I was just reading the most recent ACRES USA mag and there was an article about Tagasaste (tree lucerne) for a forage/fodder crop. The article mentioned Permies which I thought was cool. Anyhow these seeds can be nearly impossible to find in the US due to importing restrictions it seems. I have been experimenting/growing them for the last year. They are hard to Germinate but I do have a few that I'm over wintering for planting next spring.
We have some friends in New Zealand who was working with a local University Extension Program and had stayed with us for a few days. I had mentioned something about permaculture to him and he then told me all about Tagasaste and left some seeds with me to see what I could do with them. I was planning on selling the seedlings next spring but may offer some seeds depending on my stock, I need to count what I have left.
People in NZ mention using them for cover for frost sensitive plants, for instance, growing tamarillo underneath. Or citrus. I've not heard any reports of longer term feedback, beyond initial plans.
Note that twice I've bought the seeds in New Zealand, and when I went to germinate them, found them to be infested with spider embryos. Opening the seed casing would show a baby spider inside, in place of the seed. And this was the case for most of the seeds. In the end, I bought in seedlings, and have them out in the yard. They've grown rather well, except for the two, which got scythed accidentally. I also loosely plan to plant frost sensitive things under them.
What a wonderful coincidence Rick that you just happened to mention to this New Zealander that was visiting, and he happened to be carrying the seed. New Zealand has very strict importation rules, and I'm very surprised that someone carried seeds into the states or wherever, and just happened to be carrying the one you mentioned I'd be very cautious if I were you.
Right now I only have one bush left. The other one suddenly died last fall....waiting to see if it grows back from the base. They do bloom and set seeds, though I haven't yet tried to propagate any from my own seed. It certainly does not seem to be the vigorous plant here that the permaculture literature goes on about in places like AU. I wonder if perhaps it depends upon being regularly coppiced or browsed to be vigorous? It's too bad I only have one left or I would cut it back good to see what might happen, but as it is I'll hope for seed and plant some if I think of it. For forage and coppice I have quite a few other more promising species at the moment.....
First shipment of seed has arrived. Fully Permitted & Certified, after a lot of work to get to that stage. I have both the Standard Tree & Weeping variety seed available for sale. I'm working with several Goat Breeders across Texas to evaluate the potential for the Tagasaste to supplement the Forage food source. I'm also working with the A&M Prairie View, Tx Farm that has several hundred goats for both milk & meat breeds.