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Nitrogen Fixing Browse in Temperate regions

 
Emil Spoerri
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Browse in temperate regions that fix nitrogen seem mainly to be limited to trees.
Eleagnus and from what I have read siberian pea shrub are not relished by goats, though they may eat a small amount.
What about seabuckthorn or buffalo berries? Anyone have experience with these?
There must be some bush nitrogen fixers.

Actually I would also like to know some temperate bushes that are good for producing forage for goats or sheep period.

For nitrogen fixing perhaps alder could be cut back into a bush? perhaps after harvested for the wood
Willow can be cut into a bush if I am not mistaken but what about poplar?

thanks.
 
Fred Morgan
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You might see if there is an Acacia suitable up there. We use Acacia Mangium, which is excellent, even for cattle.

 
Leah Sattler
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'temperate' covers a pretty wide range! where exactly are you? whenever I think of nitrogen fixing browse for goats I come up with lespedeza. it is more of a warm temperate to tropical plant though.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Bi color lespedeza otherwise known as shrub lespedeza.  My horses, donkey, and goat like it.  It grows on the plantation in Alabama, zone 8.  They also enjoyed browsing on the kudzu, I have been told NOT to brink Kudzu up but only discouraged from the Bi-color.  Both can be invasive...great in a food, no?  I plan lots of bicolor...if it were not illigal I would bring kudzu too.
 
Emil Spoerri
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Kudzu aint much of a bush, though it is something I wish to grow
what the hell are they going to do to you even if it is illegal?
I find this to be very frustrating because it is one of the best conservation crops for farms there is...if not the best one
something that all livestock love to eat as well as a lot of wildlife!
how are they supposed to know you are mixing kudzu in your pastures?
make a plant illegal? Humbug!
Kudzu is quite cold tolerant despite it's southern rep and can make a good crop at least as far north as upstate New York

I suppose that it could be trellised into a bush, though that may require more work than I would like for the use I would give a bush, but still worthy of use on permanent goat fences

I live in mid ohio, which is similar to the lower parts of new england, with a slightly warmer summer and less snow in the winter, but probably not much warmer hardly at all in the winter

I have not heard of a cold hardy acacia, but I would think that it or something like it exists somewhere in the wild at least and mabee just hasn't been brought into cultivation yet

sure would be nice

Also, buffalo berry is a native nitrogen fixer, one that I have limited experience with, in fact I once found one bush and found it very tasty
No idea if animals like to eat it or if it is a rampant grower

what about sea buckthorn?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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asmileisthenewak47 wrote:I suppose that it could be trellised into a bush, though that may require more work than I would like for the use I would give a bush...


It seems willing to climb other plants, so pollarded trees sound like they might be the way to go. 
 
Jennifer Smith
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what about
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=LEBI2 ?
 
Emil Spoerri
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Jennifer Hall wrote:
what about
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=LEBI2 ?


well, that's not bad, but really I am looking for something that grows 10-15 feet high rampantly and can be cut back

but that is a plant I would like to use
 
Jennifer Smith
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asmileisthenewak47 wrote:
well, that's not bad, but really I am looking for something that grows 10-15 feet high rampantly and can be cut back

but that is a plant I would like to use



10 foot and invasive...my fave biologist says second only to kudzu... and my critters will eat it to the ground.
 
Emil Spoerri
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Jennifer Hall wrote:
10 foot and invasive...my fave biologist says second only to kudzu... and my critters will eat it to the ground.


sounds great, I guess I should have mentioned that I want this to be something i can grow the bulk of a hedgerow out of, does this plant have enough umph for keeping out animals? even if not, it sounds like it would be good to have it mixed in the hedge

so you have horses so horses and goats must eat it, what about sheep and cows?
 
Jennifer Smith
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I am planning a mix, evergreen included, in my hedgerow.  What do you have in mind? 

I think it a pretty plant, grows tall and compact...but that might have been the grazing pattern...horses, goat, and donkey...no sheep or cows but i bet they like it, deer like it too. 

I  plan bicolor for several uses as I have a limited knowledge of other plants.  I found it by accident...it was planted all over the plantation as bird habitat.  I would love to know what else you find.

I learned a lot in my 2 years on the plantation. 

 
Emil Spoerri
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well, there are many many plants that I want in my hedgerow, pretty much anything thick, voracious, edible and rank
a few staples
brambles, willow, basswood, lots of nitrogen fixers, just a lot of eleagnis, sea buckthorn, siberian pea shrub
but apples, chestnuts, filberts, mulberries, persimmons all sound good too
plenty of forbs like wild lettuce, english spinach, good king henry, yellow dock, rhubarb, sorrel, mint, burdock

hopefully I will at some point worry less about what is in it and more about how to keep it at bay
 
Leah Sattler
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asmileisthenewak47 wrote:

how are they supposed to know you are mixing kudzu in your pastures?


I live in mid ohio,


because you live in ohio you may not understand that in some climates they would "know" you mixed kudzu in your pasture because it very quickly wouldn't be a mix of anything! it would be kudzu and only kudzu in your pasture.....your neighbors pasture....their neighbors pasture............etc etc...
 
