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Dead wood and diseases

 
Vernon Veryard
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Hello,

I am a newbie to Permaculture but have had an allotment in London for the last couple of years.
This year I have decided to start experimenting with my plot, starting with a Hugelkulture bed and also with making raised beds out of semi buried untreated wood (mainly birch and oak) to hopefully encourage stag beetles.

Obviously quite a lot of wood needed which is not so available in London.

Anyway, I found a big log pile on some managed woodland near by which they allow you to buy (for fires one would assume). The wood comes from the local woods but also is dumped by local tree surgeons. Only after loading up my car did I it cross my mind that some of the logs there would naturally have come from diseased trees ( as the tree surgeons probably are asked to cut down diseased trees from the local houses).

One would hope both woodland managers and tree surgeons would destroy anything particularly contagious but I would be very gratefull if someone could tell me if there is anything I should be particularly aware of before introducing the wood to our beautiful collection of allotments and burying most of them in the ground.

I have not picked out any wood that looks particularly damaged beyond occasional mold or damp spots.
Am I bein over cautious

Thank you in advance and thanks for a great forum on which I have been 'lurking' for awhile picking up tips
 
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Vernon Veryard : i can only speak to local conditions here in upstate new york, because of invasives which have entered the north east through our shipping ports, we
are no longer allowed to transport any firewood more than 50 miles from where it was cut, I expect that you probably have the same thing, though maybe only as set
of recommendations !

I expect that someone local can advise you better than I, and probably will, other than new diseases and invasives, i think you have little to worry about, most if not all
of tree diseases are spread by spores 'on the wind ' Hope this helps, and is timely ! For the Craft !

Think like fire, flow like gas, Don't be the Marshmallow ! Big Al !
 
John Elliott
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We can't expect to use kiln dried sterile wood in hugelculture, the whole point is to have a vibrant community of organisms from single cell up to chickens and bovines. Diseases that are specific to birch and oak are probably not going to be a problem if you are growing tomatoes and broccoli. And once that diseased wood is buried, those diseases are going to be eaten by all sorts of critters. Without their host plant that they so carefully infected, they are now open to attack from other microbes and critters that see them as a meal.

Sure, I would not use clippings from a diseased or stressed pear tree to mulch some pear trees in the next county over. That is a recipe for spreading disease. I have had to take out a pine tree that had a fungal infection. It's endemic in this area and it also lives on oak leaves, where it is not pathogenic. But after the tree came down, the logs were fair game for the hugelkultur.

I suppose if you are really worried about a diseased tree, you can always turn it into biochar. The charring process will take care of any disease.
 
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