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Estimated Perennial Peanut growing zones for the southern U.S. include the southern regions of Texas, Louisianna, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

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Perennial Peanut Establishment Guide

"The purpose of this publication is to provide a guide for planting and establishing perennial peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.). This guide does not address all possible situations, but serves as a general procedural outline. In order to learn more about perennial peanut production, the authors of this document encourage producers to use their inventiveness to enhance the production practices suggested here as we strive to improve the success and speed of establishment."
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
August 1991

The quote above and the information presented below was taken from "Agronomy Facts: Perennial Peanut Establishment Guide." To order this complete printed guide contact your local extension office.


Planting Site

bd14693_.gif (837 bytes) Geographic - Perennial peanut evolved under tropical conditions, however, it adapts well to subtropical or warm temperate climates. In our northern hemisphere, this includes locations below 31 to 32 latitude which have a longer warm growing season.

bd14693_.gif (837 bytes) Climatic - Perennial peanut grows best in full sun. Specific rainfall requirements have not been determined, however, it grows best in Florida when days are lone, hot, and humid. Irrigation has proven beneficial during establishment in droughty springs.

bd14693_.gif (837 bytes) Soil - Perennial peanut persists in a variety of well drained soil types and does well in the deep sands of Florida. Rocky areas and high clay soil should be avoided if the objective is to produce for digging.

In northern production regions, clay soils with excess moisture may freeze during prolonged periods with temperatures below 32 F. Rhizomes located in the zone of frozen soil will be killed. Due to this and the slow spread of rhizomes in clay soils, the selection of a well drained soil for planting is particularly important in northern production regions.

Recent experience has demonstrated that perennial peanut grows well in reclaimed phosphatic, highly colloidal clay soil in South Central Florida. This research was conducted on an area with a 1% slope for drainage of surface water.

bd14693_.gif (837 bytes) Fertilization - The following recommendations for establishment of perennial peanut are based on current research. Since perennial peanut is a legume with nitrogen-fixing capability, it does not require the application of nitrogen. Soil tests should be made prior to planting. Apply 30 pounds P2O5/acre when Mehlich-I soil test level is below 30 ppm P. Do not apply phosphorus fertilizer when the soil tests above 30 pp. P. Apply 60 pounds K2O/acre when Mehlich-I soil test level is below 20 ppm K, and zero potassium fertilizer when the soil tests above 20 ppm K. Apply 15 pounds magnesium per acre if Mehlich-I soil test is below 30 ppm Mg. Nutrition should not be a production-limiting factor on soils with Mehlich-I soils test level near those suggested.

Although unconfirmed for perennial peanut, most legumes respond positively to applied sulfur. Based on perennial peanut tissue analysis, 20-30 pounds of sulfate-form sulfur per acre should be applied annually when the planting is intensively hayed.

Current observations indicate that perennial peanut performs well under a wide range of soil pH. Modify soil pH only if measured pH is outside the 5.0 to 7.5 range.

bd14693_.gif (837 bytes) Site History - Post-plant weed problems are difficult to avoid, however, the problem can be reduced if the production site is carefully selected and prepared prior to planting. Recently-cleared woods usually offer a relatively wee-free setting during establishment, as well as naturally-accumulated fertility. Land which has been intensively row-cropped with a good weed control program offers fewer weed problems and may provide residual fertility. Low managed weedy areas or old pasture land may require preparation six months or more prior to planting to achieve proper weed control, fertility level, and a well-prepared seed bed.

