Plus thinking about how I could rip keylines with my tiny little tractor got me to thinking:
What would happen if you planted rows of daikon on the keyline? My hypothesis is that planting them closely spaced (4-6" in row spacing) will give you the same benefit as keylining plus green manuring while not requiring anything more than a hoe.
Am I crazy? Don't answer that. Is this idea crazy?
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
posted 6 years ago
It would certainly be cheaper than buying (or renting) a keyline plow, and a tractor big enough to pull it.
It won't create the complete channels that a keyline plow would, but it would be adding organic matter along those lines.
You would have pockets of life along the keyline - and those pockets would spread.
I am looking at a property that has a hill which is too steep for safe tractor work.
I am seriously considering rows of daikon as a first step way of 'working' it.
So, if you're crazy, then so am I. LOL
If you can get "many" distinct (and dense) rows of Daikon established along the gentle downward sloping keyline principles I think you could get a lot of benefit of holding water on the land longer with a reduced risk of erosion. Each row of Daikon could function like a mini terrace (although only 4-6 inches wide)without all the earth moving involved. Hopefully your soil is loose enough on this slope that you can get it planted safely. I don't know how Daikon grows in your area, but you might also consider mixing in grass seeds that might help to hold the soil on the slope better than Daikon.
I did similar, ripped a single contour line and planted with eucalyptus and acacia. Doing great so far, probably better than those planted traditionally at the same time. You can use a ripper with pipe layer on a small tractor - have a length of pipe in the pipe layer, feed seeds down it as you rip. Job done in one pass.
Have done no keyline work in urban areas, but no reason why it couldn't be of benefit given the right land area, etc... and the general planning and water management principles are applicable to any scale even though developed for larger scales...
Andrew is correct about the subsoiler as a good pre-tree planting treatment... and being able to lay irrigation pipe in the same pass (a technique Darren Doherty has long been promoting in his workshops).... If you have the time pre-ripping a tree belt a year in advance gives time for the soil to absorb more moisture and biological response in advance of planting....
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