Nitrogen fixers?

Kailua Kona, HI

Any suggestions for nitrogen fixing low plants that would be good to plant under a couple of citrus trees? Nice looking and not too hard to control would be a plus because it's a backyard garden in Hawaii.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I don't want to sound stupid, but I've not heard the term nitrogen fixing before. What is the goal?

Rj

Keaau, HI

Nitrogen fixing plants are those plants that carry beneficial bacteria (Rhizobium) in their roots which convert atmospheric nitrogen into that which a plant can use. Many plants in nature are "nitrogen fixers" with the aid of soil bacteria; usually in agriculture they refer to Legumes, Bean Family Plants, Fabaceae.

A low to the ground nitrogen fixer for gardens in Kona would be Arachis glabrata, the "Rhizoma Peanut". It can handle weed eating / lawn mowing / traffic (foot). It is a ground-cover with yellow flowers, three leaflets, and remains very prostrate.
You can probably find it growing around Kona in commercial areas. It requires very little care. It is easy to get cuttings from!

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

LOL..I was going to say...Where's Dave...thanks. I heard the term as applied to elements, but not plants being nitrogen fixers.
Spraying Seaweed extract accomplishes that as well.

This message was edited Jun 15, 2009 8:57 PM

Keaau, HI

Hi Randy, I think Dave is outside in the garden somewhere.

Several groups of beneficial bacteria are specifically nitrogen fixers. In general Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter convert ammonia (urea / urine) into nitrogen usable by plants. Azotobacter and Beijerenkia are free living and fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. Rhizobium live in a plants' roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen directly into the plant!
Legumes are a major plant group aided by Rhizobium bacteria. They are located in nodules found on a plants' roots.

The worst thing a person can do to disturb beneficial soil bacteria is to apply large amounts of fertilizer salts ("hot fertilizers") around a plant. Adding small amounts of commercial fertilizer more often, or better yet using organics is healthier for the plant and soil. (The Soil is Alive!)

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Interesting...mind if I put that in my journal under the Seaweed files..

If this isn't Dave..then.............................................who?

Vieques, PR

What's called Mani (ma-NEE) here is arachis pintoi --this plant fixes N really well and is a nice low ground cover, salt tolerant, nice small yellow flowers continuously.

Spreads enthusiastically, but if necessary, it can simply be weed-B-gon'd and will stay "gon'd".

This message was edited Jun 16, 2009 9:32 PM

Thumbnail by JPlunket
Vieques, PR

Metro, I didn't see you had suggested essentially the same thing --my bad. Probably looks similar to arachis pintoi, so hope the pic helps.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

So are regular peanuts working on this level?
what are the best ways, and plants to apply the nitrogen fixers..and which plants or trees need it most..or is that too broad of question

Vieques, PR

This link provides lots of technical info
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/GBASE/DATA/Pf000463.htm

They say low salt tolerance, but I have not found this to be the case --I face the Trade Winds here, 100 yards from the Caribbean only about 25 feet above sea level, and the mani thrives.


This message was edited Jun 16, 2009 9:46 PM

This message was edited Jun 16, 2009 10:00 PM

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

thankyou

Keaau, HI

Hi Randy, feel free to use any info in your journal.

JPlunket's Arachis pintoi looks exactly like Arachis glabrata!

Nitrogen fixers are usually used in association with producing crops; the Rhizoma Peanut works well on poor soils with high traffic.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Thankyou...most like will appear in my "off the shelf Garden tips..H202 and....."

noonamah, Australia

I remember as a little kid watching my father growing broad beans and then when they were large but not yet flowering he'd dig them in. Green manuring with nitrogen fixing plants. It's quite an ancient practice. In the Americas the agricultural native populations used to plant corn and beans. The beans would use the corn as a trellis and the corn would gain some nitrogen.

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

Konagirl - The Ornamental Peanut is also fairly invasive...and it will grow out into your lawn, but is easy to mow. Frankly, I would rather have the peanut than grass. You can buy it over here for about 12$ a flat at a nursery I know.... I managed to kill some by spraying it with fertilizer...so it is easy to use. We have it planted. Initially you need to weed it...but after it takes...it is set to go.

Kwajalein, Marshall Islands(Zone 11)

This has been a very interesting thread for me. I have a problem with dogs...my yard is on a corner, so all the owners walking their dogs seem to let them "do their business" in MY yard! Aaaargh! I have posted signs, asked them not to when I see them, even written an editorial in the paper! All to no avail, so my question is: Would this Arachis (my mind is seeing "Arakis/aka/Dune,,ha ha) be a good ground cover for the areas the dogs seem to favor? Would it then convert the urine to N and benefit my soil, rather than have these brown dead areas?

