Spring bulbs are a wonderful option for fruit tree guilds in many temperate zones. Today, I thought I would share with you some of the reasons why you should consider planting spring bulbs around fruit trees in your garden:
Spring Bulbs Help Suppress Grass Growth
Grass can be overly competitive with shallow tree roots, and grass creates a bacterial dominant soil environment rather than a fungal dominated one. So we should choose plants which suppress grass growth, and plant more beneficial guilds of plants within the drip-line of our trees. Spring flowering bulbs can be a great option.
They Catch and Store Water and Nutrients
What is more, spring bulbs are ‘spring ephemerals’. They burst into life often before much else happens in the spring, and fade away before summer is really in full swing. This means that they catch and store water and nutrients while in active growth, before releasing some of the nutrients they contain back to the soil when the leaves have naturally died back, and storing the rest in their bulbs for the following year.
Pollinators Benefit From Early Spring Bulbs
Having flowers which emerge early in the spring can be great for pollinators – providing them with a nectar source when little else may be available. In terms of yield, this also benefits you, because the pollinators will already be around when fruit trees blossom.
Even when spring bulbs are not providing an edible yield (of course some bulbs, like alliums and day-lilies do), they can look lovely, and, as you can see above, can bring a range of benefits to the fruit trees you grow.
If you need more help developing plans for your orchard, fruit tree guild or forest garden, please do reach out to discuss a design. Wherever you live, I can help you find effective ways to combine plants and create a healthier and more resilient ecosystem.