what to plant under apple trees

Planting underneath an apple tree can provide a unique and beautiful landscape to your garden. With the right selection of plants, you can create a vibrant and diverse garden that will thrive in the shade of an apple tree. When choosing what to plant under an apple tree, consider the types of plants that will thrive in a shady environment with limited sunlight. Additionally, consider complementary colors and textures to ensure the area looks aesthetically pleasing.When planting under apple trees, it is important to select plants that prefer shade and will not compete with the tree for resources. Some good options include woodland flowers such as violets, bleeding hearts, lily of the valley, hostas, and ferns. Shrubs that do well in shaded areas like azaleas, rhododendrons, and huckleberry can also be planted under apple trees. Ground cover plants like vinca minor and pachysandra are also suitable choices.

Soil Requirements for Planting Under Apple Trees

Apple trees require well-drained soils that are slightly acidic with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5, but they can tolerate a wide range of soils and pH levels. The soil should have plenty of organic matter such as compost or manure to provide adequate drainage and nutrients. The soil should be worked to a depth of 12 to 18 inches before planting the tree. If the soil is too sandy, add compost or manure to help retain moisture and nutrients. If the soil is too heavy, add peat moss or sand for better drainage.

It is also important to add fertilizer at least once a year in early spring before the buds begin to swell on the tree. A balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 should be used at a rate of 1/2 pound per year of age up to 10 pounds per tree each year. For example, if you have an apple tree that is six years old, it should receive three pounds of fertilizer each year. If your soil is particularly poor or sandy, you may need to increase the amount of fertilizer applied each year.

Best Plants for Growing Under Apple Trees

Growing plants under apple trees can be a great way to add color and texture to your garden. With the right plants, you can create a lush and vibrant landscape that will bring beauty, interest, and life to your yard. Here are some of the best plants for growing under apple trees:


Shrubs are a great option for adding texture to the landscape beneath an apple tree. Consider planting flowering shrubs like azaleas, rhododendrons, or lilacs. They will add pops of color throughout the year that are sure to brighten up your garden. Other evergreen shrubs like boxwood, yew, or holly provide year-round green foliage that will keep your garden looking lovely all year round.


Perennials can be an excellent choice for adding pops of color beneath an apple tree. Consider planting varieties like astilbe, columbine, or daisies for colorful blooms throughout the summer months. You can also opt for low-growing ground covers like ajuga or creeping phlox if you’re looking for a more subtle effect.


Ferns make wonderful additions beneath apple trees as they thrive in the shade provided by their branches. There are many varieties of ferns that you can choose from including Christmas ferns, royal ferns, and maidenhair ferns among others. Ferns help create texture and depth in the garden while also being low-maintenance plants that require very little care once established.


Vines are a great way to add vertical interest to your garden beneath an apple tree. Consider planting evergreen vines such as ivy or climbing roses along with deciduous varieties like clematis or wisteria for beautiful blooms during the spring and summer months. Vines can help soften hard lines in your landscape while also providing food sources for birds and other wildlife in your area.

Different Types of Plants to Grow Under Apple Trees

Growing plants under apple trees can be a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature. Apple trees can provide a great environment for growing other plants due to their large canopy that provides protection from the elements. There are many different types of plants that can be grown under apple trees, including some that will provide food for you and your family. Here are some of the best types of plants you can grow under apple trees.

Herbs are one of the most popular choices when it comes to growing plants under apple trees. Herbs such as chives, oregano, rosemary, and thyme all do well in shade and moisture provided by an apple tree. These herbs are easy to maintain and can provide a flavorful addition to any dish.

Vegetables are also great options for planting near an apple tree. Varieties such as kale, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and squash all do well in partial shade and with a little extra care will produce an abundance of vegetables throughout the season.

Flowers are an excellent choice for adding brightness and color to your garden beneath an apple tree. Many varieties of annuals and perennials thrive in partial shade and produce beautiful blooms throughout the season. Some examples include impatiens, daisies, marigolds, petunias, and violets.

Fruit trees such as cherry or pear can also be grown successfully beneath an apple tree. These trees require more sunlight than other fruit bearing trees so make sure you choose a spot that gets plenty of sunlight during the day in order for them to grow properly.

No matter which type of plant you choose to grow beneath your apple tree it is important to keep them well watered and mulched during dry periods in order for them to thrive. With proper care these plants will give you years of enjoyment while providing food or beauty for your family or garden visitors alike!

The Benefits of Planting Around Apple Trees

Planting around apple trees can bring a number of benefits to your garden. Not only will the area look aesthetically pleasing, but it can also help to protect and nurture the tree itself. Here are some of the advantages that planting around apple trees can bring:

Protection from Wind and Sun Damage

Apple trees need protection from strong winds, which can cause them to become unstable or even uproot them entirely. Planting other species of trees and shrubs around your apple tree will create a windbreak that will reduce the amount of wind that reaches it. It will also provide shade in hot weather, protecting your tree from sun damage.

Weed Suppression

Planting around an apple tree helps to suppress weeds by blocking their access to direct sunlight. This is especially important for young apple trees as weeds can compete with them for nutrients and water. By planting other species such as grasses or flowers, you can effectively control weeds without having to use herbicides.

