Goumi and Apples

In working to establish tree guilds around the dwarf apple trees I planted I ordered goumi.  Near as I can tell it’s pronounced gwammee, not gummy.

The book Gaia’s Garden lists plants appropriate to an apple tree guild.  The guild includes bee balm, comfrey, daffodils and a few others but let’s just start with what we have.


I have apple trees already.  Thanks to Sandusky Valley I now have goumi.  They don’t look like much now but they should take off in the spring.  Toby Hemenway suggests you fit Goumi anywhere you can to help establish new trees and boost production.  The idea is that goumi (a nitrogen-fixing plant) grown next to and in proximity of trees will provide nourishment to the trees.  He even suggests you plant your apple and goumi in the same hole, cutting the goumi back each year to half the tree size.

Goumi is propagated by cutting.  The cuttings I got were bare-root and well rooted.  I made a mix of well-composted horse manure, sawdust, perlite and a greensand and planted the goumi at even spaces between the apple trees.  The trees are planted 8′ apart so I planted 2 goumi in a line at the 4′ mark.  This should keep the plants in sufficient sunlight as the guild develops.

Let me know if you have any experience with goumi or recipies you can share.

2 thoughts on “Goumi and Apples

  1. Friend, how has that guomi been working for you? Thinking about getting some myself for my apples, but not sure how close I need to put them to feel like they’re doing anything any good. (Hope you’ve been enjoying the tractor. 🙂 )

    • Most of the goumi made it but I’m afraid a few may have ..um…been…sort of…stepped…on. So. Yeah. You know. Kids. Anyway, I planted a goumi next to each apple tree…I mean, right next to. I don’t expect these to have long, productive lives. I expect them to fix nitrogen. Then there are another four goumi at points around each tree four feet out. These bushes should grow and produce well at the edge of the tree’s drip line. So far so good…at least…the ones that are alive. We also use comfrey and clover for green manure/mulch crops among the trees and bushes, and dandelions too. Lots of things going on in a small space. Maybe too much. But so far so good.

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