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Black locust and honey locust

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  • trentrhode
    Hi everyone, I am creating an edible forest garden in Ontario, Canada, and I am rather confused about whether black locusts and honey locusts fix nitrogen.
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 17 3:52 PM
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      Hi everyone,

      I am creating an edible forest garden in Ontario, Canada, and I am rather confused about whether black locusts and honey locusts fix nitrogen.

      Most reports say black locust does, and some reports say honey locust does, but many people seem to think it doesn't (the pfaf website does not list honey locust as fixing nitrogen).

      On the pfaf website, it says black locust fixes nitrogen at the top of the plant information, but then further down, Ken writes that he thinks it doesn't fix nitrogen, and that it is greedy for nutrients.

      Other websites mostly say black locust does fix nitrogen, and most people I talk to say it does, although everyone seems pretty divided about honey locust.

      The reason this is important to me is that there are barely any large nitrogen fixing trees that grow in my climate (zone 5). Italian Alders might, and Japanese Alders do.

      It is, of course, important to have large nitrogen fixing trees in an edible forest system (at least to me, as I really want to fill that niche).

      Any thoughts?

      ~Trent Rhode
    • matthew@b-and-t-world-seeds.com
      Plants need Rhizobia to fix nitrogen in a symbiotic relationship, if the plant is not infected with the nitrogen fixing bacteria it will not fix nitrogen.
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 17 11:35 PM
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        Plants need Rhizobia to fix nitrogen in a symbiotic relationship, if the plant is not infected with the nitrogen fixing bacteria it will not fix nitrogen. Inoculant is available for various types of plants.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizobia

        Matt


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: trentrhode@...
        To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: 4/18/09 1:51 AM
        Subject: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust

        Hi everyone,

        I am creating an edible forest garden in Ontario, Canada, and I am rather confused about whether black locusts and honey locusts fix nitrogen.

        Most reports say black locust does, and some reports say honey locust does, but many people seem to think it doesn't (the pfaf website does not list honey locust as fixing nitrogen).

        On the pfaf website, it says black locust fixes nitrogen at the top of the plant information, but then further down, Ken writes that he thinks it doesn't fix nitrogen, and that it is greedy for nutrients.

        Other websites mostly say black locust does fix nitrogen, and most people I talk to say it does, although everyone seems pretty divided about honey locust.

        The reason this is important to me is that there are barely any large nitrogen fixing trees that grow in my climate (zone 5). Italian Alders might, and Japanese Alders do.

        It is, of course, important to have large nitrogen fixing trees in an edible forest system (at least to me, as I really want to fill that niche).

        Any thoughts?

        ~Trent Rhode



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      • bufonia1@aol.com
        Wondering if the inoculant is present in the wild, and what the odds are that the potential nitrogen fixing plant will be planted in an area when absolutely
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 18 6:32 AM
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          Wondering if the inoculant is present in the wild, and what the odds are that the potential nitrogen fixing plant will be planted in an area when absolutely none is available. Also, is Rhizobia a universal species, or are there species specific inoculant bacteria?







          -----Original Message-----
          From: matthew@...
          To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 2:35 am
          Subject: Re: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust










          Plants need Rhizobia to fix nitrogen in a symbiotic relationship, if the plant
          is not infected with the nitrogen fixing bacteria it will not fix nitrogen.
          Inoculant is available for various types of plants.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizobia

          Matt


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: trentrhode@...
          To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: 4/18/09 1:51 AM
          Subject: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust

          Hi everyone,

          I am creating an edible forest garden in Ontario, Canada, and I am rather
          confused about whether black locusts and honey locusts fix nitrogen.

          Most reports say black locust does, and some reports say honey locust does, but
          many people seem to think it doesn't (the pfaf website does not list honey
          locust as fixing nitrogen).

          On the pfaf website, it says black locust fixes nitrogen at the top of the plant
          information, but then further down, Ken writes that he thinks it doesn't fix
          nitrogen, and that it is greedy for nutrients.

          Other websites mostly say black locust does fix nitrogen, and most people I talk
          to say it does, although everyone seems pretty divided about honey locust.

          The reason this is important to me is that there are barely any large nitrogen
          fixing trees that grow in my climate (zone 5). Italian Alders might, and
          Japanese Alders do.

          It is, of course, important to have large nitrogen fixing trees in an edible
          forest system (at least to me, as I really want to fill that niche).

