Underplanting fruit trees with strawberries and flowers?

Anyone here grow strawberries or flowers under their fruit trees without any detriment?

I’m thinking about underplanting (under-planting?) with some alpine strawberries or other shallow rooting plants that don’t require me to dig large holes. My plan is to have a ring of mulch extending 1 - 1.5’ away from the trunk and then a 1’ ring of strawberry plants or flowers.

I’m sure they will compete against each other for nutrients but I can always supplement to offset that.

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I have apricot and fig trees growing in rows of irises, have never seen any problems.


I’ve done that sort of thing. It works until the trees get bigger and you need to walk under them to bag, pick, or spray. Also, if you end up needing to spray, there might be blossoms below with bees in them at that time. I finally moved a bunch of things from under some 12-year old pear trees last fall, and need to move more blueberries from near several apple trees in the spring, now that I have purchased more land.

I have raspberries growing under some of my cherry trees with out any problems. The only spray that i use is dormant oil spray in the Winter. Raspberries do not need full sunlight to produce fruit. They are compatible in my planting zone 9. A few blueberry plants are also being grown under the South side of some plum trees too,
no problems so far. Space is in short supply in my yard.

I have space in short supply as well. I put some extra strawberry plants under plum, apple and pear trees and all is well. I do a pretty heavy mulch in a ring around the tree to feed so I dont worry too much about competition harming anything. I also do flowers in the tree rings, I had some perennials but moved them and now am going to stick with annuals. Cosmos are what I did last year and it looked great. Perennials often need dividing and I don’t want to deal with that under trees. Basically, it will probably be fine. :blush:

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Do it.
It is easy to undo - which most gardeners do every year - plant, whoops, let’s change this, it will work better over here, wait, I have too much, let’s plant some under there, and tuck some in there. :blush:
I grew some garlic in the blueberry bed last year, and seed onions with the plums. These gems are keeping my jujube company this winter.


Thanks everyone for making me more comfortable with this idea. I have 36 alpine and alpine hybrid seeds started so its too late to change my mind anyway, haha:

The varieties incase anyone is interested are Alpine Strawberry Reine des Vallees, Alpine Strawberry ‘Bowlenzauber’, and Fragaria x ananassa ‘Fresca’

Thanks for sharing your photo @JustAnne4 :+1: is that cabbage just decorative or edible? I love the look of those tall wind swept shrubs in your garden @Stan, what are they called?

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These are Italian Cypresses, they are not shrubs, will grow very tall with time, but are still young. :wink:


That they do. I have about 10 across the backyard that are now about 40ft tall. My Wife loves them.

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My wife planted a lot of Italian Cypresses and other types of cypresses all around the property, especially along the fences. Some properties in my neighborhood have Italian Cypresses planted in a closely spaced row, to make a tall green wall along the fence.

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To me, the issue is if you need to spray poison on your fruit trees when anything below is in bloom. Not only insecticide, but certain synthetic fungicides may be harmful to bees.

Usually at sites I manage the number one problem in this regard is people that want to have flowering meadows right up to the trunks of fruit trees. This arrangement leads to greater vole and insect pressure and also creates more humidity and greater fungus pressure. There are also often flowering plants under or near trees when they need to be sprayed with poisons. Drives me nuts.

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We have this red maple that my wife loves. I would really like to put a fruit tree there. Heck Red Baron peach would be very ornamental, and many others too. So I put strawberries around the base hoping it will increase fungal, and insect pressure. So far it hasn’t worked, it’s still there after 4 years. As far as other comments well that ship has already sailed dude.

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Just, beautiful!!!

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Well both I guess. It is one of the stars of the winter garden and we plan on eating it.

In that case, Dimitri can just cover or tarp the strawberries until the spray dries.


Which is why my plan was to leave a 1.5’ mulch perimeter around the tree and then keep the underplanting outside of that perimeter. When I need to spray I could just drag a tarp over the plants at the base - I am even thinking of cutting/stitching a donut shaped tarp just for this purpose. I only have half a dozen or so trees to do this to so I think it should be manageable.

Yes, I’ve used tarps for that purpose. In a single small home orchard that isn’t much of a burden.

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