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Grow peas on young trees?

 
pollinator
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I have three young trees, between 2 and 3 meters in height. The taller are now 2 years in the ground (planted from a nursery / not directly seeded) and the other is one year or so.

I am considering planting peas at the base and letting them climb the trees this winter season. I'm somewhat confident that the trees are strong enough to hold the peas, but I was wondering if anyone had any experience using young trees as a trellis like this?

It would save me the effort of setting up trellises and make good use of the most sunlit space in my garden.

Words of caution and wisdom welcomed.
 
pollinator
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How wide are the trunks, Can the peas physically grab them?
How tall peas? I have peas that range from 30cm high to 3m high.
how many peas per tree.
And how much wind do you get, the peas will add a lot of extra wind resistance.


Personally I wouldn't put anything up my new trees, they are much more valuable than the tiny handful of peas you might get from that space. But could you grow a low type of pea around the bases? short peas don't need any form of trellis they self support. I can't see any problem with using them close to new(ish) trees.
 
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Hi,

I have a lot of experience with growing beans on corn and trees and shrubs as living trellises,

Please send pictures to help me! explain!

What particular area do you wish to know more about nitrogen fixation,
Pests.
base Guarding methods,
Pruning, wiring, iconoclast graphing of the trellis, layering, hedging,
sowing and planting methods,
dealing with the completed beanstalk if its an annual.
Incorporation of other plants in the plant guild. companion planting,
Airflow, harvesting, access,
seed saving,
Seed germination,
crossbreeding,
Root types and co interactions, where to plant.  where not to dig,
Stones,

Just let me know and I can give you a short explanation on what ever you want to know?

 
L. Johnson
pollinator
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Location: Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
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Your replies have already got me thinking about a lot of factors I hadn't yet, and they were mostly just questions!

I will get some up to date pictures of the trees as soon as I can.

They are less than two cm in diameter trunks with a few low branches. I think peas could grow on them without a problem for the peas.

I hadn't considered wind. When we get typhoons the trees certainly bend. They've weathered about two strong typhoons so far, but I'll want to consider that as far as timing vs storm season.

I was thinking the trees might benefit from having some leguminous friends nearby. And it would save me the effort of building a trellis.

This is a very small scale home garden, only three trees and actually I was wondering how many peas I might try to grow up them. We don't eat a crazy amount of peas anyway. I had six snow peas producing more than we could eat last spring.

I assume I could just bury the peas in the nearby earth without digging at all. My soil is not too hard to work with. I don't know how close to the trunk would be ideal, but I assume the closer to the trunk the less worry of putting strain on the branches.
 
Alex Moffitt
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L. Johnson wrote:Your replies have already got me thinking about a lot of factors I hadn't yet, and they were mostly just questions!

I will get some up to date pictures of the trees as soon as I can.

They are less than two cm in diameter trunks with a few low branches. I think peas could grow on them without a problem for the peas.

I hadn't considered wind. When we get typhoons the trees certainly bend. They've weathered about two strong typhoons so far, but I'll want to consider that as far as timing vs storm season.

I was thinking the trees might benefit from having some leguminous friends nearby. And it would save me the effort of building a trellis.

This is a very small scale home garden, only three trees and actually I was wondering how many peas I might try to grow up them. We don't eat a crazy amount of peas anyway. I had six snow peas producing more than we could eat last spring.

I assume I could just bury the peas in the nearby earth without digging at all. My soil is not too hard to work with. I don't know how close to the trunk would be ideal, but I assume the closer to the trunk the less worry of putting strain on the branches.



When I said wind I was referring to air movement in design,
Good design thinks about (beans blown onto the ground) +(reducing risk of diseases) + (pollination)

I have no idea how to garden for a typhoon but sounds like you do!

So I generally I sow in the fine roots, when the Seedling is emerge I remove the bird protector and then use my Leatherman to carve a peg and tie sting to the peg this is tied onto the trellis,  this the peas use to go up the trellis,

I like the base of the tree to be clear and clean, with a barrier to protect, against any potential rodents,

I can go into more detail if you would like.

You think trees might benefit, from the beans, Yes but nitrification only occurs in soil temps above 8 c , and when the peas are producing fruit (peas) they are sucking back up a lot of that nitrogen to product that fruit.

