This is an example of a tree guild!
A tree guild is a permaculture method of planting a tree in combination with companion plants that will grow together to create a mini ecosystem around the tree.
Comfrey is one of our favorite guild plants to use when we plant trees. Comfrey is good at weed suppression – you can use the leaves as mulch (chopping several times a year… it’ll always grow back!) and it will choke out nearly all weed competition. Comfrey is also known as an accumulator because it “mines” nutrients from deep in the soil and brings them to the surface where other plants (such as trees!) can access them.
Utilizing this permaculture method can help you make the most out of your orchard space by incorporating other edible, medicinal, or flowering crops into your design and keeping your trees healthy and productive. It can also make your space more habitable for beneficial wildlife like birds, pollinators, and beneficial insects which lose habitat when space between trees is mowed.