Yokwe,
Shari

Keaau, HI

Hi Shari, the Arachis ground-cover fixes atmospheric nitrogen. The urea might be deterrent to the plant, as it is toxic to the bacteria.

I recommend a nice thorny hedge for the animals; maybe Bougainvillea.

Aloha, Dave

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

Shari...I can send you tons of Sensitive Grass. It is covered with thorns and the dogs hate to walk on it!!!

Keaau, HI

Hey Carol, I think that would keep the dogs, cats, and neighbors away!

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

yup

Kwajalein, Marshall Islands(Zone 11)

Carol...great plan, except that I walk in the area as well! Funny though, we do have an area that we call the riff-raff deterant area. Lots of "stickery" things there...Spanish Bayonett, Crown of Thorns, my mystery euphorbia, pineapples...NO Children, No Dogs! Ha Ha.

'Sides Carol, if you want to send me something...I can think of about a ton of things in your magnificent wonderland that I would love to try instead!

Oh well, I guess it's back to being the neighborhood grouch!

Yokwe,
Shari

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

I think it is deplorable that you have neighbours you have asked not to let their dogs poop in your yard and they ignore you. If you know who they are, why don't you

1. take a picture of the poop and post it in the local paper or on the bulletin board... "FOUND...."
2. bag it up and return it

Huh?

Kwajalein, Marshall Islands(Zone 11)

Great ideas! I may just try them both! Thanks Carol! LOL


Yokwe,
Shari

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I HATE stepping in dog doo... I make all guests clean up after themselves when they bring dogs.

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

I think that in Washington State you can be fined for walking your dog and NOT having something with you to 'scoop' it up.

Kwajalein, Marshall Islands(Zone 11)

Its the law here as well...just not easily enforced. What astonishes me is that anyone would do that on an island this small! The dog owners are known, and eventually someone is going to get well and publicly "caught". Common sense alone should make these people pick up after their dogs...we have a fly problem as it is! I just don't get it...

Oh well, enough about an unpleasant topic.

Yokwe,
Shari

Tilaran, Costa Rica

I told my neighbor if he didn't tie up his mutt at night I was going to shoot it.
2 nights later my perimeter alarm went off and I kept my word. Idiots.

Back on topic.
Mani, as stated above, is a nice plant for the job.Grows about 6 or so inches tall and has lil yellow flowers.
However. It attracts moles....at least down here.

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

I remember in the residential parts of Paris...in the summer you could slolum down the sidewalks...and the stench was awful!!!

Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico(Zone 11)

I think shooting a dog because it has an irresponsible owner is disgusting. How would you feel if someone shot your kid because it strayed onto their land and you weren't supervising it. How you could think this is something to brag about on a forum is beyond me, you should be arrested.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

You guys should have that discussion on dmail please

Keaau, HI

Catching a stray dog and taking it to the humane shelter or calling the dog catcher is the law for dealing with wayward animals in Hawai'i.

It is legal to shoot a dog if it is being an agricultural pest, killing chickens or attacking other animals.

If someone shoots a dog maliciously, without good reason, they could be facing a minimum 5 year jail term.
A young man on O'ahu was recently locked up for killing a dog he didn't like.
A woman there was just sentenced to three years for bludgeoning a peacock because, as she said, it wouldn't be quiet.

noonamah, Australia

The only quiet peacock is a dead peacock. Same with Guinea Fowl. And they then provide nitrogen for the soil (well, had to keep it on topic!)

Keaau, HI

I have a friend with Peacocks, he loves them, I find them irritating. They do dump poo on everything, but I would rather find other sources of nitrogen for the garden.

noonamah, Australia

I've kept guinea fowl but my neighbour over the road has peacocks and guinea fowl that sometimes come visiting. Not often, but I can hear them all the way over at his place anyway. Try keeping ducks, or muscovies, if you want plentiful supplies of a nitrogen source.

Keaau, HI

Hey Tropicbreeze, you have hit on an important fact! Most of the folks who don't like Peacocks, live near them!

noonamah, Australia

Maybe not for long for me, that neighbour is trying to sell out. Haven't heard the peacocks just lately, they might have been sold already.

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

The cry of the fowl peacock reminds me of a drowning child...sends shivers down my spine.

Hillsborough , NC(Zone 7a)

LOL! There are peafowl walking down the road in North Kihei almost every morning!

noonamah, Australia

Carol, are you sure that wasn't a foul peacock? ;O)

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

That's what I meant...but the Peahen is just as foul a fowl. A friend of mine in N. Qld. has peafowl and from the front door to the driveway is a slalom course!!!

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