Adopting a fruit tree guild

I gave a short presentation on food forests and designing fruit and nut tree guilds during last week’s Virtual Ask a Virtual #YGK Master Gardener. You can register for the series on Eventbrite. Learn more about how to design, plant and care for a food forest fruit tree guild here.

How to design a nut or fruit tree guild. Includes planting palettes for:

  • black walnut guild (we’re planting endangered butternuts in the SW Welcome garden and each corner of the garden & will guild them using species from this palette)
  • native plant guild (we just planted a hybrid mulberry (Illinois Everbearing) in the SW Welcome garden. It’s up for adoption if you’re interested! We’ll be planting native red mulberries in the fall or next year
  • Asian inspired guild
  • medicinal guild (we’re planting a medicinal guild in the NW entrance Welcome garden )
  • medieval guild (we’ll plant a Medlar next year so we can experiment with this guild)
  • ornamental guild
  • apple tree guild (lots of these up for adoption)
  • pear tree guild (all of these have been adopted)

Planting a fruit tree

600Dan & Krista planting hazelnuts, mulberry and persimmons in the SW Welcome Garden

Curious about why you’re seen people who’ve adopted fruit trees digging moats around their trees? It’s to store water!

Read more about moats (mulch basins), planting mounds (to elevate the fruit tree above the heavy clay soil) and woodchips (to shift the soil to fungal dominance) in our article designing a fruit treeĀ guild.

Mulch basins capture and store rainwater or greywater in the soil, reducing Create an Oasis with Greywater, Art Ludwig

Interested in adopting a fruit tree?

600Nate planting the Plumcot he’s adopted

Adopting a fruit tree means being the human caring helping the infant fruit tree establish itself and becoming wonderfully healthy with your love and support, with the help of companion planting and with lots of mulch and water.

  • Mulch heavily with woodchips, keeping them 6″ (15 cm) away from the trunk so rodents don’t nibble on the tasty bark
  • Water 1″ (2.5 cm) per week this summer (around a one gallon bucket of water). If we don’t get any rain and it’s hot, water twice a week. If it rains regularly, you may not need to water.
  • Make a personalized sign that identifies the fruit tree, it’s variety and it’s companions (including you)
  • Plant some guild companions (ideas on species in the presentation above)
  • Ensure the trunk is protected from rodents with a cage, milk carton or white plastic spiral

We still have a few trees up for adoption. Email Joyce or Dan at if you’re interested or want to help out with the food forest!