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Topic: Odd but true (allelopathy/allopathy) (58 lines)
1) From: JanoMac
If you are going to look more deeply into this, say with a google search,
the term you want is "allelopathy:" the chemical warfare that plants
(usually woody plants) do to other plants.
"Allopathy" is the term for what we generally refer to as "modern medicine."
Allelopathy is a fascinating topic. Walnuts and certain species of grass are
probably the best studied in the USA, as walnut trees can out-compete many
other trees and plants by preventing the success of the sprouting and/or
thriving of the seedlings of the others.
Here in Indiana. Christmas tree farmers watch carefully for the sprouting of
walnuts that squirrels have buried in their conifer plantations. The
sprouting walnut can kill pines and some spruces in a wide diameter around
the walnut.  If you take walnuts still in the green husk and soak a bunch in
a bucket over night, the juglone compound is infused in the water and makes
a juglone "tea" you can use to keep down the growth of certain weeds. Watch
out, though...it'll also keep your tomatoes from growing and will render the
soil unable to grow some kinds of common lawn grasses and the effect may
last for several seasons.
I held back comments before, but I would think that adding water from soaked
mesquite to be harmful to a number of plants. Mesquite and other plants from
the chaparral and desert zones are general potent allelopathic
organisms...as well as containing potent anti-invertebrate compounds to
prevent insect and nematode damage.
I frankly cannot image that any "nutrient" extracted by infusion from the
wood of hickory or mesquite could be:
1. present in high enough concentration to aid the growth of plants, or
2. directly useful to another plant.
In fact, the opposite is generally true. Plants don't thrive in the woods on
or right next to fallen logs until after the insects, bacteria, and fungi
start to have their way with the wood and convert the lignins and related
compounds as well as the cellulose and protein-like compounds into something
more useful to the neighboring plants.  Exceptions would be "mother" trees
on which redwood and hemlock seedling grow.
I haven't read it yet, but does coffee have symbiotic fungi that live in the
hair roots? In some areas, seeds and seedlings are inoculated with
mycorhizzal fungal spores in much the same manner farmers do when they
inoculate soybeans with bacteria that allow the beans to pull nitrogen from
the atmosphere.
Perhaps the wood being soaked, particularly the hickory, is old and laden
with fungal spores or mycelia that aid the coffee plant in obtaining
nutrients already in the soil?
Kirk
(Forestry & Biology guy)...off to look into mycorhizza and coffee...


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