          Any thoughts?

          ~Trent Rhode



          ------------------------------------

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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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        • Gail Lloyd
               Rhizobium bacteria usually are on the roots of legumes (beans, peas, clover, soy) & fix nitrogen for the plant they are on only.  I ve heard that the
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 18 3:30 PM
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                 Rhizobium bacteria usually are on the roots of legumes (beans, peas, clover, soy) & fix nitrogen for the plant they are on only.  I've heard that the nitrogen can help other plants once the legume is dead, but I don't know this for sure and can't find any reference online for it....  I know that Rhizobium bacteria must have a symbiotic relationship with a plant (legume) in order to give it nitrogen & other nutrients.
                 As Matt said below, plants can be inoculted with Rhizobium (info about this can be found at http://www.histick.com/faq.htm#What%20is%20an%20inoculant).
            "The treating of legume seeds with the proper strain of rhizobia is a routine agricultural practice."  http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/N/NitrogenFixation.html
                 As for trees, they have a different type of symbiotic relationship:
            "Most plants, including more that 90% of all trees, have special fungi associated with their roots. These fungi help plants absorb nutrients and water. These fungi form a symbiotic association with the roots of nearly all plants to help them grow. Sometimes these microbes become macrobes, large organisms, that you can see as mushrooms."
            http://4hgarden.msu.edu/kidstour/zoo/zdrmain.html
            Gail

            --- On Sat, 4/18/09, bufonia1@... <bufonia1@...> wrote:


            From: bufonia1@... <bufonia1@...>
            Subject: Re: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust
            To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Saturday, April 18, 2009, 6:32 AM









            Wondering if the inoculant is present in the wild, and what the odds are that the potential nitrogen fixing plant will be planted in an area when absolutely none is available. Also, is Rhizobia a universal species, or are there species specific inoculant bacteria?

            -----Original Message-----
            From: matthew@b-and- t-world-seeds. com
            To: pfaf@yahoogroups. com
            Sent: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 2:35 am
            Subject: Re: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust

            Plants need Rhizobia to fix nitrogen in a symbiotic relationship, if the plant
            is not infected with the nitrogen fixing bacteria it will not fix nitrogen.
            Inoculant is available for various types of plants.

            http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Rhizobia

            Matt

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: trentrhode@gmail. com
            To: pfaf@yahoogroups. com
            Sent: 4/18/09 1:51 AM
            Subject: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust

            Hi everyone,

            I am creating an edible forest garden in Ontario, Canada, and I am rather
            confused about whether black locusts and honey locusts fix nitrogen.

            Most reports say black locust does, and some reports say honey locust does, but
            many people seem to think it doesn't (the pfaf website does not list honey
            locust as fixing nitrogen).

            On the pfaf website, it says black locust fixes nitrogen at the top of the plant
            information, but then further down, Ken writes that he thinks it doesn't fix
            nitrogen, and that it is greedy for nutrients.

            Other websites mostly say black locust does fix nitrogen, and most people I talk
            to say it does, although everyone seems pretty divided about honey locust.

            The reason this is important to me is that there are barely any large nitrogen
            fixing trees that grow in my climate (zone 5). Italian Alders might, and
            Japanese Alders do.

            It is, of course, important to have large nitrogen fixing trees in an edible
            forest system (at least to me, as I really want to fill that niche).

            Any thoughts?

            ~Trent Rhode

            ------------ --------- --------- ------

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            To visit your group on the web, go to:
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            To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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            Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



















            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • matthew@b-and-t-world-seeds.com
            The inoculant is finely ground peat mixed with the Nitrogen fixing bacteria. The bacteria are present in the wild, but not necessarily where you want them; if
            Message 5 of 10 , Apr 18 4:15 PM
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              The inoculant is finely ground peat mixed with the Nitrogen fixing bacteria.

              The bacteria are present in the wild, but not necessarily where you want them; if members of the group of plants that you want to grow have not been growing recently in the land the correct Rhizobia will not be present.

              Dirt from near the roots of infected plants will contain Rhizobia; if someone near you is growing the plants you want, you can use some of their dirt to inoculate. (mailing dirt from other countries is generally frowned upon, it can contain serious plant pathogens)

              There are many different species of Rhizobia. Plants are associated with different groups of beneficial bacteria, and have systems for managing and balancing the populations of each species within the community

              Concentrated fungicides, fertilizer or lime will kill the bacteria, as will high soil acidity and drought.

