Is it a really bad idea to plant mint under my fruit trees, grape vines, and blackberry bushes? I thought it might be a low maintenance way to keep down weeds, but is it too aggressive a competitor for soil nutrients? Would it stunt the fruit plants? This would be in a separate area from my vegetable garden.
I use penny royal as a ground cover under my apple tree. Makes a nice spot to lay down on a hot after noon It mows really well too and stays short and thick with the mowing. the roots are much shallower then a tree's roots so I don't see an issue with nutrients.
It's not that I don't like mankind, I just like nature a whole lot more.
i would not plant mint. it is invasive and spreads like wildfire. i have probably a half acre( and growing of mint that gone out of control on our place. i will probably have to round-up it to get rid of it.......
Mint and other aromatic herbs are a great way to help keep insects away from your fruit trees.
I am thinking of transplanting some of my mint under my apple trees next year. I love the way it smells when you go over it with the mower.. or you could just let it grow and bloom and bring in beneficial insects.
I wouldn't do it under blackberry vines though. Mint gets too tall for that.
Hyssop is recommended for grape vines! It is a beneficial for them in companion planting.
Another problem with mint is that it doesn't always stay where you planted it. After a few years the old plants die off and you will end up with mint everywhere but where you first planted it. I would use mulch instead. Unless you have roaming chickens, they like to move mulch out from under the bushes and onto the lawn.
Mint is a wonderful ground cover for all the plants that you mentioned..mint is NOT a plant that you should fear..although it will spread aggressively it doesn't hog the soil nor will it likely ever crowd out other plants..it makes a great plant to bring in pollinators and it is very good at covering the soil.
i have it in several areas of our property and have had for nearly 40 years..if you want to control it's spread you can always put in an edging around it of some sort..plastic edging, boards, metal whatever..but I don't bother..it isn't that much of a problem to me
How about Labrador Violets as groundcover under your trees? We have some here and it does really well under the trees, and throws a pretty flower in early Spring. Foliage stays pretty even when not in flower. It does try to spread out into the grass a bit, but it grows beautifully lush and thick under the trees.. very sparsely in the grass.
I got some mint from a friend's garden and offered it to the sheep, who ate it right up. If I can trust them to keep mint from getting out of control, I think I'll try it in my fruit garden. My little flock has managed to keep the blackberries and even weedy Japanese knotweed from taking over, so I'm hopeful.
I'm going to look for corsican mint or that chocolate mint that was mentioned. Thanks for the suggestions!
My wife planted mint last year as an herb in one of our raised beds, we're fight it this year as its trying to take over the whole bed. I finally covered it with cardboard held down with brick and killed off the biggest patch, but we're still digging it out from other areas
Make sure that you're OK with it taking over whatever area you put it in.