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Underplanting a stepover apple tree

LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,845

Hello. I received a stepover apple tree as a Christmas present. It's been in a pot for the last couple of weeks while we prepare its final position - a bed about 3ft by 10ft at the end of the lawn, before our raised veg beds. The idea was that it would provide a low, not harsh barrier between the two areas (there's access to the veg area at each end of this bed). But as we prepare I realise that I haven't thought the bed through fully - I'd like to grow some other plants in there, especially since this a young, small tree (already trained into the stepover shape) and won't 'fill' the space for some time yet. It has a spread of about 3-4ft at the moment, so has a fair amount of space at each end.

I know it's not a good idea for fruit trees to have competition, but am hoping I don't have to leave the bed completely bare. Can I grow things at the ends / edges, at least? Are some plants more suitable than others? Any advice / suggestions? 

Last edited: 29 December 2016 11:05:25

'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
- Cicero

Posts

  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 9,257

    I'd leave a good space around its trunk (ie the size of the rootball) for a year or two to let it establish without competition, but don't see why you can't plant up at its extremities.  I'd go for shallow rooters or maybe some spring bulbs - might be too late to plant this year, but you could cheat with pots of bulbs already grown - GC's sell loads of them from about Feb onwards.

    what type of apple is it?

    We did not inherit the earth from our grandparents.  We’re borrowing it from our children.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 64,535

    I agree with Chicky - leave space where the rootball is as with all planting of fruit trees, but some spring bulbs further along the line of the branches should be fine image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,845

    Lovely - that's a relief!  I'd got so fixated on the tree I completely forgot about the rest of the space, but really don't want it bare. I've planted lots of bulbs in pots anyway so can play around with positioning them in the spring. Maybe it could just be bulbs in that bed - not only spring ones image#skipsawayinaplanningfantasy

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 9,257

    imageimageimage

    We did not inherit the earth from our grandparents.  We’re borrowing it from our children.
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