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Daffodil functions

 
Steve Nicolini
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I read in Gaia's Garden that daffodils are considered "grass suppressing bulbs."

How do the daffodils suppress grass?

Is there any edible part of a daffodil?
 
Kelda Miller
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I've never heard of any edible parts of the daffodil, though I would love to learn more if so, though. I live in daff country: we have a daffodil parade, elect a daffodil queen, etc.

The reason it could suppress grass is just a low-growing thick leaved competitor, that, with healthy bulbs would be able to push through any grass grown in the winter and declare its dominance. But that isn't fullproof! There still may be grass, but a lot less. This is great for fruit trees because they don't like for their roots to compete with grass roots.

And, spring bulbs are a nice thing to have around, just to get some excitement going in the garden early in the spring. (besides weeds, nettles, salda, etc.)

It's also a 'spring ephemeral'. Besides being a ground cover, it can make use of sunlight in the spring before trees above have leafed out. It's like a 'stacking in time' function.
 
Leah Sattler
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daffodils are toxic. supposedly you can plant them to ward of gophers which could be useful. they are one of the few plants that deer won't eat i think.
 
Steve Nicolini
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Do they attract beneficial 6 leggers? 

Worth putting in your food forest? (I understand that they are not food )
 
Susan Monroe
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Daffodils contain alkaloids that are thought to suppress some other plants, including some grasses.  Garlic does too, even wild garlic.

Florists usually don't put cut daffodils with other cut flowers because the alkaline sap from the cut stems tends to cause other flowers to wilt and die.

But few allelopathic plants have that effect on all plants.

Sue
 
Steve Nicolini
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Alkaline sap?  Would that help raise soil pH? 

When you say cut daffodils, do you mean transplanted ones?  Or are you talking about a boquet of flowers, one being the daffodil?
 
Susan Monroe
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Alkaloid sap, usually bitter-tasting, and is alkaline (basic), but I don't know if they can affect the soil very much.  They can affect plants that come into contact with them, but not everything.

I meant daffodils whose stems have been cut.  The sap oozes out into the water of the floral arrangement and wilts the other flowers.

Sue
 
Steve Nicolini
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Okay.  I was hoping you meant that.  I will make sure not to put any daffodils in a boquet.  I think it would be a good experiment to ooze out some daffodil sap into a small section of soil and see if it has any effect on pH. 

I think daffodils would be worth it in a food forest, especially if they attract insects.  Does anyone know any drawbacks to having daffodils in a  food forest?
 
rose macaskie
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stevie nicole askes if  daffodills attracts six footed beneficials and yesterday or the day before in the country and asking myself what food there was for bennies with nearly nothing out, i saw a bee in the daffodill i had picked for easter and thought i should plant more for early beneficials  and then i haped on this sight looking for another so it just fitted. agri rose macaskie.
 
                        
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I think daffodils have a place in a food forest even though they are not edible -- they contain arsenic and for that reason deter squirrels and deer.  Here (in Alabama) at old homesteads pecan groves are often underplanted with daffodils.  Daffodils begin blooming in February (Feb. Gold) and continue through Apr.- May. with the paperwhites.  At that point you will need some other kind of bulbs coming on -- here that is often the old fashioned orange day lilies (which are edible).

The trouble with using daffodils as groundcover is keeping people off them who think they should be mowed away.  After repeated too-early mowings they become skimpy.  If left to their own devices they will make a lush ground-cover that will just keep growing for a hundred years or more.  They probably need to be mowed about once a year -- sometime in August--to keep down invasive weeds. 
 
Brenda Groth
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daffodills are NOT edible and they will ward off most grazers...at least from themselves
 
                                          
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Do sunsets have a  "function" or little kids laughing?

Daffodils stay in my garden because they are self-productive and provide beauty  and enjoyment....
 
rose macaskie
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Wombat, Its interesting to know they ward off deer and such and really great that they are grown under the pecans what a image it gives. how full america is of things that never appear in films. 
  If daffodils collect arsenic, maybe they could be used to remediate arsenics full sights by growing them in these places and cutting them and bio mining the arsenic from the harvested plants. There is a lot of trouble with arsenic too much of it in the ground in some part of India.