              This page has a table of species specific Rhizobia groups:
              http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/AG152

              Matt

              >
              Wondering if the inoculant is present in the wild, and what the odds are that the potential nitrogen fixing plant will be planted in an area when absolutely none is available. Also, is Rhizobia a universal species, or are there species specific inoculant bacteria?







              -----Original Message-----
              From: matthew@...
              To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 2:35 am
              Subject: Re: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust










              Plants need Rhizobia to fix nitrogen in a symbiotic relationship, if the plant
              is not infected with the nitrogen fixing bacteria it will not fix nitrogen.
              Inoculant is available for various types of plants.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizobia

              Matt




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • matthew@b-and-t-world-seeds.com
              These beneficial soil organisms, which have symbiotic associations with our plants, are partly why we try to have no-dig gardens and try not to use chemicals
              Message 6 of 10 , Apr 18 5:02 PM
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                These beneficial soil organisms, which have symbiotic associations with our plants, are partly why we try to have no-dig gardens and try not to use chemicals that might damage the environment, why we compost and mulch and grow companion plants ( Jerusalem Artichoke is a forest margin plant ).
                An open forest garden is ideal, because it can become a sustainable community that only needs air, rain, sunlight and minimal management to continue.
                Unlike human capitalism, all unnecessary profits (dead leaves, branches, shit etc.) are immediately given to the nutrient pool, to be turned into real wealth - more rich dirt - which benefits the whole community.

                The soil community has been compared to our brains, information is passed by the movement of living organisms and the chemicals they carry - there is certainly something magical about these groves.

                Matt

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: gardenchick1949@...
                To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: 4/18/09 6:32 PM
                Subject: Re: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust

                ���� Rhizobium bacteria usually are on the roots of legumes (beans, peas, clover, soy) & fix nitrogen for the plant they are on only.� I've heard that the nitrogen can help other plants once the legume is dead, but I don't know this for sure and can't find any reference online for it....� I know that Rhizobium bacteria must have a symbiotic relationship with a plant (legume) in order to give it nitrogen & other nutrients.
                ���� As Matt said below, plants can be inoculted with Rhizobium (info about this can be found at http://www.histick.com/faq.htm#What%20is%20an%20inoculant).
                "The treating of legume seeds with the proper strain of rhizobia is a routine agricultural practice."� http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/N/NitrogenFixation.html
                ���� As for trees, they have a different type of symbiotic relationship:
                "Most plants, including more that 90% of all trees, have special fungi associated with their roots. These fungi help plants absorb nutrients and water.. These fungi form a symbiotic association with the roots of nearly all plants to help them grow. Sometimes these microbes become macrobes, large organisms, that you can see as mushrooms."
                http://4hgarden.msu.edu/kidstour/zoo/zdrmain.html
                Gail



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • icculus2000
                Hi Gail and everybody else on this thread.. Hope you all had a lovely weekend! The two symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationships we are talking about here
                Message 7 of 10 , Apr 19 2:32 PM
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                  Hi Gail and everybody else on this thread..

                  Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

                  The two symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationships we are talking about here are closely related..

                  Nitrogen-fixing bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi are the two groups in question.

                  The bacteria forms nodes on the roots of plants (predominantly legumes) and in exchange for starch obtained from plant roots, the bacteria fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere and stores it on these nodes on the roots.
                  In answer to the comment about whether this nitrogen can be used by other plants after the legume has died; if the legume is left in place after it dies, the nitrogen in the nodules will disperse into the immediate environment, but if we pull our "weeds" and throw them "away" - as we are sometimes conditioned to do - then obviously we are removing all associated benefits. Since the plants which fix nitrogen are often the volunteer naturalised or endemic pioneer species (the ones we didn't plant which come back no matter what we do), then we are forced to examine our categorisation of certain plants as weeds. A weed, as far as I can tell, is a plant which is not wanted where it is growing. No other criteria can really justify the label, and it pays to be honest about it. Nature won't let bare soil exist, and if we leave soil bare, nature will fill it with pioneer species, most of which have a function of loosening and enriching the topsoil.
                  Yes, nitrogen-fixing bacteria does exist in just about every soil environment in the planet, however, it can be useful to obtain a small packet of inoculant from your seed company in order to coat your seeds/seedlings at the time of sowing. If there is a crop legume or volunteer legum where you don't want it (for instance, if you are starting a new bed and need the space), cut the plant off at or just below ground level, leaving the root system to rot. Of course some plants, such as alfalfa/lucerne, regenreate from their root crown, and if you want the roots to die, you either have to cut below the crown, or pull the whole plant and throw it on top of the soil as mulch.

