Deep rooted tropical plants

I’m looking for information on choosing deep-rooted cover crops for the tropics. I would specifically like to know which tropical cover crops are good for loosening soil and for bringing up nutrients that have leached deep. TIA

Hi Mike,
I would recommend pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan). It is drought tolerant and is deep rooted. There are many varieties - some are early flowering and some grow into small trees. You can eat the grain. Grow them in the field at a high density say 50cm x 50cm and they will grow up and shade the weeds. They are slow at getting started and are most suited to intercropping with other faster maturing crops like corn. After the corn is harvested the pigeon pea is left in the field to keep growing.


This is a big question. There are many options. A lot depends on environmental factors. Length of rainy season, altitude etc. pigeon pea, jack bean, and glericidia are good options for low, dryland area, but may not be well suited to your location. I’d suggest using ECHOs gmcc calculator
Honestly, I’d suggest getting many different ones and running test plots to see what works in you area.

Where are you located and what elevation? What is your farming system? What are your farming priorities or objectives? Roland Bunch as a lot of information in his book Restoring the Soil with decision trees which are very helpful.