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Perennial Peanut Sod and Groundcover

Characteristics:
  • Ideal for areas with little to no traffic
  • Thrives in sunny areas or partly shaded
  • Flourishes in an areas with good drainage
  • Exhibits a high degree of tolerance to Florida's environment
  • Produces a large quantity of small yellow flowers during growing season
  • Beautiful and Environmentally friendly

History:

Rhizomal Perennial Peanut in the Urban Landscape The common name for this groundcover is Perennial peanut . The origin of this ground cover stems from tropical South America.
The perennial peanut groundcover evolved in tropical conditions and has adapted superbly to subtropical and warm climates. In the northern hemisphere, this would include locations below 32o north latitude, Florida-Georgia state line, and boasting a long, warm growing season.

Perennial peanut was first introduced in Brazil in 1936 and was found to be immune to insect, disease, or nematode pests. Since its introduction, it has not spread into natural areas or become a nuisance plant in unimproved properties. Rhizomal perennial peanut does not reproduce by seed; therefore, it can't be spread by birds or wildlife or transported in plant material to unintended areas.
Perennial peanut has recently shown potential as an ornamental groundcover due to its high resistance to drought, nematodes, and pathogens and its nominal fertilizer needs. This means savings in watering, energy, dollars, and minimal impact to the environment. Not only is it beneficial to the environment since it requires no supplemental nitrogen , phosphorus fertilization or pest control, but it also is pleasing to the eye, is durable and edible.

Due to rapid urbanization, water has become a difficult commodity in Florida. Water management districts are promoting the implementation of year-round water restrictions and the use of drought tolerant plants, of which perennial peanut is a perfect solution. Perennial peanut has potential landscape uses as a groundcover in home landscapes, road medians, driveways and parking lot islands, golf courses, along embankments, septic tank mounds, and canal banks. Perennial peanut can also be used as a buffer to waterways prone to runoff high in Nitrogen and Phosphorus. Perennial Peanut in the Urban Landscape

In Florida, the city of Jacksonville uses perennial peanut in medians; and Tampa Bay Skyway also has a highway planting of perennial peanut growing in limerock.. In Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica, medians, lawns, hotel entryways, and roadsides are planted with perennial peanut. Although this region is in a dry forest for 10 months of the year, these perennial peanut areas remain green without having to be mowed, fertilized, or irrigated. As its name implies, perennial peanut is long-lived and doesn't require replanting once established.

Salt Tolerance for Coastal Areas

Perennial peanut can tolerate ocean salt spray, salt drift, and short term saltwater flooding. There are several successful coastal plantings of perennial peanut in Florida.

Weed Control

Weed problems can be reduced if the site is properly prepared before planting. All existing vegetation should be killed or removed. If perennial broadleaf weeds or grasses are present before planting, apply a nonselective herbicide, such as Roundup®. Soils with known disease or nematode incidence do not negatively affect perennial peanut.

Planting Time

Perennial peanut can be successfully planted from January through March, when it is not actively growing. Unfortunately, this is also the time of limited rainfall throughout Florida. Perennial peanut can be successfully established anytime if irrigation is available, or during the summer rainy season (June – August) in Florida. Water, fertilizer, and weed control are all important inputs that can maximize plant density during the first growing season.

Mowing

Mowing is not required, but appearance will be enhanced. Mowing stimulates new vegetative shoots, making a thick canopy and encouraging flowering. Mowing at 3 to 4 inches every 3 to 4 weeks is usually adequate.

Weed Control

Weed control is the major management problem during establishment. Eliminating competitive weeds ensures greater survival during the dry months before the summer rainfall and allows the plants to grow and spread more rapidly. Keeping the perennial peanut canopy clear for maximum sunlight penetration is critical to proper development and speeds establishment.. Mowing should be done whenever weeds are shading the perennial peanut. Mow weeds at a level just above the foliage of the perennial peanut. Mowing has been found to be the least expensive weed control method.

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