  My brother in law has a lot of daffodils under his trees, they spread in the years no one was gardening. This being Spain if i remember right  the leaves die down at the onset of the dry seeason so it would not matter much if they where mowed or not.
    My grandmother used to tie the leaves in knots so that the sap got reabsorbed and then cut them when they dried or somthing of the sort.
        Here you can find them growing wild in the mountains of Gredos and think of the romantic poet Wordsworth happening on a feild of them in the country. "I wanderred lonely as a cloud when all at once I saw a field a host of golden daffodils". probably not a perfect quote.
        Also a place with a dry season favours bulbs that just stay dry in the ground  all year till spring. I plant tulips and they coome up everyyear .again i just leave them in the soil. T
    TThe garden book writer Heidi Giildemeister put bulbs on  a rock face in her garden with a bit of mulch and more mulch each year and ended up with a good depth of soil, probably they bare dry soil as they flower in spring when there is plenty of rain and die down the rest of the year that makes them a good plant for a shallow depth of soil. agri rose macaskie.
 
                        
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rose macaskie:  The main reason for mowing after the foliage of the daffodils dies down is  to keep down weeds and sprouting pecans.  The squirrels do plant the pecans among the daffodils -- even though they don't eat them.  If you didn't mow once or twice a year you would have seedling pecans all over the place -- along with other invasives.  One year a whole hedge of bridlewreath spirea showed up in the pecan orchard.  I guess from birds eating seeds and then sitting in the trees.

I don't think there is much arsenic in the daffodils -- just enough to protect them and make them unpalatable.

Tulips don't grow here -- (I mean they only grow as annuals) so the daffodils are really a treasure.
 
rose macaskie
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wombqt did you see there are onther forums with people asking how to stop dear eating their trees and you have an answer plant daffodils.
    daffodils maynot have much arsenic in normal places but maybe their tendency to collect it could mean they collect a lot in places in which there was a lot of arsenic in the soil. that how one type of plant or fito rem3ediation works you find a plant that hoards the poison and then harvest it and remove the plants to a safe place or recover the poison from them for reuse, i don't know if daffodils would serve this purpose but its is a well to study them to see if they coudl .
  they were talking abou tsome people in china who suffered from heavy metal fall out that filled their land full of lead so it was better not to let the children play with the soil  i think it was and the people were rich enough to move away or  sure enough of beign able to find a job elsewhere, thats how important it is. rose macaskie.
 
                        
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Ive heard of plants that have the ability to soak up toxicity in the soil, but Im not sure how they work.
 
Brenda Groth
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wombat, are the pecan seedlings hardy pecans? I have been trying to get hary pecans to grow here for years..i'd pay to have you send me some sprouting nuts if they are..i'd love to get them to grow here..if not..never mind.
 
                        
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Hi Brenda. 

Here is an article that shows the distribution of Carya illinoisensis - the Southern pecan.


http://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_2/carya/illinoesis.htm

I don't think there is a Northern variety.  How about hickory?  I know you have Black Walnut, and Beech.
 
rose macaskie
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 I suppose the curiouse thing is how plants can soak up food and water and leave behind toxic substances, which is somthing they do, they block some substances and scientists think they take up toxic ones, when they do, to make themselves poisonouse to foraging animals. They chose what to take up, incredible.
I wrote abut osmotic action below but i have read more and it seems it is not reponsable for screening out some substances and leaving others but i leave wha ti have written because it is useful to have the begining of an understanding about osmotic action.

      It is done by osmotic action. With osmotic action you can get the effect of siving things to only let particles of cetain sizes through, i think.
      Osmosis works because of a natural rule, something observed to happen with liquids  called natural difusion. It happens, given time, that a storng concetrated liquid like a salty one poured into a glass of water will spread through the water so that all the water has the same amount of salt in it the salt y bits don't stay where they fell when you added them to the glass of water but mix through it.
   For osmotic action you have the same principal taking place with a semipermeable membrane seperating the solution solution and the water .
    Your sin is skin is a semipermeable membrane, it protects you from water but it does in the end soak up water, water does get through it that is why the skin on your hand gets wrinkly and white if your hand is in water to long.

  If you have water on one side of the membarne, skin, whatever and a salty solution on the other, then the water will try to get through the membrane to dilute the salty solution because natuarl diffusion makes it want to .
    This causes osmotic pressure on the membrane, the water pressing to get through and dilute the salt solution.. I suppose whether the salt can get throough or not diluted salt turns into chlorine and sodium atoms depend,s on how big the ways through the semipermeable membrane are. How big the pores in it are.
    I suppose that a series of membranes with different sized pores could allow somethings through and block others, that way the plant can block the entrance of heavy metals. It seems to me that it all gets very complicated but I suppose if the plant takes one thing at a timewith lots of membranes  this complication is resovled.

