What Not to Plant With Apple Trees

Learning what not to plant with apple trees can save you time, money, and effort. In this article, Tree Workers of Phoenix, the leading certified arborist in Phoenix, AZ, explain more about companion plants for apple trees. 

Plants To Avoid Near Apple Trees

Grass seems innocuous enough, but it can be a heavy feeder. Since its roots go deep into the ground, it will compete with your apple tree for vital nutrients and water. As grass grows so quickly, it quickly stifles the apple tree. 

Clear the grass at least a foot or two from the trunk. Better yet, clear out the area extending from the trunk to the outer edge of the drip line. (This is where the canopy ends, so the area will get bigger as the tree matures.) 

While this seems extreme, it is the best way to support your new tree and give it the best chance of success. Worried about the empty space attracting weeds? Don’t be; there are several plants that boost fruit production and stifle weeds. 

What to Plant to Boost Fruit Production

When learning how to plant a tree, you learn to keep the grass from getting too close to the trunk. With apple trees, this is particularly important as grass inhibits fruit production. If you can’t stand bare earth, plant:

  • Garlic chives, which prevent apple scab and chase away pests
  • Daffodils to add beauty to your landscaping
  • Lemon balm, fennel, and dill to attract pollinators
  • Strawberry
  • Mint
  • Lemon Grass
  • Yarrow
  • Basil
  • Peas
  • Currants
  • Dandelions
  • Artichokes 
  • Horse Radish
  • Parsnips
  • Fools Cress
  • Native Spinach
  • Lavender

These popular varieties either attract beneficial insects, chase off pests, or smother weeds, and none are heavy feeders. 

Consider Planting a Second Apple Tree

Check with your arborist, but your apple tree likely needs a mate for cross-pollination, or it won’t bear fruit. If your neighbors don’t have a tree, consider planting a second sapling. Sweet cherries, blueberries, and Asian pears are other plants that need a mate for pollination. 

Consider Keeping the Area Clear

If the beneficial companion plants don’t fit your decor, you might, instead, keep the ground clear. The downside of this strategy is that the area will soon attract weeds and that bar ground loses moisture quickly. 

You might prevent moisture loss and weed growth with a generous helping of mulch. Apply it about an inch thick, starting about a foot away from the trunk. Cover the entire area until you reach the drip line. 

Mulch keeps moisture in the soil, protects it from baking in the sun, and releases nutrients as it decomposes. Many people use tree bark for its practical and aesthetic applications, but we recommend care. Bark can attract ants. 

If you’re looking for a decorative alternative, stone might prove more practical if you have ants. Alternatively, speak to our team about options that will meet your unique needs. 

Should You Consult the Pros? 

When it comes to an investment like an apple tree, it’s worth getting professional assistance. We know what not to plant with apple trees and how to make sure that they stay healthy. 

Call us for an annual checkup and trimming to make sure that your tree has everything it needs to be as fruitful as possible. While it’s possible to learn this through trial and error, mistakes can take many seasons to correct, so it’s a very steep learning curve. 

Call Us in Phoenix Today!

Need more help with what not to plant with apple trees or information on growing citrus fruits? Contact the arborists at Tree Workers of Phoenix to schedule a professional consultation in Phoenix, AZ, by calling (602) 320-2797.


Tree Workers of Phoenix has been in business since 1994 and is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and International Society of
Arboriculture (ISA).


18402 N. 19th Ave. #115

Phoenix, AZ 85023

Phone: 602-320-2797

Email : rickthetreeexpert@gmail.com

Hours of Operation :

Monday - Sunday : 9:00am-5:00pm


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