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STUMPS (and their roots) as a basis for fruit tree guilds

 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5551
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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We are losing white oaks in this area at a steady pace. in our zone one yard, over the last several years one a year has died, all at about 100 years old. We have always let the stumps rot in place but the last few years after learning about hugelkultur, I have been experimenting with plantings around the stumps,....assuming that with trees that old there are extensive root systems breaking down underground much the same as a hugel bed. So far, so good......

Stump number one.....is white oak with a pie cherry tree (a sucker from a huge old tree), heritage raspberries, echinacea, oregano, thyme, woad, feverfew, shruby st. johns wort, iris, some poke and j. artichokes..... The tree was planted three years ago and watered only the first year....it took off and seems to be doing just fine...good bloom this year and a little fruit set....third year.

Stump number two....is also white oak and has a blood peach (started from a pit), echinacea, feverfew, chocolate mint, heritage raspberries,easter lilies, plantain, arugula, garlic. The raspberries and chocolate mint love each other it seems. I love the competition of spreading plants. (anything but BERMUDA, anyway)....second year for this 'guild'

Stump number three....is hickory and cut alive just last winter (leaning to close to the house). I am just trying out burdock, borage and comfrey to see if the wood is too green and they look Ok so far. I think in the fall or over next winter I will move some of our bosenberries there and maybe another peach tree.

The trees, I am keeping about four to six feet from the stump, still in the root zone though, and and the raspberries are right up next to the stump. Everything else is more random and some just show up uninvited.

I don't have nitrogen fixers planned out very well....I planted a few fava beans that didn't make it through the winter and the mimosa seed I planted didn't germinate or I haven't found the plants yet.
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STUMP NUMBER ONE
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STUMP NUMBER TWO
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STUMP NUMBER TWO/raspberry and chocolate mint
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STUMP NUMBER THREE
 
Jamie Wallace
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Location: Lantzville, Vancouver Island,BC Cool temperate, Lat. 49.245 Zone 8a
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Looks fantastic Judith. Great use of stumps, creative thinking.
 
Andrew Mateskon
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Very nice, you could also innoculate the stumps with mushrooms! Also, if you leave some of the small branches or some of the ground-up small branches around your planted trees, they will provide a nice ramial fungal duff zone around your plants. The stumps will soak up water as they rot, as well as send water deep underground along the old roots. This will be doulby true if you keep the stump in the shade, less wind and sun to wick away moisture.
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Jamie and Andrew, Thank you both!
Andrew,There are some chunks of wood around the trees as an edge to a bit of a basin to catch a little more rain water and then other pieces sort of random in among the plants....and the mushrooms are coming! No chipper here except my husband the woodworker (or shavings producer) whose by product gets used everywhere.
...any ideas for nitrogen fixers to plant this late that the deer won't eat?
 
Andrew Mateskon
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Judith Browning wrote:Jamie and Andrew, Thank you both!
Andrew,There are some chunks of wood around the trees as an edge to a bit of a basin to catch a little more rain water and then other pieces sort of random in among the plants....and the mushrooms are coming! No chipper here except my husband the woodworker (or shavings producer) whose by product gets used everywhere.
...any ideas for nitrogen fixers to plant this late that the deer won't eat?



Take a look here for some nitrogen fixing suggestions

http://www.perennialsolutions.org/all-nitrogen-fixers-are-not-created-equal

You should also look at bioaccumulators. Most permaculture people seem to love Comfrey, I'm about to give it a try. His shavings are likely great for the garden, be aware that pine and fir shavings promote brown rot, while hardwood and poplar shavings promote white rot. White rot is better for your plants than brown rot.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5551
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Andrew Mateskon wrote:
Judith Browning wrote:Jamie and Andrew, Thank you both!
Andrew,There are some chunks of wood around the trees as an edge to a bit of a basin to catch a little more rain water and then other pieces sort of random in among the plants....and the mushrooms are coming! No chipper here except my husband the woodworker (or shavings producer) whose by product gets used everywhere.
...any ideas for nitrogen fixers to plant this late that the deer won't eat?



