Author Topic: Best cover crops for an orchard floor?  (Read 3739 times)

Offline AverageDude

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Best cover crops for an orchard floor?
« on: February 17, 2013, 06:54:14 AM »
I've been reading through the cover crop descriptions on the groworganic.com website. We recently planted a dozen fruit trees, and I want to lay down a cover crop between the trees that will fix nitrogen and bring in beneficial insects. I'm currently thinking about putting in a mix of low growing clover combined with some good bug mix:

http://www.groworganic.com/low-growing-clover-mix-rhizocoated-lb.html

http://www.groworganic.com/good-bug-blend-lb.html

What are other fellow fruit growers using on their orchard floors? Are there any additional low growing perennial cover crops I should be looking at?

Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Best cover crops for an orchard floor?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 08:31:43 AM »
Great question!  My orchard is going in a few weeks from now.

 :popcorn:

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Best cover crops for an orchard floor?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 11:38:32 AM »
planning strawberries in mine.  dunno if it'll work, but gonna try

Offline rustyknife

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Re: Best cover crops for an orchard floor?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 09:46:04 PM »
I raised Stanley and Italian prunes for awhile on 5 acres. For a cover crop I used a mix of clover and vetch with some other varieties mixed in. Basically it was seed that was cleaned from wheat at the silo's. I also kept bees in the same orchard as there were lots of blooms. The only down side I remember was discing it under at the right time so as not to let the cover crop become too mature and produce seeds. The best way to disc it was to go over it once with not too much pitch on the disc and then let it sit a couple of days to break down. After that it turned over pretty well and was good for the soil.

Offline oktheniknow

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Re: Best cover crops for an orchard floor?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 10:09:06 PM »
Have heard that white clover is good.

Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Best cover crops for an orchard floor?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 10:34:15 PM »
What, if anything, do you do about vole and rabbits?  I've read lots of places to try to keep grass etc away from the trees because it eliminmates the voles' habitat and they're less likely to eat your trees' roots or girdle them.  My neighbor planted his trees in chicken wire cages.  I was just thinking of a hardware cloth ring extending from a few inches in the ground uu the truck a couple feet.

Offline Finster

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Re: Best cover crops for an orchard floor?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 05:25:37 PM »
Over at Koanga Institute they recommend planting a plant guild of beneficial plants to assist in the nutrient cycling of the orchard as well as food for ducks/ chickens. They provide an Orchard Ley Mix of seeds including   
Alfalfa
Phacellia
Buckwheat
White Lupin
Daikon
Radish
Rape seed
Red Clover
Subterranean Clover
White clover
Yarrow
Plantain
Chicory
and  of course comfery from root cuttings.
Wild carrots can be planted as well as Scorzonera Black Salsify to attract hoover flies
This is what I have to put in the fall for my 40 or so heritage fruit trees which will hopefully out compete the grass on the swales where my fruit trees will be planted.

you can read further re establishing an orchard at http://www.koanga.org.nz/articles/how-plant-fruit-trees
I would recommend reading "designing you own orchard" By Kay Baxter (orchards from  permaculture and practical  perspective which would work in N. America )

Cheers

Offline Kreindl

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Re: Best cover crops for an orchard floor?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 08:46:17 PM »
Thanks for the link - I'm going to try both of those cover crops around my trees and on my new woody swell I just put in.  I'm thinking I'm also going to start prepping some of the soil in other areas for the future.

I've been reading through the cover crop descriptions on the groworganic.com website. We recently planted a dozen fruit trees, and I want to lay down a cover crop between the trees that will fix nitrogen and bring in beneficial insects. I'm currently thinking about putting in a mix of low growing clover combined with some good bug mix:

http://www.groworganic.com/low-growing-clover-mix-rhizocoated-lb.html

http://www.groworganic.com/good-bug-blend-lb.html

What are other fellow fruit growers using on their orchard floors? Are there any additional low growing perennial cover crops I should be looking at?