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Earthmoving equipment and Soil harm?

 
Posts: 42
Location: SW Oregon Zone 8b
hugelkultur forest garden homestead
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I'm presently clearing land in Zone II for my food forest. I'm aUSDA zone 8. The land is 15% SE slope and has mature forest of conifer, oak & madrone. There are Matsutakes & other fungi presently growing. The soil is loam. I plan to do use the larger trees for check logs. The hardwoods regrow and I plan to use the goats to keep them in check. My question is: Should I use earth moving equipment? My mentor Ianto Evans says absolutely not! I'm a 51 yr. old woman,(in good shape) but I do get WWOOFers spring-fall. I'm afraid that the earth moving with machines will harm the already awesome soil! Thanks Hazel Danene
 
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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I used a saw similar to this to clear ~an acre of oak, madrone and conifer last year:
http://www.traditionalwoodworker.com/Log-and-Timber-Saw-Zorin-by-Silky/productinfo/129-13137/

It is quiet, easy to use and made bucking up the trees and trimming branches go quickly. I hired a backhoe operator to come in and dig trenches roughly on contour. The logs and trimmings were placed in the ~2foot deep beds and then recovered with topsoil. Our soil is a clay loam mix and I haven't seen any evident problems with the area recovering. Our fruit and nut trees are settling in nicely.
 
Hazel Reagan
Posts: 42
Location: SW Oregon Zone 8b
hugelkultur forest garden homestead
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Thanks Kay. How steep is your land? Are the hardwoods returning with a vengence?
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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that particular area has a slope that ranges from ~2-10% across the cleared & planted area. Some of the oaks and madrones have a lot of shoots, others not so much. The oaks that were cut outside the fenced areas are browsed heavily by deer. I do chop and drop mulching with the oak and madrone shoots that are inside the food forest area. This fall, I put a few plugs of a variety of mushroom spawn in the cut stumps that were not regrowing as vigorously. we'll see how that works.
 
author
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Ianto has nightmare stories to tell about heavy equipment, so he's aware of how much damage they can do. But the place he lives had backhoes come in to do a lot of the work (ask Chip). The key is to wait until the soil is dry--midsummer in Oregon, if that's where you are. Horse logging can actually do far more damage than rubber-tired vehicles, because the PSI of hooves is much more. But whatever work you do, Wwoofers, horses, or tractors, do it when the soil is good and dry.
 
Posts: 281
Location: North East Scotland
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goat forest garden trees
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Toby Hemenway wrote:Ianto has nightmare stories to tell about heavy equipment, so he's aware of how much damage they can do. But the place he lives had backhoes come in to do a lot of the work (ask Chip). The key is to wait until the soil is dry--midsummer in Oregon, if that's where you are. Horse logging can actually do far more damage than rubber-tired vehicles, because the PSI of hooves is much more. But whatever work you do, Wwoofers, horses, or tractors, do it when the soil is good and dry.



Remember that the PSI of hooves will also vary with the breed of horse used. There is a big difference in hoof size between a breed like the Comtois which was traditionally used in France for logging and a Clydesdale which has feet like dinner plates. I speak from experience having been trodden on by both
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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A small machine on tracks is much easier on the soil. Tracked machines can even travel in rice paddys where wheels would immediately sink. Rubber tracks are best. Wait for dry soil conditions.
 
Hazel Reagan
Posts: 42
Location: SW Oregon Zone 8b
hugelkultur forest garden homestead
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Thanks for all the response. I have considered the timing and equipment. We have cut some trees with a chain saw and they are just laying aroung at this point. Some of the large conifers(haven't been cut yet) can be milled with a portable mill. I'm considering doing the lower area with equipment because I would really like a pond. There is a seasonal creek there that dries up in summer. There is a water table about 4 ft. at this location. I continue to welcome any input. Sincerely, Hazel
 
Hazel Reagan
Posts: 42
Location: SW Oregon Zone 8b
hugelkultur forest garden homestead
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Toby, I will definately check out the work that Chip did with his land, next time I'm at Cob-ville. I'm located further south than Couquille on the Redwood Hwy. 2 mi. from the OR/CA border. 25 mi. east as the crow flies from Brookings. Gaia's Garden is the first permaculture book I bought and I love it! Sincerely, Hazel
 
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