                  An interesting example of a nitrogen-fixing legume in a guild (multiple plant species growing together in a mutually beneficial group planting) is the "Three Sisters" from various Native American agricultures. Corn, beans and squash are the most common arrangement practiced, with many frequent references to a fourth or even fifth sister. Corn provides trellis for nitrogen-fixing bean (and/or pea) species, and squash provides a living mulch and shade below the other two. Interestingly enough, the nitrogen fixing bacteria feeds predominantly on the starch from the corn plant, not the beans.. meaning that the arrangement is more successful together than any of them would be as individual plantings (or as a monocrop).
                  Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden, talks about the energy relationships of the 3 sisters guild here: http://www.patternliteracy.com/guilddesigni.html
                  ..along with a fourth sister in the form of Rocky Mountain bee plant (Cleome serrulata).
                  I have heard that some groups also used sunflowers

                  Whew.

                  Mycorrhizal fungi is present in ALL forest ecosystems. Without fungi, forests would cease to exist. Without forests, whole ecosystems would collapse endangering our current position on the planet. So these organisms literally sustain our way of life on an everyday basis. Churchill said something like, "Never have so many done so much for so few." Well, in the case of fungi, "Never has an organism done so much with so little recognition for so long."
                  Urbanisation, habitat removal, strip and pit mining, conventional chemical farming and other invasive human activities do great damage to fungal communities. We can see the reduction of species occurrence in Great Britain, North America and throughout the world wherever vast development occurs unchecked.

                  So yes, fungal communities are endemic in every biome, but we may easily see how to encourage or discourage their proliferation if we only look with new eyes.

                  Two groups of mycorrhizae are recognised: endo- and ectomycorrhizal fungi. Endomycorrhizal fungi form relationships with between 80% and 90% of plants, depending on who you ask. Ectomycorrhizal fungi form relationships with only about 5% of plants, but some of these fungi are quite common. It is my understanding that the term "endo" means that the fungi colonise the outside of the root, whereas "ecto" means the fungi penetrate the root, forming an intimate matrix called a 'Hartig net."

                  So the vast majority of plants on the planet not only form relationships with these various species of fungi, but also REQUIRE the relationship in order to thrive in their environment.

                  There is an interesting bit of info here; this is the company I get my mushroom kits/patches/spored oils from.
                  http://www.fungi.com/mycogrow/index.html


                  Peace and love,

                  Steve.


