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Sassafras allelopathy

 
Rob Meyer
Posts: 103
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A google and forum search turned up not a whole lot on this subject. I have several sassafras trees around the yard, and some sassafras wood that I was hoping to use in hugelkulture. I have an especially nice stump that I would like to use as the central mount for an herb spiral. However, I recently found that sassafras was found to be allelopathic. I couldn't find much on what compound exactly it is allelopathic with, and what plants exactly it has a negative reaction with.

So my question is as follows: Does anyone know anything about sassafras allelopathy, what plants it is incompatible with, and those it can co-exist with. My main concern is, would it be problematic to use this stump in a hugelkulture?

Thanks in advance!
 
Rob Meyer
Posts: 103
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No insight on this anyone? Has anyone used sassafras wood as a hugelkultur, or as mulch? Somebody help me out here.
 
osker brown
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
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I've never used sassafras in hugel or mulch, but I've never heard of it being a negative allelopath, do you have a reference for that?

I would guess that the stump is going to produce lots of suckers, so unless it's dead you might not want to build a bed on top of it.
 
Rob Meyer
Posts: 103
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It's a dead stump, seasoned for 2 seasons or more.

Here is my source for the alleged allelopathy:

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1935494?uid=3739864&uid=2134&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=47698806569167

Clearly it's not applicable to every species, as some species we found around them still in the research, but I don't know how detrimental this is. There are definitely herbaceous plants growing under the living sassafras we have, but our soil is extremely poor and for all I know, those species are naturally tolerant to the negative compounds, whereas garden herbs may or may not. I haven't found any research on this subject, just what I posted above.
 
Alex Ames
Posts: 399
Location: Georgia
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One thing about sassafras is that it is invasive with tons roots and shoots coming up around it. A long dead stump
is probably not going be a problem but that is an opinion. I think that is what you are going to have to go with in the
end, an opinion, hopefully a more learned opinion than mine.
 
Rob Meyer
Posts: 103
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Yea, we'll see what happens I guess if I can't get an informed opinion on it. I guess I'll post the results to let people know how it works. For science!!
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1401
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I cannot tell what part of the country that you are in - that is pretty important.

So the limited amount that I know only applies to the midlands of South Carolina.

Here sassafras is only found in the wild growing as an understory plant next to things like long leaf pine, pin oaks and such. It is usually a small straggly plant and does not care to be transplanted.

And here is my nostalgic but not very relevant sassafras story:

I grew up in the midwest where my grandmother had a small to medium size sassafras tree in the back yard. I have very fond memories of the sassafras tea that she would make for us. The aroma was intoxicating and she would 'read' the tea leaves and tell us our fortunes. Our 'fortunes' were usually about little things that we had done that we didn't think she knew about.
 
Brian Shepherd
Posts: 9
Location: Lakeland Florida zone 9
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I have never known Sassafras to be allopathic. It grew along roads and fence rows in Kentucky when I was a kid and I have it growing on my homestead in North Florida now surrounded by many varieties of plants. It seems to thrive in bushy areas and I enjoy the Sassafras tea.

Brian Shepherd
www.40acrewoods.com
 
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