• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

When to chop and drop  RSS feed

 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 93
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I understand the purpose of chopping and dropping my nitrogen fixers, but my question is when? At what point in their stage of growth do I end it? I have just transplanted some (very) tiny honey mesquites here in central Texas, and I am not sure when the process would be? Is it ideal to wait until the plant is established then cut so it can coppice and regrow? Or do I cut it to the point that it won't come back, then I'll have to re-seed or re-transplant and do it again? I have searched the site, and web, but haven't found anything specific. Sorry for the jumble of words, it kinds explains the way my mind is going these days...

P.S. I put this under "mulch" because of the drop part... If I should put this forum somewhere else please let me know, Thanks
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
174
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Are you trying to establish the trees? If so, let them grow a couple years and then practice chop and drop. If you are in a dryland situation, you usually chop and drop right before a rain (or a rainy season) to give the plants the best chance at rejuvenation.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
40
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think if you cut them back and kill them, then reseed, you are wasting effort and time. With a perennial (whether comfrey or mesquite or Siberia pea) you want the benefit of plant once, harvest for years. Chop and drop is just a form of harvesting.
With an herbaceous chop and drop, you want to chop before it seeds. When it seeds it will put much of its nitrogen into the seeds and it won't be available for other plants anymore.
With trees, you can prune a bit and mulch with that; or Copicce or pollard once they are of a size. Then every couple of years you cut them back again.
The herbaceous plants give a more continuous supply.
 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 93
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Peter Ellis wrote:I think if you cut them back and kill them, then reseed, you are wasting effort and time. With a perennial (whether comfrey or mesquite or Siberia pea) you want the benefit of plant once, harvest for years. Chop and drop is just a form of harvesting.
With an herbaceous chop and drop, you want to chop before it seeds. When it seeds it will put much of its nitrogen into the seeds and it won't be available for other plants anymore.
With trees, you can prune a bit and mulch with that; or Copicce or pollard once they are of a size. Then every couple of years you cut them back again.
The herbaceous plants give a more continuous supply.


I was under the impressions that they fix heavy amounts of nitrogen in just the first year... everything after that is not worth it. But what you say makes sense. I will trim them just be they seed (I'll probably leave one tree to seed so I can grow new ones). The mesquites are definetly not herbaceous, but I do plan on getting some of those as a cover crop soon. I will be doing everything that I can to turn my limestone saturate, rocky and somewhat barren land into something that can produce fruit trees like no other. The more nitrogen fixers I have, the better.

Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Are you trying to establish the trees? If so, let them grow a couple years and then practice chop and drop. If you are in a dryland situation, you usually chop and drop right before a rain (or a rainy season) to give the plants the best chance at rejuvenation.


I am defintely trying to establish the trees. Unfortanutely I think I translpanted them at the wrong time (the temperature dropped ALOT the week I did it and they may have froze in their new homes). It is somewhat of a dryland here, it changes throught the year. If I chop right be a rain, how much would I chop at a time?
 
Beware the other head of science - it bites! Nibble on this message:
Mike Oehler's Low-Cost Underground House Workshop & Survival Shelter Seminar - 3 DVD+2 Books Deal
https://permies.com/wiki/48625/Mike-Oehler-Cost-Underground-House
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!