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planting under and apple tree

foxglove5foxglove5 Posts: 20
Hi, our house was built in the 50's on top of an apple orchard. We still have a few of the old trees one of which is in the middle of the lawn with a soil border around it. I know you shouldn't really plant anything under the tree (hence the bare soil) but I was wondering if putting a few ground covering bedding plants would be ok? If so what would people recommend? Just to note, the apple production varies - some years great bit red jucy apples, last year tiny bite sized bitter things. I only use them for cooking. All ideas welcome


  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951

    My apples are fairly old and have always had grass right up to the trunk with no problems. Last year I removed the grass near the tree to make a bed. I put in lawn camomile, a winter jasmine and a clematis, and a few bulbs. 

  • try Uvularia grandiflora I have just planted some in a shady spot and what a charming plant for early spring summer. RHS trials have had great results under trees...

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    If your tree is that old it will be fine. My neighbour digs over underneath her apple and pear tree. The roots of the tree will be quite deep, it will obviously have surface roots too but it won't harm the tree if you plant whatever you like underneath even grass, it will be totally fine. I've got bulbs and Monkshood underneath mine, oh, and an old rose. Some people freak out about Monkshood but it's complete nonsense it won't harm the tree to any extent that you'll notice.

  • foxglove5foxglove5 Posts: 20
    Great. I didn't realise you could plant things underneath. I have always been told they need room!! Well I will happily plant away. I might put some bulbs in for next spring!
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,877

    Bulbs  look good under a tree. spring things are good, in nature most of the woodland plants flower in spring. But I grow loads of things under trees that are said to need full sun. They do fine. Perhaps not show standard but nice to look at

  • Hi, I have the same question! I have a neighbour’s huge apple tree dropping vast amounts of apple trees in and it is visually a perfect place for a flower bed. Would I need to pick up all the apples from the bed? Will they struggle to grow?
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