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Keeping weeds down in your orchard may be an issue, however there are many ways to easily solve this problem. Some people choose to plant their fruit and nut trees in raised beds. This allows you to control the soil, the moisture in the soil and the nutrients much easier than growing in the ground.
When creating raised beds, be sure to use some type of weed blocking material underneath. Stacks of newspaper, cardboard or weed cloth will help keep the weeds down. To keep weeds from establishing themselves in the new soil it is important to keep them pulled out. Weed seed can live in soil for up to seven years. Some gardeners put the same weed blocking material on top of their raised beds as they put underneath of it. While this may not be attractive, the weed blocking material can be covered with mulch.
Another method of weed control that some gardeners like better is to plant under the trees. Strawberries are an excellent choice for planting around fruit trees or in young orchards. If you are looking for something a little less labor intensive, try chives or mint.
Both of these plants are beneficial to fruit trees. Mint will spread and can be invasive. Chives will reseed. Neither plant will choke out your fruit trees. However, until these plants are established you will need to remove the weeds around them.
For natural weed control, try poultry. Not only will they eat the grass around your fruit trees helping to keep it low, but they will eat insects and their eggs. If fruit falls on the ground, this will get devoured too.
Low growing plants such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries will need to be fenced off or you will not have any fruit left. Be aware that some poultry can fly. They may fly into your trees to eat the fruit. Early spring before the trees fruit and late fall after you have harvested the fruit may be the best time to use poultry for weed control.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|