Fruit tree guilds are a smart way to build the beginnings of a food forest. In simplistic terms, they are a thriving, sustainable mini-ecosystem in your very own yard. You don’t have to be an expert in permaculture to design your own fruit tree guild. In fact, even beginners can explore this style of food production. If you’re interested in creating your own fruit tree guild, here are three key principles you can follow:
While there are no hard-and-fast rules about designing your own fruit tree guild, finding the right combination of plants is an important step to ensuring a healthy guild and furthermore a thriving food forest. Typically, tree fruit guilds are composed of six types of plants — namely: suppressors, attractors, mulchers, repellers, fixers, and accumulators.
Doing a bit of research goes a long way in deciding which plants will make up your fruit tree guild. Keep in mind that each one is chosen to perform a particular task within your tree guild. For instance, if you want to make your own apple tree guild, combining the following plants will make sure that each one will fulfill its function without competing for nutrients:
Apple Tree Guild Example;
● Red Clover
● Golden Delicious
Before planting your selected greenery, it’s best to mulch the area surrounding your tree guild. Using wood chips, fallen leaves, straw, organic material, or even compost is the best strategy. By providing moist, healthy soil, your fruit trees, and their ecosystem will have an easier time growing and flourishing. Depending on your climate, mulching might even reduce or eliminate the need for watering altogether as it can help retain water in the soil. Aside from providing a healthy environment for your plants, mulching can also encourage fungi in your soil. Fungi ensure that your tree guild will be better protected from pests.
Pests can be a big problem in the long run, but encouraging the growth of fungi isn’t the only way to control them. Once your fruit trees are fully grown, you can add log piles and rocks, or install snags around them. These will attract beneficial critters like frogs, toads, centipedes, lizards, and the like, which can effectively prevent pest issues. Try to have space to include these important habitat features, so you can attract these predators to keep your fruit tree guild in balance with nature.
Reap the Rewards!
Planning your fruit tree guild can take some time and thought, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Not only will you have a thriving ecosystem, you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor — literally! To make sure that you’re maximizing the space you have, you can buy a blueprint that will guide you towards effectively designing your own food forest. In very little time, you’ll be able to create a self-reliant system that will allow you to eat sustainably, healthily, and live a more abundant life!