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Need quick soil compaction advice

 
Posts: 9
Location: NC Foothills, Zone 7a, 49 in. rainfall.
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Hi,

Long story short, we just had 13 pine trees shading a 1.5 acre field removed, and some of the workers screwed up and pushed the perfectly good, 80 year old tree 12-14 foot by 36" diameter logs to the edges of the field. Now it's been raining for ~5 days, and we are facing a decision of seeding immediately vs. having the trees moved.

Big concern is soil compaction from tractors and logs on super wet soil, for example: https://extension2.missouri.edu/g1630

If we seed first we can't move the logs and they will no longer be in saleable condition, hence maybe could turn them into hugel beds. However it's unseasonably cold and wet here right now (perfect for seeding) and if we wait for the soil to dry, then move logs, then seed, we lose the unseasonable miracle window for seeding.

The 5-6 misplaced logs are white pine and are gigantic, but it doesn't seem worth compacting so much soil to recover a few hundred $$ at most in board-feet. Is my gut correct here? What would you do? (Other than not hire the incompetent workers again, of course.)

 
pollinator
Posts: 211
Location: WV
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Since the workers screwed up, will they fix the problem free of charge or will you need to hire someone else to do it?  If you have to pay to have the logs moved, will the money you make off them be worth the time, money and effort?  If you were to go ahead and seed, could the logs be removed using only the edge of the field instead of driving though the middle?  

 
C. Nelson
Posts: 9
Location: NC Foothills, Zone 7a, 49 in. rainfall.
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Michelle Heath wrote:Since the workers screwed up, will they fix the problem free of charge or will you need to hire someone else to do it?  If you have to pay to have the logs moved, will the money you make off them be worth the time, money and effort?  If you were to go ahead and seed, could the logs be removed using only the edge of the field instead of driving though the middle?  



They actually are willing to fix it free of charge, so the main concern is simply compaction.

After doing some more reading it appears a lighter tractor and a few trips back and forth isn't quite as severe as big modern equipment, year in, year out. Plus with my no till strategy, I'll be planting plenty of turnips and radishes in fall. Probably less of a problem than first feared :)
 
Michelle Heath
pollinator
Posts: 211
Location: WV
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Glad to hear they will fix the problem for free.  

As for the compaction, if it's severe could you till the affected area?  I know it doesn't make sense to refer to tilling in a no till situation but it might help and you'd only be doing it in the startup phase.  

I'm currently in my first year of no till and don't really know how much the compaction will affect the rows.  Technically the thought is that no-till would eventually correct the compaction problem over time but not sure just how long that would take.
 
Posts: 79
Location: SE Indiana
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I doubt tilling would do all that muck good in fixing compaction form heavy equipment on wet ground it just doesn't go deep enough. End up with a loose layer on top of a hard packed layer.
I went no-till a few years ago in my gardens and was extremely pleased with the effect of fall planted daikon radish and turnips, especially the radishes. I've seen roots two feet long and and two inches around and the feeder roots are supposed to go several feet.  Plant in late summer or early winter in my climate for maximum effect before they freeze out. A nice big established patch wilts down after a hard freeze and protects the ground with a mat of mulch. To plant the next year I just rake it off and hoe out my rows.  
 
Michelle Heath
pollinator
Posts: 211
Location: WV
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Mark I actually meant plowing and tilling but the generic term for that here is tilling so I guess I've officially adopted the local vernacular.

Great idea about the Daikon radishes. I've also heard that sugar beets are great to leave in the soil to decompose also but not sure if their roots would reach the same depth.
 
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