                  --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, Gail Lloyd <gardenchick1949@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >      Rhizobium bacteria usually are on the roots of legumes (beans, peas, clover, soy) & fix nitrogen for the plant they are on only.  I've heard that the nitrogen can help other plants once the legume is dead, but I don't know this for sure and can't find any reference online for it....  I know that Rhizobium bacteria must have a symbiotic relationship with a plant (legume) in order to give it nitrogen & other nutrients.
                  >      As Matt said below, plants can be inoculted with Rhizobium (info about this can be found at http://www.histick.com/faq.htm#What%20is%20an%20inoculant).
                  > "The treating of legume seeds with the proper strain of rhizobia is a routine agricultural practice."  http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/N/NitrogenFixation.html
                  >      As for trees, they have a different type of symbiotic relationship:
                  > "Most plants, including more that 90% of all trees, have special fungi associated with their roots. These fungi help plants absorb nutrients and water. These fungi form a symbiotic association with the roots of nearly all plants to help them grow. Sometimes these microbes become macrobes, large organisms, that you can see as mushrooms."
                  > http://4hgarden.msu.edu/kidstour/zoo/zdrmain.html
                  > Gail
                  >
                  > --- On Sat, 4/18/09, bufonia1@... <bufonia1@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > From: bufonia1@... <bufonia1@...>
                  > Subject: Re: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust
                  > To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
                  > Date: Saturday, April 18, 2009, 6:32 AM
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Wondering if the inoculant is present in the wild, and what the odds are that the potential nitrogen fixing plant will be planted in an area when absolutely none is available. Also, is Rhizobia a universal species, or are there species specific inoculant bacteria?
                  >
                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: matthew@b-and- t-world-seeds. com
                  > To: pfaf@yahoogroups. com
                  > Sent: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 2:35 am
                  > Subject: Re: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust
                  >
                  > Plants need Rhizobia to fix nitrogen in a symbiotic relationship, if the plant
                  > is not infected with the nitrogen fixing bacteria it will not fix nitrogen.
                  > Inoculant is available for various types of plants.
                  >
                  > http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Rhizobia
                  >
                  > Matt
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: trentrhode@gmail. com
                  > To: pfaf@yahoogroups. com
                  > Sent: 4/18/09 1:51 AM
                  > Subject: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust
                  >
                  > Hi everyone,
                  >
                  > I am creating an edible forest garden in Ontario, Canada, and I am rather
                  > confused about whether black locusts and honey locusts fix nitrogen.
                  >
                  > Most reports say black locust does, and some reports say honey locust does, but
                  > many people seem to think it doesn't (the pfaf website does not list honey
                  > locust as fixing nitrogen).
                  >
                  > On the pfaf website, it says black locust fixes nitrogen at the top of the plant
                  > information, but then further down, Ken writes that he thinks it doesn't fix
                  > nitrogen, and that it is greedy for nutrients.
                  >
                  > Other websites mostly say black locust does fix nitrogen, and most people I talk
                  > to say it does, although everyone seems pretty divided about honey locust.
                  >
                  > The reason this is important to me is that there are barely any large nitrogen
                  > fixing trees that grow in my climate (zone 5). Italian Alders might, and
                  > Japanese Alders do.
                  >
                  > It is, of course, important to have large nitrogen fixing trees in an edible
                  > forest system (at least to me, as I really want to fill that niche).
                  >
                  > Any thoughts?
                  >
                  > ~Trent Rhode
                  >
                  > ------------ --------- --------- ------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                  > http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/pfaf/
                  >
                  > Your email settings:
                  > Individual Email | Traditional
                  >
                  > To change settings online go to:
                  > http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/pfaf/ join
                  > (Yahoo! ID required)
                  >
                  > To change settings via email:
                  > mailto:pfaf-digest@ yahoogroups. com
                  > mailto:pfaf-fullfeatured@ yahoogroups. com
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > pfaf-unsubscribe@ yahoogroups. com
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                  > http://docs. yahoo.com/ info/terms/
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  > ------------ --------- --------- ------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • Gail Lloyd
                  Steve, wow... thanks for all the info... it was very interesting. Gail ... From: icculus2000 Subject: [pfaf] Re: Black locust and honey
                  Message 8 of 10 , Apr 20 8:39 AM
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Steve, wow... thanks for all the info... it was very interesting.
                    Gail

                    --- On Sun, 4/19/09, icculus2000 <permalove@...> wrote:


                    From: icculus2000 <permalove@...>
                    Subject: [pfaf] Re: Black locust and honey locust (rhizobia and mycorrhizae)
                    To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Sunday, April 19, 2009, 2:32 PM








                    Hi Gail and everybody else on this thread..

                    Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

                    The two symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationships we are talking about here are closely related..

                    Nitrogen-fixing bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi are the two groups in question.

                    The bacteria forms nodes on the roots of plants (predominantly legumes) and in exchange for starch obtained from plant roots, the bacteria fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere and stores it on these nodes on the roots.
                    In answer to the comment about whether this nitrogen can be used by other plants after the legume has died; if the legume is left in place after it dies, the nitrogen in the nodules will disperse into the immediate environment, but if we pull our "weeds" and throw them "away" - as we are sometimes conditioned to do - then obviously we are removing all associated benefits. Since the plants which fix nitrogen are often the volunteer naturalised or endemic pioneer species (the ones we didn't plant which come back no matter what we do), then we are forced to examine our categorisation of certain plants as weeds. A weed, as far as I can tell, is a plant which is not wanted where it is growing. No other criteria can really justify the label, and it pays to be honest about it. Nature won't let bare soil exist, and if we leave soil bare, nature will fill it with pioneer species, most of which have a function of loosening and enriching the topsoil.
                    Yes, nitrogen-fixing bacteria does exist in just about every soil environment in the planet, however, it can be useful to obtain a small packet of inoculant from your seed company in order to coat your seeds/seedlings at the time of sowing. If there is a crop legume or volunteer legum where you don't want it (for instance, if you are starting a new bed and need the space), cut the plant off at or just below ground level, leaving the root system to rot. Of course some plants, such as alfalfa/lucerne, regenreate from their root crown, and if you want the roots to die, you either have to cut below the crown, or pull the whole plant and throw it on top of the soil as mulch.

