Midwest Permaculture

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Plant Guilds

Hey permaculturists and gardeners...! Let's get out of the books and share some of our personal successes with each other in creating plant guilds.

Members: 173
Latest Activity: Apr 6

Successful Plant Guilds

We have asked one of our PDC Graduates and Midwest Permaculture's Official Plant Guy, Bryce Ruddock, and his knowledgeable and experienced wife and partner Debby to host this section of the website.

The two of them have totally transformed their traditional-suburban yard in South Milwaukee into a horticultural and edible Mecca. I bet they have over 300 varieties of food and medicinal plants in their yard. Between the two of them they make up a walking encyclopedia of plant knowledge.

We also asked Bryce if he would come up with a handful of plant guild examples to give beginning students of permaculture some great ideas of where and how to begin to place plants into helpful and productive groupings.

9 Plant Guilds - by Bryce Ruddock
Free to Download

Published as a Gift from Bryce and Midwest Permaculture
under the Creative Commons License

And New...Just Released (July 2014)
 -- Integrated Forest Gardening --
"The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds"
Also by Bryce in collaboration with our Friends Dan and Wayne
This is a Great Book!!!  More Here...

Feel free to ask Bryce and Debby any questions you might have on either the Comment Wall or by opening up a new discussion, both are found below.

Please weigh in with your own knowledge and experience as well. Let's share our knowledge and experience with others...Bill Wilson

Discussion Forum

Maple Guild?

Started by Laura Newby Apr 4.

Rain garden, heavy on edible perennials 2 Replies

Started by Scott Miskiel. Last reply by Bryce Ruddock Feb 11, 2018.

Bryce--Question on Shade Tolerant Viburnum 1 Reply

Started by Mike Gibbons. Last reply by Bryce Ruddock Oct 15, 2017.

Black-Walnut Plant Guilds 43 Replies

Started by Sher-Doc. Yidaki. Last reply by Bill Wilson Feb 12, 2017.

Bryce - help with plant ideas! 4 Replies

Started by Rebecca MacDonald. Last reply by Bryce Ruddock Mar 4, 2016.

Paw paws 6 Replies

Started by Annette Bowman. Last reply by Steve Potratz Nov 11, 2015.

2015 What are you planning to Do? 4 Replies

Started by Bryce Ruddock. Last reply by Bryce Ruddock Jun 15, 2015.

Bryce, this is a request for help in the sandbox

Started by Wendy Shafer Jun 5, 2015.

Integrated Forest Gardening: the book

Started by Bryce Ruddock Aug 12, 2014.

Who has grown the haycinth bean? (Lablab purpureus) 5 Replies

Started by Bill Wilson. Last reply by Bryce Ruddock Apr 17, 2014.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Plant Guilds to add comments!

Comment by Midwest Permaculture on February 19, 2018 at 9:08am

Hi Bryce... We're in class today... PDC course #76. Having a good time. Hi to you and Debby.

Comment by Mike Gibbons on January 3, 2018 at 5:56pm


Thanks for the quick reply.  The bermuda has been my biggest issue.  It is planted around here as a turf grass in lawns and as forage for animals.  I assume the previous owners had a horse or two.  I read an article about how shading bermuda can slow its growth.  I am glad you confirmed that.  My long term plan for that area will hopefully create enough shade to control it or kill it off.  I will definitely try to find some good fast growing perennials to add to the area.

The Forest Service site you linked looks like a pretty awesome resource.  It gives me some hope that this cold snap we are in might help kill some off it off.  Although normal temps for OK are a high of 50 and low of 29, we have had a week of below freezing and several days of highs in the teens and lows in the single digits.  I will try to post pictures after I get everything planted.

Comment by Bryce Ruddock on January 3, 2018 at 1:13pm

Sources for goumi plants are Burnt Ridge Nursery http://www.burntridgenursery.com/Goumi-Bushes/products/40/

Raintree Nursery http://www.raintreenursery.com/Berries/Goumi/

Jungs Nursery https://www.jungseed.com/C/728/Goumi

and One Green World Nursery https://onegreenworld.com/product-category/fruiting-shrubs/goumi/

Bermuda grass is deep rooted and difficult to eradicate. At the edges of the guild area put in a barrier of wood or something else that rots out slowly to prevent roots from getting through. It needs to be buried as much as 24 inches deep as the Bermuda Grass roots are both rhizomatous and stoloniferous. It your equivalent of our quackgrass up north except that the Bermuda grass is on steroids. Much more vigorous and equally persistent. It is also allelopathic especially to peaches which are in your guild. Mulching consistently is a partial option but is main enemy is shade. Give it plenty of shade and it will die out. Some shade options could be thickly growing perennials such as Echinacea which are both medicinal as well as insect attractors, iris because of its shallow rhizomes, comfrey of course though it can get weedy, or any combinations of mat forming plants and many useful herbs fit that requirement.   Cultural requirements as well as controls for it can be found on the Forest Service site Fire Effects Information System https://www.feis-crs.org/feis/

 At that site look for the line beginning with Species Reviews and enter Cynodon dactylon then click on Enter Species. A listing will come up , then click on the acronym for the plant data. A more fun way of doing this is to click on find all. You will be rewarded with listings of thousands of plant and animal species with all the data for them. Most will be natives but quite a few introduced species are present on the list. Click on the acronym for a species and it pops right up. All data can be printed up for future easy reference.

Comment by Mike Gibbons on January 2, 2018 at 6:11pm

Hey Bryce

I am working on a design for an area off the side of my house.  It is based, in part, on the fruit tree guild in the ebook.  I was hoping to get some feedback on the design and any suggestions.  One potential issue I have is from bermuda grass taking over.  I plan to sheet mulch but I was wondering if you have any thoughts on what I can put around the border to help keep the bermuda out?  I was thinking marigolds might help but wasn't sure. I have found good sources for all the plants and trees except goumi berry (elaeagnus multiflora).  Any suggestions on where to acquire some?  

Comment by Bill Wilson on December 13, 2017 at 9:37am

Wonderful Bryce!  Just what I was looking for.
Thank You.

"‘Streamco’ is a male clone and does not produce root suckers. It does not pose a danger of spreading."

Comment by Bryce Ruddock on December 13, 2017 at 7:38am

For further willow possibilities including even more of the S purpurea types of which Streamco is one try this site. The grower is in Canada but does ship to the US. The varieties are all multi functional, especially for craft work and living fences. Cannot vouch for the spread of many of the types but with all these possible craft uses they could help support the local economy  in the future. http://www.lakeshorewillows.com/our-willows.html

Comment by Bryce Ruddock on December 12, 2017 at 5:05pm

Ran across reference to this species of willow back about twenty years ago. It looks to be multi functional and is readily available, has good anchorage and although non native has been in the country since colonial times without ill affect. . Streamco%20willow.pdf

Comment by Bill Wilson on December 12, 2017 at 12:05pm

Hi Bryce.

We're doing some design work on a pond that is being cleaned out and re-excavated. I'm considering designing in some chinampas off of one shore. I want to plant willow around the edges to keep the sidewalls from caving in.

The willow that grows native here is the black willow. Its more of a shrub and grows to about 12 feet high and spreads aggressively. Even-though we will be coppicing the willow I don't wish to deal with the spreading shoots. What varieties would you suggest we consider? I've got access to a corkscrew willow tree for cuttings. 

Your thoughts?  Thanks-

Comment by Bryce Ruddock on October 23, 2017 at 12:20pm

Hello Bill and students.

Comment by Bill Wilson on October 23, 2017 at 12:17pm

Hi Bryce... In Calif. at calEarth... 

We just wanted to say Hi.


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