Apples trees don’t like anything to grow near them

Crab Apple Tree by LostMyHeadache
Crab Apple Tree by LostMyHeadache

TheGardenLady received this question from Sandy.

We have a 50 year old crabapple tree in our back yard that is huge. We have tried hostas, astilbes, ferns and such around it and nothing seems to grow more than one year… any suggestions? Apparently the soil is very acidic due to the falling apples.

How very fortunate to have a 50 year old crabapple tree in your back yard! The spring bloom must be magnificent.

Apple blossoms were always my favorite blossoms in the spring. We had a huge old crabapple tree in our side yard that had loads of apples. The apples were too small to really use, so we fed them to the animals or composted them.

The tree was so huge that as a child we would climb its trunk till where it forked. And we always had a swing hanging from one of the biggest branches. I spent many hours on that swing. To make the swing my father used heavy rope over the tree branch and a board that he notched on either side. From the other big limb- this one lower down where the limb joined the trunk, the one where the trunk forked, my father always hung a hammock. One side of the hammock was attached to this lower limb and the other side was attached to a wooden pole that my father hammered into the ground at the perfect distance to enable the hammock to stretch. Again, as children, as many as three of us would lie on the hammock swinging it as high as we could. We tied a thinner rope to a pole at the side of the hammock that was used to pull us back and forth. My father also loved to lie on the hammock to rest after plowing or working in the field.

We never planted anything under the tree, for besides the swing and hammock, we also had chairs to sit on under the shade of the branches- a cool spot to chat with family or friends or a place to shell peas before the era of air conditioning.

Apple trees don’t like having anything grow under them because their roots really don’t want competition for soil nutrients or water. So why fight nature? If you don’t want to put cozy domestic items like chairs or swings under the shade of the tree, why don’t you consider putting some interesting sculpture or yard art under the tree.

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