Apple Tree Companions: What To Plant Under Apple Trees

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By Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

It happens time and time again; you wait patiently for the apples on your tree to ripen enough to pick, then you wake up one morning to find that deer beat you to those apples. With proper use of apple companion plants, however, those deer may have gone elsewhere for a midnight snack. Continue reading to learn what grows well with apples and help fend off these and other would-be intruders.

Apple Tree Companions

For centuries, European gardeners have maximized the space in their gardens by growing fruits, veggies, herbs and ornamental plants in combinations that benefit each other. Dwarf fruit trees are grown on espaliers surrounded by companion plants that deter pests and help each other grow. These gardens are also planned out in succession so that something is always ready to harvest or in bloom. Not only useful but also aesthetically pleasing to the senses.

Good companion plants help deter pests, attract beneficial insects and pollinators, and also help the plants grow to their full potential. Companion plants can help conserve moisture and keep weeds down; they can also be used as living mulches that are cut back and allowed to decompose around tree root zones for added nutrients. Some companion plants have long taproots that reach deep within the soil and pull up valuable minerals and nutrients that benefit all the plants around them.

What to Plant Under Apple Trees

There are several different plants that are beneficial apple tree companions. The following plants include apple tree companions that deter pests and enrich the soil when cut back and left as mulch:

Daffodil, tansy, marigold and hyssop also deter apple tree pests.

When used as an apple companion plant, chives help prevent apple scab, and deter deer and rabbits; but be careful, as you may end up with chives taking over the bed.

Dogwood and sweet cicely attract beneficial insects that eat apple tree pests. Dense plantings of any of these apple companion plants will help keep weeds down.

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