Both research data and many years of experience have shown that soils with known disease or nematode incidence do not negatively affect perennial peanut. Until otherwise determined there is no need for concern over these problems.

bd14693_.gif (837 bytes) Land Preparation - Bottom plowing is generally needed as a first step in land preparation. When beginning with sufficient anticipation prior to planting, forage sorghum or other tall competitive crops can be grown to suppress weed growth and initiate the land preparation process. Watermelon followed by sorghum in the same season followed by winter-planted perennial peanut has been successful. Land preparation should begin during the summer prior to a winter planting to allow time during the growing season for both chemical and mechanical weed control. Following the initial bottom-plow operation and/or incorporation of a cover crop, repeated tillage with a disk-harrow is an effective means of weed control. If perennial broadleaf weeds or grasses persist, use of a herbicide, such as Roundup, should be considered to eradicate this problem prior to first frost. With only a few herbicides registered at this time for use on perennial peanut, it is necessary and more economical to achieve good pre-plant weed control.

Land should be well prepared and idle by the first of November. This allows sufficient time for breakdown of organic matter and accumulation of soil moisture prior to planting.


Planting

bd14693_.gif (837 bytes) Time for Planting - The best time for planting in winter is during January, February and March when peanut is in a quiescent growing state. Winter-planted material emerges during late March to early June which coincides with low rainfall over most of Florida. Normal spring rains are important for proper root and top development. As shoots begin to emerge following a January-February planting, under conditions of low soil moisture, a percentage of shoots will die due to lack of supporting roots. The availability of irrigation during this initial development period provides insurance against plant loss or complete stand failure. Once a root system has developed, irrigation is not required.

The result of plant loss during a late spring drought period does not always mean stand failure. Normally, a percentage of large diameter rhizomes will survive and result in an established plant. Time to compete stand acreage increases as plant population decreases. If a sufficient number of plants survive to leave at least one plant every 3 feet in any direction, complete coverage may result by the end of the second or third year. Wider than 3 feet between plants will take longer for complete coverage and a shorter distance less time, assuming other management practices are observed.

Winter is usually the best time to plant perennial peanut, however, planting may be successful anytime up to mid July. A late-season planting has tow disadvantages: 1) the planting may require an extra year to achieve full coverage, and 2) the rhizome nursery may require an extra year to completely recover from digging.

bd14693_.gif (837 bytes) Planting Rate - If rainfall is satisfactory, a winter planting can provide complete ground coverage in one to two years, using a planting rate of 80 bushels (100 ft) of rhizomes per acre. Under drought and other stresses, such as high weed competition, a higher rate may be desirable to compensate for plant loss. If rhizomes can be obtained at a low cost, 100-120 bushels (1250150 ft) of rhizomes planted/A. will ensure a satisfactory plant stand.

Calibration of the planter may be necessary to achieve the desired number of bushels planted per acre. Calibration begins by checking the number of bushels planted in a given number of acres. Calculation for this determination requires the volume of loosely packed rhizomes contained in each planter load multiplied by the number of loads planted per acre. With this, the number of bushels or cubic feed planted per acre can be calculated (1.25 ft = 1 bushel) and adjustments to the planter made if necessary.

When planting rhizomes by broadcast-disk or hand method, an approximate planting rate can be achieved by calculating the volume of rhizome material hauled to field and planted. However, hauling by truck or trailer results in compaction of rhizomes, therefore, a c compaction factor must be considered when calculating planting rate (volume per acre) of loosely packed rhizomes.

A fewer number of Arbrook rhizomes are contained per bushel as compared to Florigraze. Additionally, Arbrook grows laterally at a slower rate than Florigraze. In order to achieve ground coverage using Arbrook that approximates that of Florigraze, 25% more rhizome material should be planted per acre.

If rapid establishment is important, planting rate and level of management must be considered together. The addition of water, fertilizer, and weed control are all important inputs that can be employed to maximize plant population during the first growing season. However, an increase in planting rate can substitute to some degree for less that intensive management.

bd14693_.gif (837 bytes) Irrigation - Lack of soil moisture is most critical from shoot initiation of the rhizome until a supporting root system develops. Under conditions of low soil moisture the application of water insures plant survival and growth. Soil-plant moisture status should be carefully monitored during the spring months following planting. Irrigation should be considered if it is available. Always locate your field near an irrigation source if that option exists.