Companion Planting Guide for Trees: What To Know
Planting a garden on your property is an excellent way to give back to Mother Earth and a beneficial hobby. With that in mind, you should think of ways to cultivate plant communities within your garden. Believe it or not, many gardeners believe that certain plants grow better together and become helpmates to each other along the way. Follow along for a companion planting guide for trees and learn what you need to know about growing trees and plants on your property.
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is planting two or more mutually beneficial plants near each other. Interestingly, companion plants can be fruits, vegetables, shrubs, flowers, herbs, and more, that provide shade, nutrients, or protection from pests and diseases to neighboring plants and trees. If you have a plant or tree with specific companion needs, you can grow another plant close by to ensure both plants rise to their full potential.
The Role of Companion Plants
Now that you know what companion planting consists of, you should know the actual role of companion plants in your garden. These plants may serve these basic functions for your garden:
- Attract pollinators
- Improve soil conditions
- Prevent pests and diseases
- Deter weeds from growing
- Improve growing conditions
Good Plant Relationships
Like humans, plants need good friends to help them thrive. Aside from fruiting and growth, plants and trees are relatively stagnant beings; they don’t have much bearing over their environment because they’re rooted in one spot. Furthermore, plant relationships vary like human relationships—some plants are friendly and support each other, while others simply don’t get along. With that said, it’s your responsibility to put friendly plants together to reduce the chances of competing for space, nutrients, and other resources.
Good plant relationships are mutually beneficial for both parties, meaning both plants get something positive from the relationship. Unfortunately, not all plant relationships are positive.
Bad Plant Relationships
Believe it or not, some plants bully each other. You should avoid placing these plants and trees near each other to prevent any damage or lack of growth for either one. For example, some plants are invasive species, meaning they grow rapidly and crowd others, taking more sunlight, nutrients, and water than they should.
Additionally, some plants exude harmful toxins that stunt or halt the growth of other trees and plants nearby. As you can see, planting friendly plants is a surefire way to promote growth and happiness among your city of plants. On a negative note, planting invasive, disruptive plants in your garden is a definite way to bring your plant town to unfortunate ruins.
Proper Plant Spacing
As with any type of planning, proper spacing is key to success. Consider city planning, wedding table layouts, and even your work schedule—each requires careful placement of their respective building, table, or task with consideration for enough space to move, or, regarding the work schedule, take breaks and eat lunch, in between.
With that said, you should avoid planting vegetables in large patches or rows. Instead, try interplanting them with herbs and flowers to prevent large pest infestations or other unwanted gardening problems.
Believe it or not, planting herbs and flowers throughout your vegetable garden is thought to confuse pests. The different aromas and changes in color make it difficult for unpleasant insects to find your veggies. Furthermore, the fragrant floral aromas are an excellent way to attract beneficial insects—such as pollinators—to your garden and overall property.
Consider growing a tower garden if you need more space for your plants. Rather than taking up unnecessary surface area, your plants will grow vertically.
Tips for Starting Your Companion Planting
When doing anything new, you can benefit from a few extra pointers to get you headed in the right direction. Follow along for a few extra tips when it comes to companion planting in your yard.
- Be sure to use correct spacing. Your plants shouldn’t be closer than the smallest spacing requirement of all your interplanted beings.
- Consider choosing plants from different families. Generally, plants from different families have different pest and disease vulnerabilities. With that said, companion planting from different families is a surefire way to keep pests and diseases in check.
- Take advantage of plant differences. For instance, you should plant trees which require lots of nutrients with those which require little. Furthermore, grow fragrant plants near non-aromatic plants to protect them from unwanted pests.
- Plant crops and plants that grow in different directions. If they all grow in one direction, they may collapse on each other. On the other hand, they can support each other if they grow in different directions.
Choosing a Companion for Your Fruit Trees
If you want to grow fruit trees on your property, consider growing companion plants to keep them healthy, happy, and thriving. With that said, consider buying pomegranate trees and planting sunflowers alongside them to keep them company and help them thrive. Interestingly, fruit trees are either monoecious or dioecious, meaning they either pollinate themselves or need another plant nearby for cross-pollination. Although monoecious plants, such as pomegranate trees, can self-pollinate, they can always use a companion plant to help them produce a substantial fruit yield.
On the other hand, dioecious plants require a companion plant nearby in order to produce fruit. If you’re looking for the best companion plants for your fruit trees, you should consider something that attracts beneficial and necessary pollinators. First, get to know which pollinators are responsible for pollinating your fruit tree of choice—this will help you decide which companion will be most suitable for your tree. Possible pollinators are as follows:
- Bumble bees
If you need something to attract honey bees to your yard, consider one or several of the following:
After learning what you need to know about companion gardening, you’re ready to take on a new adventure. We hope our comprehensive companion planting guide for trees is incredibly helpful to you when you’re ready to plant your new garden. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert gardener, you can expect great results when opting for a beneficial companion plant for your tree. No matter what stage your garden is in, you can always benefit from having friendly plants growing together and avoiding plants that tend to bully or invade others.