We have had a very large pine tree blow down and are trying to figure out how to use it. It's in an awkward place, lying across a stream, down a hill, in the brambles. We won't have money to hire anyone with big equipment to help us get it out in really big pieces.
Is it even worth trying to use it for hugel beds or should I avoid so much pine? (We have no other wood to mix it with at this point).
I think Pine is fine for hugel beds. Particularly if it well decomposed. Waiting a few years before incorporating it into a bed is not a bad.
If you are able to split it open that will also increase the rate of decay. Making sure it stays near / partially submerged would also ensure it remains moist enough to decompose.
There is no harm I can imagine in incorporating the fresh log into the core of a hugel bed, so long as there was enough soil/rotting stuff for plants to take root in as the log decomposes.
Sepp utilized newly fallen, large diameter spruce in some of beds (after a massive storm hit europe and knocked a lot of the monocultures down). The spruce is not unlike pine in terms of acidity and whatnot, and it seemed to work fine for Sepp.
Here is a thread about a hugelbed we just constructed this spring that incorporated a lot of pine.
Oh,that's great news, thank you everyone! It's not in the water, as the banks are about a meter higher than the stream it's acting as a bridge. The stream is 50-100 cm deep and very fast flowing. It's about 2 meters wide, with most of the branches on the easier-to-access side, but still, dismantling it will be a very difficult job that we'll probably do over a long period of time.
Andrew's response about waiting a few years reminded me of a question I meant to ask. Would finding chunks of well-rotted deadfall and putting them near green softwoods help speed up the process? Get some inoculation going on.
Bill Kerans wrote:Andrew's response about waiting a few years reminded me of a question I meant to ask. Would finding chunks of well-rotted deadfall and putting them near green softwoods help speed up the process? Get some inoculation going on.
Yes, there is quite a lot of evidence for this. Part of forest health when we are working on forest thinning and restoration on our land is "leacy material" basically dead trees at varying levels of decay.
Lots of forests in europe are essentially "too clean" and there is not enough dead material of varying ages to support healthy populations of detritivores. and so newly fallen material doesn't decay.
Thanks Andrew! I recently heaped up a big pile of leaves layered with a little bit of rotten deadfall, used goat bedding and manure in the hope that the leaves will decompose faster than an all leaf pile. Need to go stick my hand in to see if it is warming up.