Welcome! Log In Create A New Account

Advanced

Verbascum as tap rooted cover

Posted by Josh Willis 
Verbascum as tap rooted cover
October 16, 2018 01:40PM
I enjoy reading the forum's collective thoughts on best understory plants. Most interesting to me is the question of Comfrey, which seems to elicit equal parts love for its deep taproot / broad foliage, and trepidation for its invasive qualities.

In our own understory here, I notice plucky Verbascum (mullein) volunteers popping up unbidden, which I am usually inclined to see as a lesson of some sort. So as a possible alternative to Comfrey, any thoughts on Verbascum / mullein?

It is, of course, 'only' a biennial, though it seems to germinate readily in cleared soil. I wonder with a little light cultivation if it would be worth encouraging further growth in the understory. I'm curious if others have any experience with this.

Earthworks
Zone 7a in West-Central MD
Re: Verbascum as tap rooted cover
October 16, 2018 02:24PM
I can't speak to its effectiveness as a cover crop, but I can attest to the devastation it causes to apple fruitlets by encouraging and nurturing Mullein Bugs, (Campylomma). (They can destroy up to 75% of the crop of sensitive cultivars.)

Broomholm Orchard
Zone 5b in Nova Scotia
Re: Verbascum as tap rooted cover
October 16, 2018 02:36PM
ohhh indeed! Haha, oh my. Well this is why it's good to think twice and plant once. Thanks!

Earthworks
Zone 7a in West-Central MD
Re: Verbascum as tap rooted cover
April 17, 2019 08:41PM
Returning here to wonder about other taproot plants. As I spot loads of Broadleaf Dock, Rumex obtusifolius, in the orchard this year, I wonder about it’s nutrtional benefits...or unintended consequences (such as the mullein bug above). I read it has a 4-5’ tap root, which is a nice start.

Anyone with info on Broadleaf Dock? Or a pointer of where to look up its nutritional profile? I’ve poked around online to this question without luck...and I can imagine a resource would help, if possible, while I ponder other big leafed, deep rooted plants as either weed or volunteer.

Earthworks
Zone 7a in West-Central MD
Re: Verbascum as tap rooted cover
April 18, 2019 08:32PM
Here is a link to a wonderful blog post by my lovely herbalist wife: What's Up Dock?

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: Verbascum as tap rooted cover
April 18, 2019 10:12PM
Interesting read, thanks! Looks like a great source for iron & calcium, assuming the yellow dock correlates to the broadleaf dock.

Earthworks
Zone 7a in West-Central MD
Re: Verbascum as tap rooted cover
April 19, 2019 06:48AM
I would make a base assumption they are pretty close to each other, even though they are different species.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login