I am a college student very interested in permaculture and I will be starting my own small farm this spring in zone 7. However, I currently have an assignment where I am supposed to design a living mulch project for a grove of oaks in my school's arboretum. The assignment asks "Develop a plan to create a “Living Mulch” (LM) that suppresses weeds, retains soil moisture, maintains and/or enhances beneficial microbial activity via decomposition, nitrogen fixation etc... LM not to focus on ornamental garden plants or aesthetic norms.. Naturalized and native species produce fantastic blooms and shall remain, controlled, on-site if possible. Must achieve maximum results with minimal maintenance."
I was wondering if anyone had any advice for possible plants to use. I wasn't sure because it is almost full shade underneath the trees. Any advice would be great.
For me most living mulch/cover crop, should have the following things.
Legume Family 80% (Dutch Clover)
In theory some grass family should be in it to add a source of carbon. But to me the tree (oaks/fruits) already fulfill that role.
If the trees were spread farm away. I could think of this as a type of pasture with 40% legumes, 20% herbs/forbs/flower and 40% grass family.
I like like daikon radish alot, if there was a need to focus on soil aeration,