Can anyone recommend something to plant in between the rows of fruit trees? Ideally it would be able to outcompete weeds and minimize the need for maintenance. Thanks!
Think outside the box. What weeds are you concerned about? Are they flowering weeds, and do they flower at different times from the blossoms? That would benefit pollinators - which you need. Are they weeds that attract beneficial insects? What are the root profiles? Are you getting a mix of tap root and shallow (grass) surface root? How many of the plants are perennial and how many are annuals? How much biomass will you get when the plants are mowed or die back on their own? Are you getting nitrogen fixing…but not too much? Plant a mix - and embrace the plants you didn’t plant. They are probably helping your orchard in ways that no-one has measured yet. The more diverse your ground cover is, the better.
Definitely agree that a ground cover mix is better than an “artificial” monoculture under your orchard. Maximize the attraction to beneficial insects.
Weeds themselves are useful as a cover crop, you just have to mow them before they go to seed.
True, but that does not apply to all weeds, such as rhizomatous ones (such as quack grass).