A versatile addition to any fruit tree guild, I use comfrey as a chop-and-drop living mulch and groundcover around my fruit trees. A medicinal herb great for pollinators that offers powerful soil enrichment, the chickens appreciate the prolific growth as nutrient-rich fodder.
Common Name: Comfrey, Knitbone
Scientific Name: Symphytum officinale
- Chicken fodder
- Dynamic accumulator (K, P, Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg)
- Honeybee forage
- Living mulch
- Shelter plant for beneficial lacewings, spiders, parasitoid wasps
Comfrey has a long history of medical uses, most notably for healing wounds and encouraging rapid cell growth.
Forest Garden Designing
- Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
- Plant Leaf Type: Deciduous
- Layer Use: Groundcover, herbaceous
- Flowering: April through June
- Leaf Shape: Large, hairy, lance-shaped
- Height: 3-5′
- Width: 3-5′
- USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
- Light: Full-part sun
- Shade: Tolerates light shade
- Moisture: Prefers moist soil
- pH: prefers slightly acid to neutral soil (6 – 7)
For use as a green manure or living mulch, chop the aboveground growth to the ground once it flowers. The leaves will decompose releasing nutrients to the soil surface mined from its deep roots. Repeat as needed throughout the season.