I do not usually share details of planting from my designs on this site. But today, I thought I would share a recent project which involved creating fruit tree guilds for an existing orchard.
The above image shows my concept for the fruit tree guilds in this orchard, in Bennington, Vermont, in Zone 5a. Working with approximate current tree placement, this design suggests guilds for each of the different types of tree on the site.
I also suggested ultimately joining these guilds together in a full forest garden design. Many more useful and productive plants can be included in sunnier glades between the trees and their guilds.
White clover and native wildflowers can be used as diverse ground cover in the areas between the trees, and I have also suggested adding coppiced native alder for nitrogen fixation and a range of soft fruits.
Guild plants have been suggested to support the fruit trees through nitrogen fixation, dynamic accumulation, for chopping and dropping, through pest control, through beneficial wildlife attraction, through ground cover etc… They have also been selected to maximise additional edible, medicinal and other yields. While some non-native plants are included, I have utilised many native plants in this scheme.
This scheme is of course not intended to be viewed as a ‘how-to’ for other gardeners. The guild plants I suggest are for this specific site. If you would like a similar plan, or some help to add guilds to your own orchard trees, please get in touch.