Chop & drop is exactly as it sounds – cut branches and leaves off a plant and drop them on the ground to hold in moisture, and to create healthy habitats for those who aid in the decomposition process.
Healthy soil is essential to growing healthy plants (read here first) and just like
why chop and drop
Trees naturally drop their leaves to provide more organic matter to the beneficial critters in the soil. It also serves as mulch to keep moisture in and shades the soil from the sun, preventing weeds from growing.
I do this with many of the plants I have on the property – no matter what the size! Just throw it right back into the soil to decompose.
I also do this on a larger scale with logs and sticks along my fence. It takes way longer to decompose, so I just let the larger debris sit in a pile for several months or years until I’m ready to plant underneath them, then I remove the stack to reveal healthy soil below.
choosing chop and drop plants
A few fast-growing plants can quickly provide a massive amount of chop & drop material, but you must choose them wisely.
- Invasive Plants: Several plants grow so fast that they are considered a threat to our native plants and ecosystem. Check with your local invasive plant council to see what plants shouldn’t be grown in your area. Choose native when possible.
- It is always best to choose native plants. If you chose to go with non-natives plants, just be responsible, keep them to one area, don’t allow them to go to seed and for plant with fast spreading roots, consider installing a barrier.
- Nitrogen fixing plants. Certain plants contain special qualities that will add additional nutrients to your soil. Nitrogen fixing plants release nitrogen into the soil as micrboes help decompose it. Plants like comfrey are high in carbon and will do the same.
Read below to see some of the chop & drop plants we have in our zone 9b property.