                    An interesting example of a nitrogen-fixing legume in a guild (multiple plant species growing together in a mutually beneficial group planting) is the "Three Sisters" from various Native American agricultures. Corn, beans and squash are the most common arrangement practiced, with many frequent references to a fourth or even fifth sister. Corn provides trellis for nitrogen-fixing bean (and/or pea) species, and squash provides a living mulch and shade below the other two. Interestingly enough, the nitrogen fixing bacteria feeds predominantly on the starch from the corn plant, not the beans.. meaning that the arrangement is more successful together than any of them would be as individual plantings (or as a monocrop).
                    Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden, talks about the energy relationships of the 3 sisters guild here: http://www.patternl iteracy.com/ guilddesigni. html
                    ..along with a fourth sister in the form of Rocky Mountain bee plant (Cleome serrulata).
                    I have heard that some groups also used sunflowers

                    Whew.

                    Mycorrhizal fungi is present in ALL forest ecosystems. Without fungi, forests would cease to exist. Without forests, whole ecosystems would collapse endangering our current position on the planet. So these organisms literally sustain our way of life on an everyday basis. Churchill said something like, "Never have so many done so much for so few." Well, in the case of fungi, "Never has an organism done so much with so little recognition for so long."
                    Urbanisation, habitat removal, strip and pit mining, conventional chemical farming and other invasive human activities do great damage to fungal communities. We can see the reduction of species occurrence in Great Britain, North America and throughout the world wherever vast development occurs unchecked.

                    So yes, fungal communities are endemic in every biome, but we may easily see how to encourage or discourage their proliferation if we only look with new eyes.

                    Two groups of mycorrhizae are recognised: endo- and ectomycorrhizal fungi. Endomycorrhizal fungi form relationships with between 80% and 90% of plants, depending on who you ask. Ectomycorrhizal fungi form relationships with only about 5% of plants, but some of these fungi are quite common. It is my understanding that the term "endo" means that the fungi colonise the outside of the root, whereas "ecto" means the fungi penetrate the root, forming an intimate matrix called a 'Hartig net."

                    So the vast majority of plants on the planet not only form relationships with these various species of fungi, but also REQUIRE the relationship in order to thrive in their environment.

                    There is an interesting bit of info here; this is the company I get my mushroom kits/patches/ spored oils from.
                    http://www.fungi. com/mycogrow/ index.html

                    Peace and love,

                    Steve.

