[permaculture] guilding an apple tree

Brian Gregor bgregor at buphy.bu.edu
Tue Mar 25 14:18:00 EST 2003

My mother has a sad little apple tree, about 12 years old,
that is barely 10' tall and produces only a handful of small
apples per year.  It's a McIntosh tree.  It appears to get
plenty of sun, but my suspicion is that the soil in the
yard (it's your average American lawn) is poor and it
doesn't get enough attention from pollinators.  The yard
also abuts a section of pine forest.

As a way to try out some of the techniques I've read in
'Gaia's Garden' and the 'Intro to Permaculture', I was
thinking of adding some companion plants and sheet mulch
to form an apple guild in the hopes of attracting more
pollinators and improving the soil's nutrition level.
Since I don't have a yard myself (still renting...), I'll
settle for experimenting on her property :)

The house is zone 6 in eastern Massachusetts.  There're some
oxen across the street and a turkey a half mile away to
provide plenty of manure. What sort of plants are
appropriate for this zone?  The books refer to comfrey,
clover, Siberian pea shrub, and tulips and the like.
Any suggestions?



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