regenerative agroforestry
Palm Fronds as Mulch In some areas of our farm we have turned to palm fronds as mulch to help enrich the soil and hold in moisture. Particularly in the banana and plantain plot.

Palm fronds contain nitrogen, so we do not have to worry about leaching. Nitrogen deficient mulch like wood chips doesn't support the bacteria needed in the decomposition process.

Since palm fronds are natural to our environment, we can easily maintain the neutral pH level required to prevent phosphorus from changing to a form that prohibits nutrient absorption.

What we do need to attend to, however, is aeration.

If you just cut off the leaves from the stem and leave them on the ground, the leaves will form a mat which inhibits the flow of water to the ground and retards the decomposition process. You never use the stem as mulch as it takes way too long to decompose.
This is where the wild chickens come into play. As they scratch their way through the plot they mix the decaying leaves with the new leaves, while naturally aerating the palm mulch. We have found that our palm fronds completely decompose leaving behind a nice, rich, black soil in approximately 50 days.

We are working with the native Tyre Palm Coccothrinax alta. The fronds found on other palms may have different chemical makeups which may result in shorter or longer decomposition times.

After nine months of using palm fronds as mulch in our banana plot, we wish to show you our results along with answering a frequently asked question.

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