are wonderful and natural ideas for insect repellent. Why didn't think of that before ? I have a jackfruit tree in my garden and I have been thinking of how to get rid of those wriggly and "jumping" worms. Yeah, the worms really jump !! lol...

    • CountryCityWoman profile image

      CountryCityWoman 6 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

      Lovely and it makes so much sense. Nature was always well-balanced - until profit and greed took the place of intelligence.

      I will bookmark for future guidance. Thanks a million!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      Great information and anything that works for the environment and with it like bringing back wildlife is a must!

      Happy New Year!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Of course - there was always a right way to do everything - then the irresponsible businessmen showed up and we became irresponsible consumers.

      This just makes so much sense and it brings back the wildlife. I'll bookmark and use for future reference.

      Rated up!

    • GreenThumbLady profile image

      GreenThumbLady 6 years ago from The Beautiful Earth

      This is really great information to have! I shall bookmark this to access for next season! Thanks!