Emil Spoerri
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hmm perhaps, but I would wager that animals would be the best tool available to the farmer for either the management or elimination of kudzu
this is the case for johnson grass
the argument against invasives is pretty weak
the reason why kudzu is so invasive is because we have created the perfect habitat for it, where it has no competition
this is not true in fertile soils, in fact I have read that a great remedy for kudzu and johnsongrass is a bunch of compost and a years time the roots will have become rotten
but kudzu is #1 conservation crop, it can be eaten by every farm animal and humans, it has a ten foot nitrogen fixing root and it completely stop erosion, better than any other pasture crop

the main reason why kudzu is illegal is because it is sooo useful
 
Jennifer Smith
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asmileisthenewak47 wrote:
make a plant illegal? Humbug!

For some reason I found this too funny this morning ... and not funny ha ha.

I read "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever" in ninth grade... may have changed my life.  In this series of books a great plant is said to be poison and forbidden.

Pot is an illigeal plant.
 
Emil Spoerri
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I have read in high times that swiss farmers were feeding their cows hemp, but the swiss government had beef with that saying if meat had any traces of thc it was not legal to sell!

I wonder if hemp is good for cows, my goats love the leaves a lot though.
I have read that hemp produces 4.3 times the amount of fiber that lumber does, this is not including the leaves.
I wonder how good a forage crop hemp is for goats, or other animals, it makes lots and lots of seeds and hemp seed is very very healthy for birds, in fact I have read a certain type of bird doesn't sing without it! that's why most european bird seed mixes include it.

It also provides amazing shelter for fowl of all kinds

marijuana shouldn't be illegal, neither should poppies, psylocybin, coca...

the main reasons why marijuana is illegal have to do with the military industrial complex that was formed under FDR

A fiber harvesting machine was invented that would have made hemp a bigger cash crop than cotton
a hemp tax was established that required any growers of hemp to be licensed
no license was ever issued

hemp is the most valuable plant in existence, no other plant returns as much money to the farmer, not including the use of the flowers
it is a good source of protein and omega 3's especially for those who don't eat meat or can't afford it
it is gentle on the land and is an amazing cover crop, it stamps out all other weeds and adds massive amounts of biomass

geeze sorry, should really make a new topic about it, but don't feel like it at the moment
I have quite a bit more to say on the topic though
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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It was my understanding that breeds of hemp grown for fiber contain a chemical that binds to endocannibinoid receptors, but does not activate them.

My conjecture (probably not unique, but I haven't seen it elsewhere) is that this evolved as a way to prevent animals from physically feeling that hemp had been a good meal, by blocking the action of chemicals that would be produced to carry such a message.  Medicinal breeds would seem to have a relatively recent mutation, where a similar chemical binds to the same receptors and activates them for much longer than the chemicals that are naturally part of that regulatory system.

It seems like using fiber hemp as feed would be counterproductive in terms of psychotropic activity, giving the cattle and the beef consumers the anti-munchies.  But I bet there's a future in diet drugs of this sort, if the side effects on people's mood can be kept under control.  It also might be good feed to moderate the behavior of cornish/rock cross chickens...those stoned slackers.  ...

Back on the topic of nitrogen-fixing browse: Sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.) resembles hemp in its function as a bast fiber crop, but is a legume.  It's an annual, and not sturdy enough to form a hedge, but I wanted to mention it for those with slightly different needs.
 
paul wheaton
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I rememer researching kudzu a few years ago.  My impression was that it was not frost tolerant and it was slow to establish.  So, even if you planted it in the spring it wouldn't get very big by the time the first frost came along.  And then it would be dead and not do anything the following year.

I wonder how buffalo berries got their name?

I know that on mount spokane the property was covered in "buck brush" AKA snowberry.  A nitrogen fixing plant that is mildly toxic.  As the name implies, the deer would eat it through the winter.  But since it was mildy toxic, they couldn't eat very much in a day.  I imagine it is one of those things where it doesn't taste very good to them, but it beats starving.  It also makes the meat taste extra gamey.  And goat milk comes out extra gamey too.  The moral of this story is:  before planting lots of browse, it might be good to know how it affects the taste of your meat/dairy.

 
Emil Spoerri
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kudzu can be established in upstate new york

it's a bit tender the first couple years, because the top of the root gets killed every winter and a bad winter kills it down farther, but once it is three years old and has a 5 foot root it's there for quite a while from then on

they are a bit slow to establish in the north but they do get going, one patch i know of routinely climbs and encrusts a telephone pole each year, the telephone company actually gave up, this is in NY!

they just clear it off after it dies, there is a whole mess of it and no practical way to kill it, since most people out there don't let them spray
 
Jennifer Smith
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If the telephone company let animal owners know that there is free feed for the trimming would they come?  Both my horse and my goat like Kudzu and I have gathered for them before.  Times are hard and horses are starving.
 
