In Spring, we packed thousands of tube-pack trees ready to courier to clients within the next few months, but summer has come and our remaining tube-packed trees have outgrown their small tube-packs. We, therefore, are out of stock of tube-packed trees. We do have large supplies of thriving young lucerne trees in individual 1-litre potting bags in stock.
Remember that lucerne trees have a very vigorous root system and want to grow deep down into the soil. This fast root growth means that lucerne trees should not remain in potting bags for more than a few months. We recommend that you shelter your young sapling until it reaches 40cm and then plant them in your lands. This growth takes about 4 months.
Please fill in the contact form on our Orders page to order your your trees.
We are entering early winter here in South Africa, and the last of our late summer lucerne trees in their individual bags will soon need to be planted out.
Because lucerne trees have very vigorous root growth, they will soon be limited by the size of their potting bags. Pot-bound trees just never do well when eventually planted out, often remaining slow and spindly instead of budding and flourishing.
We normally plant out any of our remaining lucerne tree stock on our farm or we are forced to compost excess saplings that have stood too long in their bags. Please order now to avoid disappointment.
Late this summer we started germinating lucerne tree seeds which have all come up. We will transplant these into individual potting bags to grow out in the nursery during winter. Although growth slows dramatically in the cold season, these little seedlings will be well on their way to grow into saplings come early spring.
We have had several deposits for large orders of lucerne trees which we will hold in reserve and nurture in our nursery until September and late spring before we courier them to clients across South Africa. This gives you, the client time to prepare your lands and fence in your fields or camps where the trees will be planted.
Most tree losses are from insufficient protection from both wild and domestic animals who snack the tender saplings in an evening of foraging, so putting up fences is a very important part of your tree management. Remember to approach planting lucerne trees as if you are planting out a fruit orchard. Management is the key to success.
Now is the perfect time to try your hand at germinating your own seeds. If you follow our tried and tested methods which come with your seed packs, you will enjoy the thrill of growing out your own trees. These little seeds will need a warm spot to germinate and then a sheltered place to grow in their bags.
Here are the nitrogen-fixing nodules on the roots of our young saplings. These rhizobia nodules develop on young lucerne trees’ roots once they are potted into the soil or planted in your lands.
“Rhizobia is the group of soil bacteria found in the soil that infect the roots of legumes to form root nodules where they fix nitrogen gas (N2) from the atmosphere turning it into a more readily useful form of nitrogen. Rhizobia live in a symbiotic relationship with legumes. From here, the nitrogen is exported from the nodules and used for growth in the legume.” Wikipedia
This glorious tree, as well as all other legumes such as clover, alfalfa, beans, peas, and soybeans, develop rhizobia nodules on their roots which feed themselves, your soils and their neighboring plants with nitrogen! This means that your lucerne tree provides its own fertilizer and shares this with nearby plants, making it an incredible, full-time, fertilizer-producing companion plant to your fruit trees and vegetable gardens – a permaculture wonder plant!
Many poor farmers do not have access to fertilizers, so the sustainability of rhizobial inoculum is an important aspect in saving money. Other crops planted after a legume are healthier and higher yielding, so planting food forests, vegetables and fruits near or under lucerne trees will automatically receive this wonderful “free” fertilizer.
Because our seeds and saplings come from soils that already have this bacteria, our trees do not require an inoculant. However, if you prefer to inoculate your seeds we recommend the Groundnut & Cowpea Group Inoculant which contains Bradyrhyzobium sp. (Vigna) bacteria, a bacterial legume inoculant. We do not supply inoculant, but you can order a packet from your local agricultural supplier. Once your trees establish rhizobia, they will automatically ‘infect’ your soils with this bacteria and your trees and their seeds will not require any additional inoculant.
Do NOT add any nitrogen-richfertilizer or manure when you plant out your young trees. This added nitrogen will prevent your saplings’ roots from developing and forming their rhizobia nodules and nitrogen can actually burn their sensitive feeder roots at this stage.
We doadd about 50g of rock phosphorous in each hole when we plant out our young trees. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plants in the nitrogen cycle. Higher nitrogen levels will help to make more phosphorus (and other minerals) available for the plants, but by making sure there is available phosphorus at the beginning it will speed up the whole process. With time and larger sized plants, and with mycorrhiza fungi inoculation and efficient nitrogen fixation, your lucerne trees will be able to make phosphorus that’s already in the soil available. You can read more here – permaculturenews.org. We always add a generous amount of compost into our holes when we plant out our trees.