      This is a problem for creatures living in salt water, if the salt is a strong solution stronger than the blood, it could draw the water out of them., I hope i am getting this right, I  have started looking it up but not got far yet so this is what I learnt at school and don't think i was a good schollar because in other subjects i was a lousey one as my spelling proves.
       Even though the fish have a stronger sollution in their bodies than there is in sea water, if a fresh water animal goes into salt water then it has a problem because it is used to stopping the fresh water getting through its skin and diluting its blood and in sea water this will hardley happen or the opposite willl happen. so its mormal protective measures will be a diservice to it. agri rose macaskie.



 
 
                        
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Rose McCaskie:

Here is an article on phytoremediation (using plants to clean up contaminated soils).

For Arsenic contaminated soils.

I have not heard of using daffodils for phytoremediation.
 
rose macaskie
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   I have not heard of using daffodils for to remediate land that has too much arsenic in it but usually if you read about phitoremediation, of the harvesting what ever is in the soil that is nociviouse, poisonouse, by growing a plant that takes up the poison and deposits it in its leaves and stems and harvesting the plant, they try first to find a plant that will absorb what they want to clean from the soil arsenic for example. You say daffodils pick up aarsenic this would make daffodils a good plant to clean up arsenic.
         They can try to do genetic engineering  to  make this feature of daffodils appear in maize for example,  take the gene from daffodils that absorbs arsenic and put it in maize that being bigger would absorb so much more arsenic in one year and clean the arsenic contaminated soil so much quicker.
      This  is the best reason I know of to fear gentic engineering, if they produce food crops that will absorb more poisons this genetic feature of absorbing some poisonouse substance they have placed in some food crop, arsenic for example, may pass to crops grown for food and we will eat more poisons. I suppose it just means that we would have to find new food crops. agri rose macaskie
 
rose macaskie
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wombat, you have got me reading about remediation again and i have read that the roots of plants, the ones who can't take a lot of poisonouse substances without dying, exude sweat or whatever a acide substance if thye are in the prescence of a poisonouse substance that the root then can't take up because of the acid or the changes the acid causes in the metal or whatever.
  paul stamets who is a firm belierer in the abilities of fungi admires the way their  hypha secrete, exdude, put out, substances that digest all sorts of things, he feels the intelligence of fungi work out what to do with polluted landscapes they have lots of different substances they can try out to see what works well, it seems as if plants to have lots of secrets up their sleeves. agri rose macaskie.
 
                        
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it
seems as if plants to have lots of secrets up their sleeves. agri rose macaskie.


LOL.  And the sure do, while we have been just looking at how they look in a contrived landscape or how they taste in a food garden.  There is so much more to know!
 
Max Kennedy
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rose macaskie wrote:
If daffodils collect arsenic, maybe they could be used to remediate arsenics full sights by growing them in these places and cutting them and bio mining the arsenic from the harvested plants.


I don't know if Daffodils do this well but many ferns, such as the bracken fern, are used in the natural rehabilitation of gold mining sites where the processed rock has high arsenic content.

Max K
 
rose macaskie
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mekennedy1313.  Do they use brackens and ferns because they tolerate arsenic and so the soil can be built up again because at least this plant can bare living there or do brackens and ferns  take up arsenic ,accumulate it and so they can then be harvested and the arsenic retrieved and used or suitably dealt with.
    Is arsenic a atom that has to be mopped up and stored in a place where it will do no harm or a molecule that can be broken down and it's very nature changed  by the plant bacteria or fungi that digests and processes it?  rose macaskie.
 
Max Kennedy
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The bracken fern takes up and concentrates the arsenic.  This may then be harvested and the arsenic reclaimed.  The root system also traps soil particles and builds soil thereby burying the higher concentrations in the mining slurry.
 
                              
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AN observation re the deer, I have my daffs planted in a few ornamental beds(just wildflower, native type stuff, nothing "formal". The deer don't bother the stuff intermingled with the daffs, but they will browse shrubby things above the daffs.

Daffs naturalize here like weeds so I dont' have them in my food garden.

Like someone else said they're pretty--and really that's enough for me
 
rose macaskie
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The bracken fern takes up and concentrates the arsenic.  This may then be harvested and the arsenic reclaimed.  The root system also traps soil particles and builds soil thereby burying the higher concentrations in the mining slurry. 
mekenedy1313 Thats interesting.
    I wonder how they get the minerals out of the plants they harvest?
  Maybe centres that harvest minerals from plants that absorb them will be a growing industry.
  How valuable would that be in terms of profitable for the minerals recovered? I imagine it is not worth it as a way of mining, just as a clean up method.