Emil Spoerri
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it seems to me people in new york keep a lot more pine trees than they do domestic livestock

i remember when i was little the only livestock i ever saw was the neighbors Emus

luckily though i had a great affection for all the fish and reptiles and amphibians that were around when i was growing up

but this is on some huge chunk of private property, land owners everywhere usually seem to hate the idea of anyone putting their land to good use
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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asmileisthenewak47 wrote:
it seems to me people in new york keep a lot more pine trees than they do domestic livestock



I think the same is true of New Hampshire, and probably most of New England... this was one of the reasons I was glad to move back to Oregon (at least until I get my own place).  The area we are in now is major farm country, and I feel much more at home here than back there with all the 'country estates.'  Downside is everything here has to be irrigated or it won't grow because there's no rain at all from mid-June to usually October.

I've been following the discussion with interest as I've thought of trying to do something similar for my goats plus firewood, fruit and nuts, basket materials, and so on...Can't remember, but were any of the shrub alders mentioned?  Alder fixes nitrogen.

Kathleen
 
Emil Spoerri
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aw yes, i have read about alder, didn't realize that there were shrubby ones though, i thought they were trees
i am not sure of any varieties that do well in the north east though
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Most alders are trees, depending on where they grow, but there are some shrubby ones, and pretty much any of them ought to do fine in the Northeast.  They do like moisture in the soil. 

Kathleen
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Isn't part of the difference between shrub and tree, a matter of management?

Coppicing and pruning at the right interval would presumably give a shrub-like plant despite its best efforts at becoming a tree...
 
                    
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We were just looking at tagasaste as a possibility for edible livestock hedges.  We are probably (hopefully) just barely warm enough for it. 

http://kimseed.com.au/tagasaste.htm

I agree with Joel, a tree can be made into more of a hedge with the right management.  Cutting it low at an early age to establish a bunch of branches rather than a single leader, for instance. 
 
paul wheaton
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asmileisthenewak47 wrote:
kudzu can be established in upstate new york

it's a bit tender the first couple years, because the top of the root gets killed every winter and a bad winter kills it down farther, but once it is three years old and has a 5 foot root it's there for quite a while from then on

they are a bit slow to establish in the north but they do get going, one patch i know of routinely climbs and encrusts a telephone pole each year, the telephone company actually gave up, this is in NY!

they just clear it off after it dies, there is a whole mess of it and no practical way to kill it, since most people out there don't let them spray


Wow!  How cold does it get there?

If kudzu isn't bashful of the cold, then why is it still just in the south and it hasn't wandered up to canada?

 
Emil Spoerri
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paul wheaton wrote:
Wow!  How cold does it get there?

If kudzu isn't bashful of the cold, then why is it still just in the south and it hasn't wandered up to canada?




it often gets killed in the first couple of years before it root gets fully established

it needs to a bit of protection or a warmer spot

i'm not sure but perhaps also the seeds get killed in the low temps or never quite make it to maturity?

according to one site it grows wild as far north as Pennsylvania, i live in southern new york right on the boarder of Penn

Geographical Distribution

Van der Maesen (1985) considered China, Indo-China, Japan, Malaysia, Oceania, and the Indian subcontinent the native range of the genus Pueraria. Despite repeated introductions, P. montana var. lobata was not known to have established in Africa. This variety was successfully introduced to South America and Switzerland, as well as Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Only in the southeastern United States is kudzu considered a serious pest.

Kudzu rarely occurs in the northeastern United States (Frankel, 1989), but is occasionally found from Connecticut to Illinois. In Illinois, more than 90 infestations have been documented (Wiedenmann, 2001). Kudzu is distributed south as far as Florida, and as far west as eastern Oklahoma and Texas. The most severe infestations occur in the piedmont regions of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

 
tel jetson
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I haven't seen black locust or honey locust mentioned.  they seem like obvious choices, so maybe I missed something.  they've both got drawbacks, but they're also both really useful trees that could be a great addition to a hedge.

our goats go a little crazy for black locust leaves.  if they get too tall for you, coppice.

honey locust might not produce pods if you coppice them too frequently, but once they start producing the pods are a great source of high-quality protein.  maybe not great for browse, but good critter food nonetheless.  and I believe the current consensus is that they do fix nitrogen, just not by the familiar root nodule pathway.
 
Emil Spoerri
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really? well i was a bit skeptical about locusts, i have read that they are poisonous and i have read that they are edible, in the end though i couldn't get my free ranging goats to eat it, even when i locked them up in a pen

i'm sure honey locust pods would be fine though
 
tel jetson
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i couldn't get my free ranging goats to eat it


strange.  our goats like it.  a couple of years ago, I read about an ag extension doing test plots of black locust for use as hay.  seeded fields and then cut it, raked it, tedded, and baled it just like grass or alfalfa.  then it grew back and they did it all over again.  would that be considered coppicing?
 
Jennifer Smith
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Locust...called that for a reason... a plague of the darn things is easy to accomplish. 

Weeds that grow thorns that will go right thru a shoe.  Be very aware of fallen branches as they will flatten a tractor tire.

Goats love them, but can not eat them fast enough to kill the darn things, they just regrow from mangles branches and stalks. 

Tough, hardy, yummy to goats (in my experience) reseed readily... more complimentary but means the same.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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