I just discovered you guys!!
I have about 75 mostly birch stumps, a few small spruce as well. I live near anchorage Alaska. Does it make any difference if I stack them stump up or roots up before I layer some soil over them. There are going to be some large voids in the hills no matter how I do it. Any configuration advice? I have a front end loader and grapple so I can arrange the piles however I want,
Howdy Cecil, welcome to permies. I have never tried stumps before. I guess the answer in my mind is as long as you can stack them so that your soil gets in and around all of the wood, you won't have as many air voids which would cause settling of the soil latter on. The whole pile will settle over time anyway as the wood rots. There are a lot of folks here trying different things so just do it and let us know what happens so we can all learn !
Hey Cecil, I have one concern about your idea. Are the birch stumps dead dry? or are they still green? I ask because in my experience birch can be quite prolific. When i was about 13 my father had a piece of birch wood in our firewood pile that he noticed had sprouted a couple leaves. So he buried the foot long junk just under the sod in our front yard. That was 15 years ago, now the result is four- thirty foot tall birch trees stemming from the same spot!!
So what I'm trying to get at is, if your stumps aren't completely dead and dry then your hugelkultur may eventually be tooken over by birch saplings, which would be great if you were a rabbit! but not so good for the wood-be hugelkulturist.
p.s. this is my first post on this forum, although I've been reading it for months. I just wanted to extend my gratitude to Paul Wheaton and all who participate on here. I'm very thankful for this gem and the treasure-trove of information within.
If your stumps are dry, not rotten or green, I'd recommend burying vertical with the roots down, not up.
This will allow rain water to be absorbed into the stumps even before they rot. Water will only be absorbed directly into the grain, it won't wick against the grain.
If you bury roots up, it will be much harder for water to get in. If they are rotten it probably doesn't matter what direction.