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Do legumes release nitrogen continuously or only after they are killed?  RSS feed

 
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Do nitrogen fixing plants release nitrogen continuously? Or do they store all of the nitrogen in their own cells, only usable to other plants after they are incorporated into the soil?

I've been playing around with the idea of planting dutch white clover as a permanent living mulch as it only grows 6-8inches tall, is perennial and fixes nitrogen. However, if the cover crops must be killed in order for the fixed nitrogen to become available, I might consider an annual or winter-killed clover.
 
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Clovers can share while alive, but it is not the hundreds of pounds per acre of a cover crop turned unto the soil. An occasional mow or scythe (chop and drop) will release a lot of N without killing the clover.

 
dan long
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R Scott wrote:Clovers can share while alive, but it is not the hundreds of pounds per acre of a cover crop turned unto the soil. An occasional mow or scythe (chop and drop) will release a lot of N without killing the clover.



exactly the answer i was looking for. thank you.
 
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My red alder trees are not legumes, but they produce more nitrogen than clover would. The leaves fall in October and November but the tree comes to life again in March.
 
dan long
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Dale Hodgins wrote:My red alder trees are not legumes, but they produce more nitrogen than clover would. The leaves fall in October and November but the tree comes to life again in March.



I imagine alder wouldn't play well with sun-loving crops though. Low growing clover wouldn't compete for sunlight.
 
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