Take a look here for some nitrogen fixing suggestions

http://www.perennialsolutions.org/all-nitrogen-fixers-are-not-created-equal

You should also look at bioaccumulators. Most permaculture people seem to love Comfrey, I'm about to give it a try. His shavings are likely great for the garden, be aware that pine and fir shavings promote brown rot, while hardwood and poplar shavings promote white rot. White rot is better for your plants than brown rot.


Thanks....I love comfrey too...i have it at every other fruit tree and other places....i was holding off at these though to give the other plants a chance. My husband sorts the shavings for me,fairly easily because he is usually working up a whole tree or at least a large log at a time....he is using mostly hardwoods/fruit woods but if there is walnut or bodark the shavings get used elsewhere...the bodark goes in my natural dye stash.
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
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Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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Beautiful Judith. All my stumps are 3 to 6 feet high. I surround them with plants and I inoculate the stumps with mushroom spores. I also use stumps as planting pots. Some of my stumps develop a hole down the center. I think they're all maples. So, I throw some soil down the hole and chuck some seed into the stump and I have a natural hugel (as you mentioned above). A few years ago I used elderberry seed and I now have a beautiful elderberry being protected and fed by the old decaying stump.
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Rick Roman
pollinator
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Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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Sorry, the third photo is not what I wanted to post... here is the elderberry growing out of an old stump.
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Judith Browning
Posts: 5551
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I was looking at a link that Andrew provided for nitrogen fixers and 'astragalus' caught my eye. I just potted up more than two dozen plants of Astragalus Membranaceus. Their true leaves were reminding me of something in the pea family....anyway I think my n. fixers are right under my nose....just need a little more growth before setting out and then deer and bunnie protection I am sure. i am growning that perennial as an medicinal herb recommended for the immune system as a treatment for tick fever.
so thank you, again Andrew!

There is information about this plant HERE
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my astragalus seedlings
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5551
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hi, Rick....nice stumps and chickens and happy looking elderberry! I never thought about leaving them taller...I suppose we'll get another chance at a future stump. I like the hollow ones for planters too. they last a lot longer than you would think and then just melt into the ground nicely.
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
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Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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Hi Judith. The 6 foot decaying stumps feed the surrounding brambles, lots of tall, thorny wild berries. Just beyond the brambles are low growing blueberries. My plan is to hollow out the tall stumps and turn them into natural beehives. I figure the bees prefer a higher hive.
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Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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FUTURE STUMP
this is going to look competitive
This is a hickory that died completely four years ago...and slowly over the five years before that. We decided to let it fall as it wanted and hopefully end up as a tall 'stump' . It lost a few branches over the winter but has held up to some really strong winds this spring. There are gooseberries, sumac and the garden fence near by.

I like the idea of bee hives in the tall stumps, Rick.
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seventy or eighty (?) foot dead hickory as seen from in front of the house
 
Andrew Mateskon
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All beautiful, wonderful uses for old stumps! I really like the elderberry in the stump hole. Permies have the best ideas!
 
B.E. Ward
Posts: 79
Location: Aside the Salish Sea
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We had a bit of a conversation about stumps here a couple of weeks ago, and the great results posted here make me wonder.. would there be any value in making basically a hugel mound over a stump?
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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B.E. Ward wrote:We had a bit of a conversation about stumps here a couple of weeks ago, and the great results posted here make me wonder.. would there be any value in making basically a hugel mound over a stump?



