Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

This member-only article is part of our All Access subscription.

Member only
Southern Plains Regional Reports

Excellent Nitrogen-Fixing Plants

From cover crops to trees, these plants enrich your soil and look good doing it

Redbuds are known for their nitrogen-fixing properties. Photo: Jennifer Benner

Whether you have a front-yard garden the size of a postage stamp or a 100-acre hayfield, the use of nitrogen-fixing plants in your landscape can boost your soil fertility. Nitrogen-fixing plants, most of which are members of the legume family, are able to “fix” nitrogen from the atmosphere through a symbiotic relationship with specialized bacteria on their roots. Some nitrogen-fixing plants are used as cover crops and are incorporated back into the soil through chopping, mowing, or tilling, which provides a large boost of nitrogen at once. But even nitrogen-fixing plants that aren’t chopped and dropped regularly, such as trees, still return nitrogen to the soil. Trees return nitrogen more gradually as their feeder roots (with the associated nitrogen-fixing nodules) die off and are replaced as part of their natural life cycle.

Cover Crops

Cover crops are long familiar to farmers and ranchers, but even home gardeners (both ornamental…

This article is only available to All Access members

This article is available online for the first time ever exclusively for All Access members. Sign up for a free trial to access our entire collection of articles, videos, and plant records.

Start Free Trial

View Comments

Comments

Log in or become a member to post a comment on this article.

Related Articles

The Latest

Magazine Cover

Take your passion for plants to the next level

Subscribe today and save up to 44%

"As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack."

Video

View All