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pines, walnut, oak, etc.

 
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Hi - new person here. We are learning about using the dead timber, etc. to make a raised bed. This interests us very much as we have a small sawmill business and we live where there are lots of trees. But most of those trees are pines with some hardwoods like oak, walnut, hickory, sweet gum, etc. We can get dead pine trees all the time. In fact, we had a large dead one here on our place go down last night with the storm front that went through. That's what got us started on this path today. LOL! We also have a very large hickory that died last year (still standing) and a couple of big oaks that went down a couple of years ago (been using some of them for firewood in the house). A HUGE oak tree in our yard died this year and we had to have it taken down. The tree guys said it was the biggest tree they'd ever done. It was 17 feet around the trunk (not the bottom part). We hated losing that tree...but now we have a yardful of huge pieces of the trunk and other various sizes of wood. We live out in the country - our mailbox is a mile and a half from the house. We already have a good organic garden with lots of dark topsoil we've spent decades building up. Things grow really good out there. Our okra gets 15 feet tall easy. But we would like to utilize the deadwood/sawdust more. We are setting up a woodgas engine to run the sawmill and other things so some of the wood can be used that way, too, but not all of it by any means. We need to know if these kinds of trees, especially the pine, are ok to use for this kind of raised bed or not. Sorry for the long rant...
 
Tyler Ludens
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I personally think oak is the best for hugelkultur, with other hardwoods coming in after it and then softwoods such as pine ending with the least desirable being rot-resistant species such as juniper. But I would personally use any kind of wood for hugelkultur if the alternative would be not trying hugelkultur. In my dry climate I have made most of my hugelkultur not "hugel" but instead buried so the top of the bed is only slightly above the normal ground level, though I am trying some mounded beds as well to see how they do planted with drought-tolerant species.

 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I personally think oak is the best for hugelkultur, with other hardwoods coming in after it and then softwoods such as pine ending with the least desirable being rot-resistant species such as juniper. But I would personally use any kind of wood for hugelkultur if the alternative would be not trying hugelkultur. In my dry climate I have made most of my hugelkultur not "hugel" but instead buried so the top of the bed is only slightly above the normal ground level, though I am trying some mounded beds as well to see how they do planted with drought-tolerant species.



Thank you for your reply, Tyler. Since you are also in zone 8 like us, that is very helpful. Burying the logs is an intriguing idea what with all the droughts/heat/etc. we've had...
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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Would that I was ambitious enough and technically capable enough to do wood-gas when I lived in wood-surplus Georgia! But I still did all of my heating and a significant amount of cooking on wood, and I made raised beds edged with logs. When the logs would compost, they'd be mingled into the bed itself, and be replaced by others. The soil in the beds themselves was mostly composted woodchips, and I was starting to make biochar. I also tried growing some shiitakes.....they much prefer oak, but it was pecan I had access to at the time and I still got a few. So there's energy uses, soil and compost uses, and food uses. And building material uses but with a sawmill you're already on that.
There is a certain stage in the decay of a pine tree when large white grubs multiply under the bark....these make wonderful poultry feed! Ordinarily, I would peel pine logs and reserve the bark for mulch.....it is both fire and rot-resistant compared to the wood....and collect the grubs for feed...
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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