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.
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!
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!)
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.
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.
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?
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!
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...
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.
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.
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.