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Grass for an orchard?

I have recently inherited a small and very neglected orchard - only five trees, surrounded by 6ft privet hedges.  I've been slowly, methodically (obsessively) digging out nettles, ground elder, ivy, dock and sycamore seedlings.  I don't want to get in a rotavator or put down weedkiller because there are many bulbs in there which are spectacular in springtime, as well as several clumps of ornamental grasses.  I know I'll never get rid of ALL the roots, but I think I've done a fairly good job of it and it's beginning to look like the pretty little secret garden it's supposed to be.

Ideally, I'd like to extend the existing narrow grass path so I can mow around all the trees (on the highest setting because the surface will always be somewhat uneven). Can anyone recommend a suitable fast-growing seed mix? Could I turf it for instant results? Am I wasting my time? Will grass never compete with the weeds unless I bring in the big guns?

Any advice gratefully received!


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,299

    I'd just mow. If you keep mowing regularly it will be green. A flat mono-culture grass lawn would look out of place in an orchard. Wait til the bulbs have died down each year then mow regularly through the rest of the season

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Thanks, nutcutlet!

    Trouble is, at the moment there's not much to mow, apart from the narrow path - just bare earth...

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,299

    any old cheapo grass seed will do if you're not looking for a bowling green image

    But this is just my opinion. I'm interested in plants and wildlife. Anything flat and green that can be walked on is good enough for me

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Bark chippings will keep the annual weeds down and you can remove any perennial weeds when they pop through.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • I'm certainly not after anything manicured, and I do want to encourage wildlife. My brother tried to persuade me to leave it all alone for the sake of butterflies but, with waist-high nettles, it had just become a no-go area.

    Oh dear, I've just disturbed a bumble bee nest (Bombus Muscorum, I think), cleverly camouflaged under moss. I didn't cause too much damage, and they've calmed down now. Sorry, bees. I'll leave that corner of the orchard just as it is.

    I'm not keen on bark chippings, Bob, so maybe I'll take Nutcutlet's advice - scatter any old grass seed and hope for the best (and some rain)!

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Sounds good to me OMAB! image  Perhaps mix in a packet of wildflower seeds with the grass seed to help attract insects?

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • image

    Here's the bumblebee nest, disguised as a pile of moss.  The bees were very cross at the time, but seem to have accepted my apology for disturbing them. No living creature (human or otherwise) has been harmed in the making of this orchard.

    I'm going to scatter a mix of grass seed, as well as some wildflowers, and water...water...water...

    Thank you, Nutcutlet and Bob, for your advice.  I am encouraged.

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