I know Moringa oleifera grows well in tropical and subtropical climates, but can it be induced to grow in frost-free mild temperate climates? This is a tree I would very much like to try.
Thread: Moringa oleifera climate?
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03-04-2008, 12:30 PM
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
- Washington State, USA
Here is an article about using Moringa oleifera as a source for biodiesel from The Dept. of Agriculture and Food, Government of Western Australia. It has some details on the plant's requirements which may be useful to you.
A bit from the article "PRODUCTION OF BIODIESEL FROM PERENNIALS":
"The mentioned plant species are Moringa oleifera and Pongamia pinnata. Both are tolerant to high salinity levels, waterlogging, frost and drought."
http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/content/SUST ... 7_biof.pdf
20-06-2008, 11:28 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Moringa oleifera grows best in direct sunlight under 500 meters altitude. It tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, but prefers a neutral to slightly acidic (pH. 6.3-7.0), well-drained sandy or loamy soil. Minimum annual rainfall requirements are estimated at 250mm with maximum at over 3,000mm, but in waterlogged soil the roots have a tendency to rot. (In areas with heavy rainfall, trees can be planted on small hills to encourage water run-off). Presence of a long taproot makes it resistant to periods of drought. Trees can be easily grown from seed or from cuttings. Temperature ranges are 25-35 degrees Celsius (0-95 degrees Fahrenheit), but the tree will tolerate up to 48 degrees in the shade and it can survive a light frost. Moringa seeds have no dormancy period, so they can be planted as soon as they are mature and they will retain the ability to germinate for up to one year. Moringa trees will flower and fruit annually and in some regions twice annually. During its first year, a Moringa tree will grow up to five meters in height and produce flowers and fruit. Left alone, the tree can eventually reach 12 meters in height with a trunk 30cm wide; however, the tree can be annually cut back to one meter from the ground. The tree will quickly recover and produce leaves and pods within easy reach. Within three years a tree will yield 400-600 pods annually and a mature tree can produce up to 1,600 pods.
Moringa trees grow easily from seeds or cuttings. They grow quickly even in poor soil and bloom 8 months after planting.
To grow from a cutting:
After the trees have stopped producing fruits each year, branches need to be cut off so that fresh growth may take place. These branches are excellent for growing new trees.
1. Make a cutting at least 1" (2.5cm) in diameter and at least six feet (1.8m) long.
2. Dig a hole 3 ft. (1m) x 3 ft. (1m) and 3 ft. (1m) deep.
3. Place cutting in this hole and fill with a mixture of soil, sand and composted manure. Pack firmly around base of the cutting. Form a slight dome or cone shape, sloping down away from the cutting. It is desirable that water not touch the stem of the new tree.
4. Water generously, but do not drown the cutting in water.
In India, the custom is to put some cow dung on top of the open end of the cutting. This is an excellent way to protect the cutting from pests.
To grow from seed:
Moringa seeds have no dormancy periods and can be planted as soon as they are mature.
In the ground:
It is best to plant the seeds directly where the tree is intended to grow and not transplant the seedling. The young seedlings are fragile and often cannot survive transplanting. To plant seeds directly in the ground:
1. Choose an area with light and sandy soil, not heavy with clay or water-logged.
2. Dig holes 1 ft (30 cm) square and 1 ft deep. Back-fill the holes with loose soil. Compost or manure will help the tree grow better, even though Moringa trees can grow in poor soils.
3. Plant 3 to 5 seeds in each hole, 2 in. (5 cm) apart. Plant the seeds no deeper than three times the width of the seed (approximately Ĺ in. or 1.5 cm -- the size of one's thumbnail).
4. Keep the soil moist enough so that the top soil will not dry and choke the emerging saplings, but it should not too wet or else the seeds can drown and rot.
5. When the saplings are four to six inches tall, keep the healthiest sapling in the ground and remove the rest. Termites and nematodes can kill a young sapling. Take measures to protect saplings from these two dangers.
Note: If the soil is heavy, dig a larger hole of up to 3 ft (90 cm) in diameter and 3 ft deep, and backfill with 1 part sand and 2 parts original soil. Added compost or manure will improve growth
1. Soak the seeds for 24 hours; the seed will imbibe the water it needs to germinate from this procedure. Remove the seeds from the solution.
2. Put the seeds in a plastic sandwich bag and store in a warm, dark place like a drawer or cabinet. Germination times range from 3-14 days. Do not add extra water to the bag.
3. Check them every two days. Once the seeds have broken loose from the winged shell, you will notice two shoots protruding from the seed.
4. Do not let the shoots get too long and thin as they may get fragile and break when handled. One of the shoots will have some ruffled growth at the extremity; this is the shoot that contains the first leaves (cotyledons) and should be the shoot exposed to the sun. Plant the seeds about ĺ inch beneath the soil surface with the ruffled extremity to the sun. Plant the sprouted seed(s) in a commercial band or a peat pot using a high quality potting soil. Sandy loamy soils will work well also. Use a pot that is at least 18 inches deep if this is the final home for the tree. Moringa loves the sun so make sure they get plenty. Although the tree is drought tolerant, they may be watered daily, just donít allow the roots to get soaked for extended periods of time. If you live in a particularly hot zone, donít expose the baby plants to all day sun. Keep and eye on them, they will tell you if they are getting distressed from too much sun, water or lack of food.
5. It is a good idea to use pots to get the trees started since you have more control over the care of the tree. Critters will eat the moringa babies if they can. We recommend that you let the potted plants grow at least 8 weeks or longer before transplanting to the ground. When transplanting try not to disturb the root system at all. Like many plants the roots are very vulnerable until they are established in the ground.
6. If using a plastic pot, before transplanting to the ground, use a long thin blade to loosen the soil from the inside edges of the pot. Turn the band or pot upside down to allow the entire plant and soil to slide out of the container. This prevents disturbing the roots. Have a hole already dug and gently place in the hole. If you are planting more than one tree, space the plants 7-10 feet apart for optimum access to the mature tree. The tree will branch out 3-4 feet from the trunk so this spacing will allow you to walk between trees and let the sunlight to do its job. Of course if you want a wind break, just plant them all at 1 foot intervals, like they do in Africa and India. Moringa is like any plant that appreciates plant food and fertilizers and ample supply of water
7. Donít forget, you can always just put the seeds in the ground or a large pot and water. We have found that Moringa is sensitive to the volume of soil in which it begins its life cycle.
21-06-2008, 08:08 AM
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
If you cant grow Moringa you might want to consider Jatropha curcas for biodiesel. The oil is realy toxic stuff (i wouldnt grow it where stock can get at it) but it will grow all most any where as long as its not too wet. They yield up to 3000 L per hectare per year with irrigation & about 1/2 that without @ a density of 1100 plants per hectare.
01-07-2008, 11:47 PM
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
- katherine NT, Australia
How do you stop that becoming a weed, especially if you dont harvest it.
From personal experience this plant [a desert/tropical savannah plant] was advocated in the 50s in central australia. The upside is that camels ate it. Sadly, world markets failed to eventuate.
It is declared noxious in NT, Qld and WA.
01-07-2008, 11:53 PM
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
- katherine NT, Australia
No actual experience but I believe Moringa is such a bulletproof plant that you should be able to produce it where you are. Hawkes Bay is a special climate and you can probably grow avocardo there. If so, use the same techniques, ie, cover the plant with shadecloth and a frame till it hits about 6' in height, perhaps in it's 2nd season.
Good luck with this and btw. Can you tell me how to grow kiwifruit in the dry tropics??
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