Improved Soil Quality

Planting other species around an apple tree helps improve soil structure and fertility by creating greater diversity in the soil microorganisms. This not only helps the apple tree absorb more nutrients, but it also reduces erosion caused by strong winds or heavy rains.

Increased Pollinator Activity

By planting different varieties of plants around an apple tree, you can attract beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies that help pollinate your apples. This will give you a greater yield of apples each year. Additionally, pollinators are attracted to flowers so planting some flowering plants around your apple tree will help attract them.

As you can see, there are many benefits to planting around an apple tree. Not only does it provide protection from wind and sun damage, but it also helps improve soil quality and increase pollinator activity. So be sure to add some additional plant species when you next plant a new apple tree!

Challenges to Consider When Planting Around Apple Trees

When planting around apple trees, there are several challenges that need to be taken into consideration. The most important of these is ensuring that the roots of the apple tree are not disturbed or damaged in any way. The roots are fragile and can suffer from compaction or damage from machinery, resulting in poor growth and production of apples. Additionally, it is important to ensure that any plants being grown around the apple tree have adequate space to grow without crowding out the apple tree’s roots. The soil type must also be taken into consideration, as different types of plants will require different types of soil for optimal growth.

The amount of sunlight available should also be considered when planting around apple trees. Apple trees need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day, so any plants grown near them should not interfere with their access to sunlight. Additionally, ensuring that plants are spaced properly can help to maximize air circulation around the apple tree and reduce humidity levels, which can help to prevent fungal diseases from occurring.

Finally, it is important to consider which plants will be most beneficial for the health of the apple tree when planting around it. Plants such as clover and cover crops can help to improve soil fertility by adding nutrients and organic matter into the soil, while grasses and other ground covers can help keep weeds at bay. Additionally, mulching around the base of the tree can also provide insulation from extreme temperatures as well as helping retain moisture in the soil during dry periods. Taking all these factors into account can help ensure that when planting around an apple tree, it will remain healthy and productive for many years to come.

Pest Management Strategies for Growing Plants Under Apple Trees

Pests can be a major problem for gardeners who are trying to grow plants under apple trees. To ensure the health and productivity of your plants, it is important to take a proactive approach to pest management. Here are some strategies you can use to keep pests away from your plants:

First, you should inspect the area around your apple tree for any signs of pests or pest damage. Look for damaged leaves, webs, and other signs of an infestation. If you find any evidence of pests, take action immediately.

Second, if possible, choose pest-resistant plants when planting under an apple tree. Many plants are naturally resistant to certain pests and can help reduce the chances of an infestation occurring in the first place.

Third, avoid overcrowding your plants when planting under an apple tree. Pests are more likely to build up in dense plantings because they have more places to hide and reproduce.

Fourth, use mulch or ground covers that discourage pests from coming near the plants. Mulches like straw or wood chips can help keep soil moist and discourage many types of insects from taking up residence near the roots of your plants.

Fifth, remove any weeds or debris in the area that could attract pests. Weeds provide a great hiding spot for many species of insects and can quickly become a major problem if left unchecked.

Finally, consider using natural predators or insecticides to control pest populations in the area around your apple tree. Natural predators like birds or spiders can help reduce populations without using harsh chemicals that may harm beneficial insects as well as pests. Insecticides should be used sparingly and only when necessary as they can also harm beneficial insects that help keep pest populations under control.

By following these strategies, you can keep pests away from your garden while still enjoying all the benefits that come with growing plants under an apple tree!

Water Requirements for Growing Plants Around Apple Trees

Providing adequate water for plants that are grown around apple trees is important for the health of both the trees and the plants. Apple trees require a steady supply of moisture to remain healthy, so it is important to make sure that the plants in the surrounding area are adequately watered. Depending on the type of plant, different amounts of water will be required. For example, some plants may require more frequent watering than others. To ensure that your apple tree and its surrounding plants are getting enough water, here are some tips:

1. Determine how much water each type of plant needs – Different types of plants have different water requirements, so it is important to determine how much water each type needs in order to ensure optimal growth and health.

2. Check soil moisture levels regularly – Checking soil moisture levels regularly can help you determine when it is time to water your apple tree and its surrounding plants. If the soil is dry, then it is time to provide additional water.

3. Water deeply – Providing a deep watering (i.e., soaking) once or twice a week during dry spells will help ensure that your tree’s roots have access to plenty of moisture throughout the season.

4. Mulch around plants – Mulching around your apple tree and its surrounding plants can help conserve soil moisture and reduce evaporation from occurring due to direct sunlight or high temperatures.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your apple tree and its surrounding plants receive adequate amounts of water throughout the growing season. This will help maintain their health and ensure they produce a bountiful harvest come harvest time!


When it comes to planting beneath apple trees, there are a variety of choices. Hardy perennials, such as sedums and daylilies, provide long-term color and texture in the garden. Annuals are also an option for adding a pop of color during the growing season. Groundcovers provide a lush green carpet beneath the tree and help keep weeds to a minimum. Clumping grasses bring movement to the garden while helping to control erosion around the tree. Whatever you decide to plant, make sure it’s compatible with the climate in your area and can handle the shade thrown by your apple tree. With careful selection, you can create a beautiful garden beneath your apple tree that will last for years to come.