This post shows How to Trim Comfrey for Mulch. This dynamic accumulator mines nutrients from deep in the soil and brings those nutrients up to its leaves. So when we trim those leaves for mulch, we are sharing this mined nutrient with the other plants.
About the Wonder Plant
Comfrey, Symphytum, is a perennial herb that grows leaves two to three feet tall and has bell shaped flowers. It is originally from Europe and now grows in temperate climates around the world. It is a member of the borage family and has a tap root that is ten feet long or longer.
Comfrey is a dynamic accumulator meaning that it mines and collects a number of nutrients that other plants can’t get to. Comfrey does this with a very long tap root by mining nutrients from very deep down that are out of reach for other plants. The nutrients are then brought up to the top and stored in the leaves. The leaves are used as fertilizer for other plants and is a high source of nitrogen and potassium. The potassium is beneficial to any flowering and fruit bearing tree.
Invasion of Comfrey
In early summer it produces pink bell shaped flowers (white flowers on some varieties). The plant can become invasive with seed spread. A cultivar of Russian Comfrey was created in the 1950s that is sterile via the seeds. This cultivar is very popular in permaculture environments. It is known as Bocking 14 and is the variety that I have in over a dozen locations on my Pasadena property. While the seeds are sterile on Bocking 14, the roots spread readily if dug up and replanted elsewhere. A one to two-inch root will grow a new comfrey plant. You can get several dozen plants via root cuttings from one original plant.
The plant is fast growing, producing huge amounts of leaves that can be harvested 4 to 5 times a year by cutting the leaves about 2 to 3 inches above the ground. I usually leave about ¼ of the leaves behind just so it has some leaves for strength in the heat of the summer.
The cuttings can be chopped and dropped in place or they can be moved to another needed location. As a dynamic accumulator, comfrey has a lot of nutrients in the leaves. The nutrient will stay in the leaves until fall when they die back to the ground after a frost. However, if you trim them like we are talking about here, then the nutrients go with the leaves. When you mulch with the leaves, they provide shade for the roots of the plant that is mulched and as the leaves break down, they also release those nutrients.
The first thing I do when putting comfrey mulch down in a different place is to weed. I pull all of the weeds up and just lay them right back down on the ground. Then I put the comfrey mulch right back on top of the weeds and that will kill about 90% of the weeds.
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The Video Please:
Watch the YouTube video on the process of Trimming Comfrey for Mulch at:
Thanks for watching How to Trim Comfrey for Mulch.