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Jatropha as Mulch ?

 
Posts: 16
Location: Bamako, Mali
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Hi all,

One question regarding Jatropha.

I am in a semi arid tropical area (950 mm of water , 3 months raining season).

I have one Jatropha plant on my field and was impressed about the amount of Biomass it was producing.
I wanted to use those biomass as a mulch but I am doubtful about the results :

- 2 weeks ago  I've planted 3 bananas suckers. One was mulched with jatropha leaves, the others weren't. The one with jatropha leaves is the only one which hasn't sprouted a leave yet. It looks the worse from the 3 suckers...

- Two months or so ago I used some as mulch about one of my Moringa plant. The tree quickly start losing s its leaves, it wasn't really looking nice in the days following that. Nowing it looks great though, it recovered really well.

Does anyone has experienced using Jatropha leaves as mulched ? I've search for some answers on the net but couldn't find anything worthwhile.

Thanks for your help ,

Eli  

PS : By the way I know there aren't that many tropical farmers here on permies, is there a forum you would recommend regarding tropical permaculture ? Thanks a lot.
 
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Eli, I can't really help you in regard to jatropha because I don't have access to it. But I do have and use other plants that have reputations for being phytotoxic. In my area we have lots of Christmasberry. When it's made into wood chips (due to land clearing or landscape clean up) most folks just leave the pile aside or use it on their driveway. But I'll ask if I can take them and most homeowners are glad to get rid of them. The local gossip is that they will kill or stunt plants exposed to them. Same goes for ironwood trees. But I'll gladly take the chips from either.

I've never used these fresh green chips on young plants or newly transplanted perennials.......just as a precaution. I don't know if they would stunt them. But I've used them very generously on everything else. Plus I've tilled them into new garden beds where I'm building up the area and plan to plant a couple of months later. I've never seen the slightest problem use these "toxic" chips this way. In fact, my pineapples do a whole lot better when heavily mulched with Christmasberry wood chips as opposed to grass clippings.

I'll use just about everything and anything for mulch and my compost piles. I just have to be careful if it's bougainvilea because of the spines which are slow to decompose.
 
gardener
Posts: 6168
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Jatropha has allopathic properties that prevent growth in tobacco, banana and other plants.

the wood chips should be fine as long as you age them for a few months prior to use.

Jatropha is a good medicinal to have on hand too.

Redhawk
 
Posts: 268
Location: Haiti
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Jathropa is the only real biomass I have access to on the property that doesn't have thorns. It pops up all over and our particular variety is a small one with wide branching nature that's almost like tumbleweed in the shape when I cut it.

I've been cutting it for mulch and for sunscreens (just laid over young plants to shade from the harsh afternoon sun) for several months and haven't noticed any problems. I've used it around melons, peppers, papaya, and many other plants, and it doesn't seem to have any averse affects. I haven't done any comparisons between mulched with Jathropa and not.

I was cautious at the beginning, but since I didn't seem to see any problems, I kept going. Now, I might take more time to compost if a bit (at least until everything is brown and soft) just to make sure it doesn't have adverse effects. I chop it up all over beds I'm preparing after I put in my trench compost. Then I cover with a combination of soil, manure, and other food stuff and let it break down for a few weeks before planting it. So far so good.

I recommend you subscribe to the David The Good YouTube channel. He's also in the tropics and has some great advice and livestreams.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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As long as the chips or what ever are bone dry, you should not have any worries Priscilla.

I thought the data was wrong about it being allopathic to banana, but I was the one that was wrong, it will literally stop the growth of banana and coconut palm according to the second paper I read, the research shows this plant as being quite specific in what it exhibits its allopathy to, so apparently if it is a plant that grows large enough to shade out the Jatropha, it will be affected by the allopathy of the Jatropha.

Using it for shades should create no issues at all.  (David comes here sometimes as David Good)

Redhawk
 
Eli Sinayoko
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Location: Bamako, Mali
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Thanks for the answers,  I will try to use it with a lot of caution around papayas to see if I'll have more success there. It produces so much biomass

Quite reassuring to know that Jatropha is really not suited for bananas. Thanks for the whole explanation Bryant.

I'll have a look at those YouTube videos about Dave, Priscilla,  thanks,   looks very promising!!

Bryant you say that it is a good medicinal plant,  do you know how  it can be used?

Many thanks from Bamako



Eli
 
Priscilla Stilwell
Posts: 268
Location: Haiti
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I'm curious about the medicinal properties as well, given we have countless of them growing freely all around here.

After reading the responses, I'm wondering if maybe the green Jathropa was affecting my plants more than I thought. I'm going to consider some experiments . . . But for now, I think I'll just pile it up to dry and partially decompose before using it on the beds. Unfortunately, with this particular plant, it takes a while to dry out since it holds so much moisture!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Eli Sinayoko wrote:Thanks for the answers,  I will try to use it with a lot of caution around papayas to see if I'll have more success there. It produces so much biomass

Quite reassuring to know that Jatropha is really not suited for bananas. Thanks for the whole explanation Bryant.

I'll have a look at those YouTube videos about Dave, Priscilla,  thanks,   looks very promising!!

Bryant you say that it is a good medicinal plant,  do you know how  it can be used?

Many thanks from Bamako

Eli



Jatropha PDF  That link will give you lots of information in easy to save pdf format.
 
Priscilla Stilwell
Posts: 268
Location: Haiti
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Very interesting article, Bryant. At the university where I work, we're interested in doing some in-depth research on plant and naturally derived medicinals. There is an enormous amount of such plants growing here in Haiti. We've looked a bit at the seed oil for fuel, but our variety we have here might need some breeding to produce maximum results in that area.

I'm very curious about how it will react as a green fertilizer for vegetables as opposed to as a dry mulch. That sounds like a project for our agronomy students!
 
Eli Sinayoko
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Location: Bamako, Mali
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Priscilla Stilwell wrote:Very interesting article, Bryant. At the university where I work, we're interested in doing some in-depth research on plant and naturally derived medicinals. There is an enormous amount of such plants growing here in Haiti. We've looked a bit at the seed oil for fuel, but our variety we have here might need some breeding to produce maximum results in that area.

I'm very curious about how it will react as a green fertilizer for vegetables as opposed to as a dry mulch. That sounds like a project for our agronomy students!



Ahah,  that would be great if your students could have a look into this :p

The PDF is really complete Bryant,  thanks
 
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