                    --- In pfaf@yahoogroups. com, Gail Lloyd <gardenchick1949@ ...> wrote:
                    >
                    >      Rhizobium bacteria usually are on the roots of legumes (beans, peas, clover, soy) & fix nitrogen for the plant they are on only.  I've heard that the nitrogen can help other plants once the legume is dead, but I don't know this for sure and can't find any reference online for it....  I know that Rhizobium bacteria must have a symbiotic relationship with a plant (legume) in order to give it nitrogen & other nutrients.
                    >      As Matt said below, plants can be inoculted with Rhizobium (info about this can be found at http://www.histick. com/faq.htm# What%20is% 20an%20inoculant).
                    > "The treating of legume seeds with the proper strain of rhizobia is a routine agricultural practice."  http://users. rcn.com/jkimball .ma.ultranet/ BiologyPages/ N/NitrogenFixati on.html
                    >      As for trees, they have a different type of symbiotic relationship:
                    > "Most plants, including more that 90% of all trees, have special fungi associated with their roots. These fungi help plants absorb nutrients and water. These fungi form a symbiotic association with the roots of nearly all plants to help them grow. Sometimes these microbes become macrobes, large organisms, that you can see as mushrooms."
                    > http://4hgarden. msu.edu/kidstour /zoo/zdrmain. html
                    > Gail
                    >
                    > --- On Sat, 4/18/09, bufonia1@... <bufonia1@.. .> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > From: bufonia1@... <bufonia1@.. .>
                    > Subject: Re: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust
                    > To: pfaf@yahoogroups. com
                    > Date: Saturday, April 18, 2009, 6:32 AM
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Wondering if the inoculant is present in the wild, and what the odds are that the potential nitrogen fixing plant will be planted in an area when absolutely none is available. Also, is Rhizobia a universal species, or are there species specific inoculant bacteria?
                    >
                    > -----Original Message-----
                    > From: matthew@b-and- t-world-seeds. com
                    > To: pfaf@yahoogroups. com
                    > Sent: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 2:35 am
                    > Subject: Re: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust
                    >
                    > Plants need Rhizobia to fix nitrogen in a symbiotic relationship, if the plant
                    > is not infected with the nitrogen fixing bacteria it will not fix nitrogen.
                    > Inoculant is available for various types of plants.
                    >
                    > http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Rhizobia
                    >
                    > Matt
                    >
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: trentrhode@gmail. com
                    > To: pfaf@yahoogroups. com
                    > Sent: 4/18/09 1:51 AM
                    > Subject: [pfaf] Black locust and honey locust
                    >
                    > Hi everyone,
                    >
                    > I am creating an edible forest garden in Ontario, Canada, and I am rather
                    > confused about whether black locusts and honey locusts fix nitrogen.
                    >
                    > Most reports say black locust does, and some reports say honey locust does, but
                    > many people seem to think it doesn't (the pfaf website does not list honey
                    > locust as fixing nitrogen).
                    >
                    > On the pfaf website, it says black locust fixes nitrogen at the top of the plant
                    > information, but then further down, Ken writes that he thinks it doesn't fix
                    > nitrogen, and that it is greedy for nutrients.
                    >
                    > Other websites mostly say black locust does fix nitrogen, and most people I talk
                    > to say it does, although everyone seems pretty divided about honey locust.
                    >
                    > The reason this is important to me is that there are barely any large nitrogen
                    > fixing trees that grow in my climate (zone 5). Italian Alders might, and
                    > Japanese Alders do.
                    >
                    > It is, of course, important to have large nitrogen fixing trees in an edible
                    > forest system (at least to me, as I really want to fill that niche).
                    >
                    > Any thoughts?
                    >
                    > ~Trent Rhode
                    >
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                  • trentrhode
                    Thank you for all of your responses. I am aware of the relationship between nitrogen fixing bacteria and certain trees and plants. I am also aware that honey
                    Message 9 of 10 , Apr 20 11:13 AM
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Thank you for all of your responses. I am aware of the relationship between nitrogen fixing bacteria and certain trees and plants. I am also aware that honey locust and black locusts are legume trees.

                      However, there are sources that say (like the Plants for a Future website), that honey locust does not fix nitrogen, and that black locust may not either, despite them being in the legume family. Therefore, it is not necessarily a matter of whether the bacteria is present, it is a matter of whether they indeed provide habitat and starch for this bacteria and whether or not the bacteria have a nitrogen fixing relationship with the trees.

                      Although some sources say they fix nitrogen, others say they do not. Perhaps the sources that say they do assume it is so because they are legumes, and not based on evidence. I guess I'll have to dig up some roots and look for the nodules, and perhaps check them out under a microscope!

                      I am also aware that Italian Alders (Alnus cordata), Japanese Alders (Alnus japonica) and Grey Alder (Alnus incana) can tolerate dry sites and that they do fix nitrogen (using a different bacteria than the legumes).

                      Again, permanent, perennial nitrogen fixing crops are very important for sustainable agricultural systems, and for home scale gardens, since the nutrient cycle can not be nearly as efficient without them. Even better are trees and shrubs that can be coppiced or pollarded (they grow back when they are cut near ground level, or higher up, and you can then use the resultant material as mulch, which builds soil).

                      Another of my favourite plants that fixes nitrogen is sea buckthorn (using the same bacteria as alders). They are amazingly hardy, drought tolerant, incredibly nutritious (edible berries) small trees (20 feet or so). I highly, highly recommend looking into them. They are a very valuable crop. One berry has about 10 times more vitamin C than an entire orange, apparently, among other nutrients that they also have in high quantities (vitamin A, vitamin E and essential fatty acids).