I remember reading that and I like the idea....I guess depending on the stump height, I don't see why it wouldn't work. It seems like the simple solution rather than chipping, burning, drilling...all of those ways folks deal with stumps. Even if it was in the shade you could grow something, I'm sure.
I think (am hoping) that for mine the main action is happening underground with the old root system. Our 'soil' is very rocky so we don't have available soil to try a mound...If you have enough space and stumps and time, give it a go and experiment with the rest of us and post your results
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
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Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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More pictures of stumps and their guilds.
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Judith Browning
Posts: 5551
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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excellent, Rick...what have you got growing there? I really like the red cabin too. What is the ground cover to the forefront in the last picture?
I was studying some backyard stumps this morning to decide what to add to them...they are shaded by the house until afternoon and then they really are blasted by the setting sun.
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
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Hi Judith, Sunchokes in the foreground, plum, confrey, cherry, arugala, persimmon, raspberries, etc are behind. Close by, in the same photo, to the left and right (not seen in the photo) are garlic, beets, potato, mustard, horseradish, blueberries, bamboo.... Keep in mind it's still kinda cool here. It looks a little barren, plants are just getting started.

One more photo...
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Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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A visitor to stump guild number one. The pic is from a distance and taken through my screen door...I can't tell what the stem is hanging out of it's mouth. With no dog here the critters are getting very bold....including this bunnie and a woodchuck.
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caught in the act!
 
Tristan Vitali
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Location: south-central ME, USA - zone 5a/4b
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B.E. Ward wrote:We had a bit of a conversation about stumps here a couple of weeks ago, and the great results posted here make me wonder.. would there be any value in making basically a hugel mound over a stump?


I'm almost sure of it and will let you know for sure in a few years I'm doing this with a lot of the stumps on my little piece of stumpland - right now it's just piles of the rotted wood and clipped berry canes over them but the plan is to cover with soil once the heavy machinery is available. I already have mulberries at the base of two of them in the pasture-in-progress, one is piled about 5 feet over what I think is a partially rotted old maple stump, about 7 years old, and the other around 3 feet over a well rotted yellow birch stump of the same age. There's hundreds more that need piles still and a lot of the fresh cut stuff will also get this treatment as I clean up the damaged and scraggly. I'll be doing fresh cut wood innoculated with edible mushrooms around the fresh cut stumps as well to see how that fares in comparison.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5551
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Tristan, great to hear what you are doing with stumps.....Post some pictures when you can of the progress!
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
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Rick, that is the most envious stand of sunchoke I've ever seen! Cool pictures.

Great thread.

Bump the stump
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5551
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Thanks for the 'bump' Landon....I meant to come back with pictures (I didn't take anymore) and updates and I hope Rick can do the same.
My 'stump number one' did well until the cherry tree got mildew and then fire blight and died...I don't think it had anything to do with the stump unless it was that it was growing too fast. We had an unusually wet summer and this particular cherry was barely getting enough hours of sun. The heritage raspberries and other things there did wonderful though, so I can let the brambles take over a little more, since I don't think I'll be putting another fruit tree there...maybe the goji and astragalus that I have started from seed and am waiting for some size on them so they don't get lost in the jungle.

I didn't lose anything from 'Stump number two'. More raspberries, the chocolate mint is on the rampage which is fine with us, The peach grew well and echinacea probably the best bloom ever........feverfew going to seed and easter lilies were great. Pretty much everything worked together to keep any weeds down, including the leftover sweet potato slips vines that covered all of the empty spaces. That area has odd things from my plant exchanges tucked in also that are attracting lots of pollinators and butterflies.......phlox, columbine, coral bell..........

'Stump number three' had the hugest clump of comfrey that I had only started from seed last winter and a huge burdock from the same planting, a couple volunteer poke, a nice borage gone to seed and a gala apple from seed that is only a year old. This was a hickory tree stump and relatively green...not six months from cutting the tree, so an experiment in whether the roots will interfere with plant growth....so far so good, but nothing is rooted very deep yet.

..and the big dead hickory is still looming and dropping big dead branches slowly....others keep offering to cut it down for us but we are enjoying this pace...it was such a magnificent tree.

anyone else giving this a try?
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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