Although grass around a fruit tree can look nice, it can compete with the tree for nutrients and hinder its growth. Additionally, unmowed grass can create a rodent habitat and harm the tree. To manage vegetation around the tree, consider the following solutions.
To save the tree while removing grass, dig out the grass manually, at least 1-2 inches below the soil. Avoid mechanical tools to prevent damage to roots or bark that can stunt growth or kill the tree.
Quickly remove grass using herbicides like glyphosate or Roundup (liquid) or Casoron or trifluralin/Preen (granular). Ensure safety for fruit trees by reading the label. For liquid herbicides, spray evenly around the tree while covering it with cardboard, then water the soil. Keep granular herbicides at least 1 foot away from the tree trunk.
Instead of using herbicides, a natural option is to spray vinegar directly on grass. You can mix a small amount of liquid soap for a thick consistency. However, it is not a permanent solution because it does not kill the roots.
Edging protects trees from invasive grass while adding design to the landscape. It maintains tree shape, stops sprawling, and protects the trunk from weeds, animals, and mechanical damage. Use stone, brick, concrete, pine, or rocks as edging materials.
To prevent the grass from growing back, add a 3-4 inch layer of mulch around the same radius as the tree's canopy. Use materials like chopped leaves, compost, or wood chips. To create a stronger blockade, add mulch over a weed barrier cloth. Once the mulch decomposes, add more to maintain the barrier against the grass.