  Wylde Thang, so daffodils donit protecct shrubs. If you put a wide enough band of daffodils round the shrubs or young trees would that protect them? I suppose they don't mind walking through the daffodils and so getting near to the young trees you want to protect.
Deer are so big i have seen them twice in the garden and i always think help they are enormouse and noisy, instead of how sweet. rose.
 
                              
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HI rose

actually where I have the daffodils is kind of an experiemental garden to see what deer will eat or not. It's got both flowers and native wildflowers I've transplanted in from the woods. Ha, it's right up next to the house and the deer come right up. In fact we sleep outside there in the hot summers and I've woken up to be nose to nose with a deer.

Anyways, yes, planting them thicker would protect shrubs a bit more, like you said. There is one mature fruit tree, a quince, that they could reach and eat but they don't. I'm not concerned with protecting it tho.

An advantage of being in the woods is that there is just so much food available that the deer dont' do much damage. Except of course a vegetable garden would be like a dessert bar and they would eat that down to nothing, so mine is fenced(9 feet!). Also there is a lot of stuff they will eat when it's tender and new growth, but will leave alone later--this is where daffs interplanted will deter them. Deer will go for the easily gotten stuff first.

We do have a native shrub--snowberry--which is an airy thing that deter the deer really well. THey dont' like pushing through it, won't eat it, nor will they eat stuff growing underneath.  I plan to experiment with using that in an exposed veg bed(outside the food garden fence )
 
Mori no Niwa
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Brenda, Oikos Tree Crops in SW Michigan has a Michigan Northern Pecan that does fairly well here, you can see it in their catalog: http://www.oikostreecrops.com/store/product.asp?P_ID=337&PT_ID=75&strPageHistory=cat   Not positive that it would work at your latitude, but it's not that much farther North, might be worth a shot!

I've also read about Daffodils deterring moles and voles; this is the function I'm most interested in for my forest garden, where those critters are currently more of a challenge than deer. I plan to use them in tandem with plenty of Alliums and possibly Castor Bean plants, though the latter didn't seem to do much for this problem last year.
PJ

Brenda Groth wrote:
wombat, are the pecan seedlings hardy pecans? I have been trying to get hary pecans to grow here for years..i'd pay to have you send me some sprouting nuts if they are..i'd love to get them to grow here..if not..never mind.
 
              
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on pecan trees - something i saw in a book written in the 20's
THE PECAN CLIMATE AND EXTENSION OF THE PECAN AREA
Pecan trees of great size bearing excellent nuts grow wild in the Ohio valley, but by chance the pecan received earlier and more attention in the South than in the North. Accordingly it spread more rapidly eastward through the South than through the North. As a part of the pecan mythology it may be stated that as late as 1910 the belief was widespread that the pecan would grow only in the South, and there was no reason to expect its expansion north of the Cotton Belt.4
This belief in Cotton Belt exclusiveness is an example of the ease with which patent error survives. For the first settlers of Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri found on their lowlands thou- sands of pecan trees from two to three feet in diameter and one hundred feet high. It was and is a common practice to leave them when clearing. Many stand in cornfields today. -tree crops, j. russell smith, pg 197, 1929

I have seen many pecans trees for sale online that are hardy in the southern half of michigan and one that is hardy in all of michigan. if you are still having problems finding one, let me know and I will look for a place that sells them.
 
Kirk Hutchison
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  People like to put them in rings around the drip line (outer edges) of fruit trees to help keep herbivores like deer or rabbits away.
 
              
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Brenda, just ran across the NORTHERN NUT GROWERS ASSOCIATION. They have a list of experts that might be able to help you in your quest. I believe you get different weather than a lot of places, but you might be able to contact one of the experts and find a source for a northern tree. Might be better than brute force planting of thousands of nuts to get one tree . They also have information on  Butternut, Chestnut, Hazelnut, Heartnut, Hican, Shagbark Hickory, Shellbark Hickory, Pawpaw, Pecan, Persimmon, Black Walnut, Persian Walnut (English, Carpathian).

Might be better to move some of this info into a different thread. Will leave that up to you and Paul.

BTW, I have daffodils growing all over my lawn. Tried digging them up. Got old (a lot of them are deep). Just mow them now. There are others outside of the grass, and they come up at different times depending on the micro climate (i am guessing). Amazed at how well they grow in full shade covered in leaves etc. Amazing how they keep coming up year after year when mowed. Tough little plants.
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul and Jocelyn review Gaia's Garden, chapter 8 (part 2) in this podcast: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/439-podcast-079-gaias-garden-chapter-8-part-2/ In it, they talk about creating an apple tree guild. They also talk about daffodils.
 
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