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Hugelkultur -- good wood, bad (allelopathic) wood

 
gardener
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Fungus is one of the main decay elements that nature uses to dispose of dead materials so it would be a great beneficial part of a hugel bed.

The only time to not use such wood is if it is infected with a known disease, such as fire blight, those need to be incinerated to destroy the disease, the left behind ash and or charcoal would be good to use.

Redhawk
 
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So kind of you to respond...thank you...will help me immensely )
 
pollinator
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Kind of a funny story, only sort of relevant. Near my old family home in Robstown Texas, there was a BBQ trailer on the corner. I don't remember the name but it was definitely owned by a Czechoslovakian. He had piles of mesquite logs behind his trailer, and there was one log of mesquite that for whatever reason decided to put down roots, and a new tree was growing right out of the middle of it. The barbecue guy was terribly proud of it. He put a big wooden sign in the ground next to it, with an arrow pointing down, calling it The Jesus Log.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Indeed, Mesquite, willow, cottonwood, black and honey locust are all trees capable of rooting and sprouting from a bark intact hunk of log.
These trees have enzymes and hormones in their cambium layer that allow a cut piece to form root nodes and buds after it has been removed from the parent root system.
Because of those traits, they can and will produce a new tree when ever possible.
Their inner bark also can be used to create rooting water just by soaking pieces of the cambium layer in water for a few days.

Redhawk
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:The Fir will rot although it will hog nitrogen for some time.



All wood in hugel beds suck up Nitrogen, then they'll release it back when they start to break down.
 
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I have some half rotten sweet cherry (Prunus avium) wood, as well as hawthorn. Both of these should be fine for hugel beds right?
 
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Hello. I have to cut many dead branches from an oak tree in our yard and would like to incorporate them into hugelkultur beds. The arborist we spoke with said the branches had Hypoxylon Canker fungal disease on them. Does that prevent me from using them in hugelkultur beds?
 
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I am trying to save money on good soil by filling my 15" raised beds half way with organic material.  I have some ficus and some vitex.  I don't want it to harm my potential crops... anyone know?  Information on woods in hugelkultur seems to be very small with the standard answers of the same small list of no no trees...  
 
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What is the verdict on Eucalyptus. Good or bad wood?
There is a bit laying around here, east coast Australia.
 
Posts: 26
Location: Mohave Desert
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Here's my first go at a hugelkultur raised bed. I dug down 2ft and placed two 3ft round eucalyptus stumps (similar to the ones in the background) along with smaller logs of mesquite, pine, yucca, cholla, and ocotillo. I broadcasted strawberry clover as well various flower seeds. I wanted to plant an ironwood SEED on the backside. The eucalyptus has been sitting for about 3 years. After reading this thread, I realized that I could have done a few things differently.
010822hugelkultur.jpg
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hugelkulturBHC.jpg
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master gardener
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Hi Adam,

Welcome to Permies.
 
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I am up in the Los Padres National Forest and we have a lot of artemisia tridentata sagebrush that we need to remove in the backyard. We'll be replacing it with a variety of natives that grow in the area.  I would like to reuse the woody portions in the hugelkultur beds and wondered if anyone has used them before.

Thank you.
 
adam wrate
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Location: Mohave Desert
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Hey thank you John. This forum has some excellent insight. Looking forward to learning.
 
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That almost made me snort. I've been a woodworker since around 65.  I, repeatedly, heard this or that wood is bad. It ALWAYS bothered me.  

Lumber yard types used to think me an idiot for using 2x's to make picture frames, but they're still around and the miters tight four decades later.  A few of my reclaimed pallet wood projects were purple ribbon winners.

Now, we even use rotted wood (spalted, etc) by treating it with resin and can produce some of the most beautiful items.

Where we saw oak we, now, see poplar, because it grows fast. To be fair, I don't think you can begin to compare the two for furniture strength and reliability, but there are many applications in which it works just fine.

Some weed trees are perfect for turned bowls.  Black locust can pale even oswage orange for fence posts and, certainly, construction.

In short, every wood is good, and every wood is bad, depending on how you use AND treat it.

Lacia Lynne Bailey wrote:I'm wary of anyone who blanketly says there's good and bad wood.

 
Kelly Craig
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Whether I throw the bags of sawdust from my shop in the trash or on the compost bed depends on how much walnut dust I think got mixed in during milling.  Walnut is said to be pretty good at keeping other woods at bay. It's also said it shouldn't be used for pet beds and such.  I mention walnut because that is what I'm most likely to come across and which can stunt or stop other plants.

The power of many woods to do damage will be made obvious by talking with someone who didn't wear adequate breathing protection during cutting, shaping and sanding.  Someone can take a load of walnut or koa dust and walk away just fine one time, then be taken out of the woodworking game by it on the next run.

If wood has that kind of power to affect us, it's a safe bet it can affect other plants too.  Whether they are hardwood or softwood, needle or broadleaf, many woods can hinder our growing attempts.

I'd avoid any exotics and, certainly, any treated wood.
 
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Hello, I'm building some Hugelbeds and have a lot of California bay laurel on my lot, wondering if I can use them? I searched if they are alleopathic and didn't come up with a direct answer. I know the leaves smell similar to eucalyptus but they grow closely mixed with oak and madrone trees, so how alleopathic can they be? I am planning on using mostly oak and madrone but it would be a huge help to get rid of some of the bay trees too.
Also wondering about if it matters that most of the trees were burnt in a forest fire a couple years ago?
Thanks!
 
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Location: Pembroke Pines, FL 10b
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Hello!

I have some Ficus that I trimmed and was going to use it in a bed. It has been laying out for about 3 weeks now and all the leaves are brown or have fallen off.

Is this fine to put at the bottom of a bed that will be about 24" deep?
 
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