Peas may be a good companion for some plants but it is not universal. your also putting the tree at risk of extra damaging bugs, and diseases, if I start to see any signs of this happening I abort! Cut off the peas, above ground. I had a bad experience with some beans I harvested in the bush, saved the seeds of and then got this black mouldy stuff on, It was a hard lesson, that could have been a lot worse.
I was very careless last year and I had to learn the hard way about composting things down and pest management, and mealy bugs, aphids, rust. leaf curl, mildew etc. Now I give no quarter.

 
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If you want to plant peas to benefit the trees, plant Jack Beans. They are very strong plants and will make a lot of plant mass and get a lot nitrogen. Maybe there is not enougth sun, so Arachis repens is a possibility too. If you want beans to eat them, plant Cajanus cajan in other places, they live for some years and make a good amount of beans. In a small garden, climbers beans don't make too much food in my experience. In the other hands, I dont't know if this plants are good in your climate.
 
L. Johnson
pollinator
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The concrete wall is in the north side of the trees. They get the best sunlight in the garden. The mature trees to the left are citruses.
IMG_20211016_081245991_HDR.jpg
Looking at the trees from across the garden.
Looking at the trees from across the garden.
IMG_20211016_081305487_HDR.jpg
A closer angle
A closer angle
 
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so I am in a similar situation. We have a bunch of small fruit trees. I had some extra pea seeds soaked for planting. They were planted at the base of a few different trees and some wild raspberries.

The ones which were planted at the base of trees did not end up climbing up them.

The ones which were planted near the wild raspberries easily climbed the raspberries.  I guess there was more for them to grab at.

So based on my experience if you would like them to grow up those trees. it would be good to help them get up the main stem. I also would keep it to maybe 2-4 plants per tree. Maybe even less depending on the tree.
 
Alex Moffitt
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Hi,

If you were to add peas to those trees right now you would be doing more harm then good!

As for the shape of your trees you would need to help, weave the pea vines to make harvest useful, and the first foot or so of the pea vines would be worthless.

I base this on looking a the nutrition of the leaves,
the multiple pests on the leaves,

I looked at the plants at the base of your trees, I saw pests that would love to eat the peas,
I saw you leave non composted materials on the ground. Which is also attracting pests.

Nitrogen is not going to help, Nitrogen is going to mean weaker plant cells.

For your system as it making the trees a trellis will add to problems,

the peas when they latch onto the trees will make great places for pests to house, and will make slightly weaken the bark of the trees keeping moisture and reducing sun exposure.

If you solve the pest and nutrient problems, then I would work on some espalier design, using that as that for achieve the goal of the living trellis,

I had to many bad experiences with conditions like this in the bush, I had to significantly change the set up first,

putting a thick layer of mulch made of crushed up bits of woody things,

pruning away contaminated and diseased leaves throwing them in a river,

putting spiders on the trees, then waiting to build up the soil,

then using peg on a bit on bush rope to help weave and direct the growth of the peas/beans/vines.

By peg I mean a carved stick to be like a tent peg.
I would only use hitches with the bush rope.
Rope
(tree bark, vines, tree roots, scutched palms)

I apologise for being negative,
But I stand by my experience!

Kind regards,
Alex



 
L. Johnson
pollinator
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As I said, caution is welcome. Thanks. I do have a lot of work to do. Managing it all is quite time consuming. Sometimes shortcuts lead to bigger problems, but short cuts are all I can do :-/
 
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your tree looks happy just the way it is
 
pollinator
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I think your trees are a bit too young for this experiment. Neat idea though.
 
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I agree with the words of caution so far. Bear in mind that legumes like peas don't in fact add nitrogen to the soil while they are growing. They are very efficient at getting the nitrogen fixed by their root bacteria into their seeds, so if you harvest the peas there is no net gain of nitrogen for the trees, and a loss of water and other nutrients. Only if you were to let the whole plant die and compost in situ would there start to be a benefit, and I doubt if it would outweigh the risks of the tree being smothered, mis-shapen or blown over. I've experimented quite a bit with trying to grow peas up other plants and concluded that on the whole it is best to stick to sticks.
 
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