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Companion Planting for Fruit Trees: Natural Insect Repellents

peaches on the tree

peaches on the tree

Companion Planting for Fruit Trees

While modern agriculture relies heavily on toxic chemicals to raise crops and control insects, home gardeners are reaping the benefits of companion planting; the natural way to attract beneficial insects and avoid the use of pesticides. Fruit trees can be protected if the right plants are used nearby. The method of course is not new.

What is companion planting?

Companion planting is about creating a natural environment in the garden to encourage the quality growth of nearby crops. Putting the right plants together enhances growth, improves soil and controls the destructive insect population yet attracts beneficial insects. Nature is balanced. 

What is the "Three Sisters" method of companion planting?

The "Three Sisters" method of companion planting was how Native Americans created a system of companion planting. This system provided a balanced diet of corn, beans, and squash from a single plot of land.

How did it work?

The corn stalks provided support for climbing beans, which did not compete with the corn - and provided its own nitrogen - while the squash created a dense cover that shaded out weeds which would have affected the corn and beans.

What are some companion plants for fruit trees?

1 - Garlic - Use garlic to repel aphids, caterpillars, mites, and Japanese beetles. Garlic is considered a beneficial nursery plant because it attracts good insects by providing shelter, pollen and nectar.

Peach Trees - Plant garlic at the base to repel borers and prevent leaf curl.

Apple Trees - Plant near apple trees to protect against apple scab.

2 - Comfrey - Comfrey is beneficial for the avocado tree and most other fruit trees because it serves as a trap crop for slugs. A trap crop pushes insects away from other essential plants because of its disagreeable taste or a bad smell. The comfrey plant will also accumulate calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It will help keep surrounding soil moist and rich.

3 - Chives - Chives, like garlic, is one of the most popular repellents because of its powerful ability to repel beetles and aphids. Plant chives to prevent apple scab while growing under apple trees. It will also repel mites and nematodes.

4 - Nasturtiums - Plant under a fruit tree to deter white flies, squash bugs, cabbage moths, potato beetles, and the striped pumpkin beetle. It also acts as a trap crop (see definition in number 2) for aphids. Nasturtiums will limit woolly aphid damage.

5 - Lavender - Plant lavender and it will repel fleas, ticks, and mice. Plant near or under fruit trees to deter the coding moth, while attracting beneficial insects such as butterflies. (see link below for ways to attract butterflies to your garden)

6 - Tansy - Plant around fruit trees to repel flying insects, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, cucumber beetles, ants, and moths. Tansy will also concentrate potassium into the soil.

7 - Clover - Plant around apple trees to attract predators of the woolly aphid while it also attracts many beneficial insects.

8 - Leeks and Onions - Plant leeks near apple trees to improve their growth. Plant onions to repel borers, slugs, cutworms and mites.

For more gardening ideas, see links below:

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Jill Spencer from United States on October 17, 2012:

I'm moving the garlic bed near the peach trees now. Great information!

chickenmyra on April 09, 2012:

What herb or plant keeps the tomato worms from eating the tomato leaves? Thanks.

shell20110309 on December 23, 2011:

Companion Planting for Fruit Trees,it is the first time for me to hear it.

Joel Durant from Canada on November 21, 2011:

Companion planting is so important, but not many do it yet. A great hub!

Clever Katie on November 03, 2011:

I enjoyed your hub. I was not aware that leeks and onions were pest repellents. I learned something new from your hub. Thanks.

RalphGreene on May 25, 2011:

I found hub with great information. Thanks for sharing.

bugzapper on May 24, 2011:

I always found when it comes to insect repelling...the best defense is a good offense!

Dave from Lancashire north west England on February 27, 2011:

Hi loved this one. How better the world would be if things were restored with the way of nature.Your hub abounds with excellent advise. Rated up

Veronica Allen from Georgia on January 24, 2011:

I'm definitely bookmarking this one! This just shows us what we can really do to keep our gardens free of chemicals and keep the bugs down. Great hub!

Ingenira on January 20, 2011:

These are wonderful and natural ideas for insect repellent. Why didn't think of that before ? I have a jackfruit tree in my garden and I have been thinking of how to get rid of those wriggly and "jumping" worms. Yeah, the worms really jump !! lol...

CountryCityWoman from From New York City to North Carolina on January 04, 2011:

Lovely and it makes so much sense. Nature was always well-balanced - until profit and greed took the place of intelligence.

I will bookmark for future guidance. Thanks a million!

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on January 01, 2011:

Great information and anything that works for the environment and with it like bringing back wildlife is a must!

Happy New Year!

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on December 29, 2010:

Of course - there was always a right way to do everything - then the irresponsible businessmen showed up and we became irresponsible consumers.

This just makes so much sense and it brings back the wildlife. I'll bookmark and use for future reference.

Rated up!

GreenThumbLady from The Beautiful Earth on December 28, 2010:

This is really great information to have! I shall bookmark this to access for next season! Thanks!

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