[permaculture] Greetings (attempt #7) Question: Do Serviceberries Fix Nitrogen?

Tripp Tibbetts slowfoodguy at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 27 15:33:17 EST 2009

Travis, I can tell you that there are a few members of the Rosaceae family that are N-fixing -- Cercocarpus, Purshia, Chamaebatia, even one species of Rubus in Indonesia -- but not in the Amelanchier genus, to my knowledge.  More's the pity.
There are more I'm sure that have escaped our attention, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see novel emergent properties in all aspects of Nature, including nitrogen fixation in plant symbioses, as we crest the global energy hill and enter descent.  (Emergent properties in humans not excluded!)
Tripp out.


The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.
-Chinese proverb

--- On Sun, 12/27/09, Armed With A Mind Armed With A Mind <armedwithamind at hotmail.com> wrote:

From: Armed With A Mind Armed With A Mind <armedwithamind at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [permaculture] Greetings (attempt #7) Question: Do Serviceberries Fix Nitrogen?
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Sunday, December 27, 2009, 7:29 AM

Thanks, this gives me a better idea. I am continuing to do research but of course its better to have real world experience to draw from. The maples are mostly going to be grown for syrup production (I hope they reach tapable age before I'm too old) but I'd also like to grow maple and other suitable hardwoods for long-term high quality wood products. I'm going to contact local lumber operations to see whats marketable around here.

I've gone to the forums at permaculture canada and they aren't very active yet. I posted a few things and will spread the word about it. 

Keith, in that one video you linked to me with Ian who lives near hamilton...He said that serviceberry Amelanchier alnifolia bushes fix nitrogen but I haven't come across any other source that verifies that. Was he mistaken or did serviceberry just become my favourite native plant?


> Date: Fri, 25 Dec 2009 20:24:13 -0500
> From: keithdj at mindspring.com
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Greetings (attempt #7)
> Travis,
> Permaculture Canada seems to be active and with a new webpage at 
> http://www.permaculturecanada.ca/files/
> I'm not a member so I can't view the forum to tell if its very busy or not.
> When planting for coppiced mulch trees they can be very close, as much 
> as 1-2 ft between. Your rotation cycle for the particular diameter of 
> crop you intend to harvest will also determine spacing. For example, I'm 
> coppicing willows for basketry, mulch, screening and fodder with 2 ft 
> spacing in row and 3 ft between rows. It's a small patch with about 12 
> trees that are now about 8-10 ft tall but I will keep them in the 5-8 ft 
> range to maintain screening between us and our neighbors. We also 
> planted several leguminous tree / shrub species right in our garden with 
> the idea that they will be used for mulch, fodder, trellis, and shade. 
> See the article in issue # 40, Coppice-with-Standards: New Forestry with 
> Ancient Roots by Peter Bane. If you don't have that issue you can get a 
> copy for $10US....or you can read it (without the illustrations) at 
> http://www.agroforestry.net/overstory/overstory47.html
> **
> Balsam poplar is very wet tolerant and often found on streambanks so I'd 
> put them in the wet spots if they're not too far from their usepoints. 
> Your planned use of the maples and oaks (e.g., tapping, mushrooms, etc) 
> will indicate whether they can be closer or further from the poplars. If 
> you are rigorous in regularly harvesting the poplar you can have them 
> quite close, but since they kind of like to be a thicket it probably 
> best to keep them at a distance so that you can access the other 
> trees....which is why I keep the willows mostly in their own zone (with 
> the exception of some smaller species like the ornamental japanese and 
> the corkscrews). You probably want to keep them away from leachfields or 
> constructed wetlands to avoid clogging them.
> Still not sure why so many of my emails failed to reach the list and 
> that is still a bit disturbing to me. Lawrence could offer no explanation.
> Keith
> Armed With A Mind Armed With A Mind wrote:
> > Hi Keith, thanks for the links, and for reminding me about Ian Graham. I've been meaning to contact him after seeing that youtube video a few weeks ago. I've been sifting through the over 3000 videos on youtube that come up under a 'permaculture' search. I'd also heard of this fellow from Orangeville but until now didn't have a contact. I plan to go on an Ontario farm tour this spring before the gardens become too demanding, and both of those places are on my wishlist. I'll look into those other contacts you sent me as well.
> >
> > I've been to the permaculture canada website several times, especially on the old version that had the forum. Do you know if the permaculture canada website is still active? It hasn't been updated since the end of june. I assume thats because those who run the site are too busy but just wanted to check incase you had some inside info.
> >
> > Would you be able to recommend an optimal spacing between each balsam poplar if the plan is to chop for mulch and firewood, and do you know how far away from other hardwoods they should be, say oaks or sugar maples? 
> >
> > Did you figure out why your emails weren't sending to the list or was it blind luck that it finally got through? I hope this is not a recurring problem for you. 
> >
> > Travis
> > 
> >> Travis,
> >>
> >> Sounds like you have a beautiful site with much promise. I'd echo the 
> >> recommendations about chinampas.
> >>
> >> Have you linked up with permaculturist / farmer Ian Graham near Hamilton 
> >> (Dundas), Ontario? He's got a 25 acre site there that Peter Bane and I 
> >> have been helping to design over the last three years.
> >>
> >> Keith
> >> 
> -- 
> Keith Johnson
> "Be fruitful and mulch apply."
> Permaculture Activist Magazine
> PO Box 5516, Bloomington, IN 47407
> (812) 335-0383
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