                      ~Trent

                      --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, "trentrhode" <trentrhode@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Hi everyone,
                      >
                      > I am creating an edible forest garden in Ontario, Canada, and I am rather confused about whether black locusts and honey locusts fix nitrogen.
                      >
                      > Most reports say black locust does, and some reports say honey locust does, but many people seem to think it doesn't (the pfaf website does not list honey locust as fixing nitrogen).
                      >
                      > On the pfaf website, it says black locust fixes nitrogen at the top of the plant information, but then further down, Ken writes that he thinks it doesn't fix nitrogen, and that it is greedy for nutrients.
                      >
                      > Other websites mostly say black locust does fix nitrogen, and most people I talk to say it does, although everyone seems pretty divided about honey locust.
                      >
                      > The reason this is important to me is that there are barely any large nitrogen fixing trees that grow in my climate (zone 5). Italian Alders might, and Japanese Alders do.
                      >
                      > It is, of course, important to have large nitrogen fixing trees in an edible forest system (at least to me, as I really want to fill that niche).
                      >
                      > Any thoughts?
                      >
                      > ~Trent Rhode
                      >
                    • matthew@b-and-t-world-seeds.com
                      Nitrogen fixing and possible protonodules in Gleditsia: http://resources.metapress.com/pdf-preview.axd?code=p1np211383437122&size=largest Gleditsia triacanthos
                      Message 10 of 10 , Apr 20 4:28 PM
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Nitrogen fixing and possible protonodules in Gleditsia:
                        http://resources.metapress.com/pdf-preview.axd?code=p1np211383437122&size=largest

                        Gleditsia triacanthos does accumulate substantial nitrogen, but does not nodulate - foliage, seeds and fruit are considered a good source of nitrogen for foraging animals. The species is also known for shedding limbs (like many Leguminous trees), has large seed pods and is deciduous - so probably a nitrogen rich litter is also produced.

                        Matt

                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: trentrhode@...
                        To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: 4/20/09 6:04 PM
                        Subject: [pfaf] Re: Black locust and honey locust

                        Thank you for all of your responses. I am aware of the relationship between nitrogen fixing bacteria and certain trees and plants. I am also aware that honey locust and black locusts are legume trees.

                        However, there are sources that say (like the Plants for a Future website), that honey locust does not fix nitrogen, and that black locust may not either, despite them being in the legume family. Therefore, it is not necessarily a matter of whether the bacteria is present, it is a matter of whether they indeed provide habitat and starch for this bacteria and whether or not the bacteria have a nitrogen fixing relationship with the trees.

                        Although some sources say they fix nitrogen, others say they do not. Perhaps the sources that say they do assume it is so because they are legumes, and not based on evidence. I guess I'll have to dig up some roots and look for the nodules, and perhaps check them out under a microscope!

                        I am also aware that Italian Alders (Alnus cordata), Japanese Alders (Alnus japonica) and Grey Alder (Alnus incana) can tolerate dry sites and that they do fix nitrogen (using a different bacteria than the legumes).

                        Again, permanent, perennial nitrogen fixing crops are very important for sustainable agricultural systems, and for home scale gardens, since the nutrient cycle can not be nearly as efficient without them. Even better are trees and shrubs that can be coppiced or pollarded (they grow back when they are cut near ground level, or higher up, and you can then use the resultant material as mulch, which builds soil).

                        Another of my favourite plants that fixes nitrogen is sea buckthorn (using the same bacteria as alders). They are amazingly hardy, drought tolerant, incredibly nutritious (edible berries) small trees (20 feet or so). I highly, highly recommend looking into them. They are a very valuable crop. One berry has about 10 times more vitamin C than an entire orange, apparently, among other nutrients that they also have in high quantities (vitamin A, vitamin E and essential fatty acids).

                        ~Trent

                        --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, "trentrhode" wrote:
                        >
                        > Hi everyone,
                        >
                        > I am creating an edible forest garden in Ontario, Canada, and I am rather confused about whether black locusts and honey locusts fix nitrogen.
                        >
                        > Most reports say black locust does, and some reports say honey locust does, but many people seem to think it doesn't (the pfaf website does not list honey locust as fixing nitrogen).
                        >
                        > On the pfaf website, it says black locust fixes nitrogen at the top of the plant information, but then further down, Ken writes that he thinks it doesn't fix nitrogen, and that it is greedy for nutrients.
                        >
                        > Other websites mostly say black locust does fix nitrogen, and most people I talk to say it does, although everyone seems pretty divided about honey locust.
                        >
                        > The reason this is important to me is that there are barely any large nitrogen fixing trees that grow in my climate (zone 5). Italian Alders might, and Japanese Alders do.
                        >
                        > It is, of course, important to have large nitrogen fixing trees in an edible forest system (at least to me, as I really want to fill that niche).
                        >
                        > Any thoughts?
                        >
                        > ~Trent Rhode
                        >




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