Cover crop and mulch recommendations

I’d love to hear everyone’s recommendations for mulching and for cover crops for semi-dwarf apple trees. I’ve put down ramial wood chips around 24 trees in a diameter of about 4 feet, which are spaced 13 feet between trees and rows are 20 feet apart. Should we mulch completely between the trees? Or does it make sense to cover crop between the trees along with the rows in late summer? Thanks so much!

My uncle always swears by orchard grass in his orchard. I like clover mixes like white Dutch and red myself because they fix nitrogen, don’t grow tall, and I like the appearance. The downside to clover is its difficult to mow because it holds water. White clover is good for the bees I keep around for pollination.

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When I put down a thin layer of cow manure around the tree an inch or two deep I add several inches of wood chips on top of that. I add magnesium, azomite etc on top or bottom of the cow manure before adding the wood chips as a top dressing. I do not use nitrogen without a very good reason because it causes a lot of growth which results in more pruning or Fireblight. The natural nitrogen I get is plenty. Whatever you do think of why your doing it. When I mow which is seldom I throw my grass to the base of my trees or bushes to give them nutrients and moisture.

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I just use a very thick mulch of wood chips. Cover crops aren’t possible in my dry climate. I try to put crushed leaves underneath the mulch for worm food.

I suspect that the mulch keeps the roots a little bit cool too long into the summer. The new tree this year will remain unmulched this year until next weekend when we hit the nineties.

Like the others I have a low nitrogen approach unless I am trying to size up a plant.

Just wanted to follow up since some people using cover crops have a tendency to mow to frequently. Wait until your clover seeds and it grows up some before you cut it. When you mow it throw the grass from the mower shoot towards the trees to mulch them with rich mulch! In the meantime if you can ignore the rabbits, deer and cows running all over your property clover fixes tons of nitrogen! The bees are eating well this week. I grow 4 types of clover mixed in with my brome not just in my orchard. The brome is highly desirable hay as well because of the clover it’s higher in proteins and cows do much better that eat it. You can see why my fields get richer every year. Think of clover as poor mans manure.



I’m wondering if it makes any sense to plant white or red clover in early October and then the following mid-may turn it under …does that give the clover enough time to act as green manure or should I just go with winter rye that grows like crazy
Since I do everything by hand winter rye difficult to turn over in spring

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Rye is better this late