Using Un-composted Leaf Mulch on Trellised Lima Bean

SOILS

Moisture retained under un-composted leaves.

This photo shows Rutgers’ Joe Heckman checking soil moisture retained under leaf mulch layer compared with adjacent cultivated bare ground at our lima bean field, after some recent scorching weather.

A 5-6″ leaf mulch layer (~35,000 lb./A) was placed at transplanting in May. Lima bean is a legume. We inoculated seeds and transplants and are not expecting leaf mulch decomposition to affect nitrogen fertility of the crop. At harvest, we will check for yield reduction from potential microbial immobilization of soil N (from mineralization of the high carbon soil amendment).

Of note: we are seeing reduced weed pressure in leaf-mulched rows.
Joe’s previous field research showed that mineralization of the leaves has a positive impact on soil nitrogen fertility the next season.

If you would like to visit this lima bean field leaf mulch demonstration, give me a call or email. We can arrange a time when you will be coming through the Rutgers Campus New Brunswick area.

Trellised Lima Beans with Mulch.

Trellised Lima Beans with Mulch.

Trellised lima bean with bare ground.

Trellised lima bean with bare ground.

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