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Sad to cut down trees and wild plans in yard...

 
Tam Bro
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I have a badly overgrown garden. There are multiple trees and saplings that I need to cut down since I live in an urban area and can't have them growing willie nillie close to power lines and foundations. I also have a bunch of thistles, goldenrod, etc... and snails. Lots of snails. The elder trees which sprout so many places are suffering from some type of pest or microorganism, and so are many plants.

My point is, I feel really bad just cutting it all down. I think it's Mother Earth just repairing stuff in her own way. I wish there were another way for me to maintain as a homeowner and also to perhaps one day grow food (not doing much of that right now). The earth needs the trees and plants. I want to do the work of growth, healing and happiness for the planet and myself and future people. Also, once I've cut down all these things, I'd like to mulch them but I'm concerned that pests or microorganisms affecting one plant may go back into the soil and attack others. But what a waste of nutrients otherwise.

All feedback welcome!
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Death is part of nature.

We have weakened many plant and animal species (including humans) because we coddle and medicate them too much.

Nature mulches things in place. Something different grows there that is not susceptible to the same disease. Natural cycle, you can help speed it up by mulching.
 
Dave Lodge
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Location: New England
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For urban soils, especially right next to houses, can be very poor soil and minimal soil microbes. The trees would be helping to create a microclimate and supporting organisms for the soil.

Cutting the trees resets the succession back to the ground. This happens in nature with fire, land slides, wind throw and so on. Below ground the roots of the tree will be decomposed by fungi and nutrients will be added to the soil Getting plants to tap into this reserve will be a good deep organic matter sink.

The key in an urban area is to get the land covered before invasive's take over. I live in an urban area that was covered in low value invasive trees, shrubs and vines and now the better native edibles came back on their own. Butternut, Black Cherry came back on their own. Maybe 10 butternuts and 15 black cherries.

I am very much do nothing type of person so I just observe what happens and add to the diversity. 100% of my yard is self-maintaining minus some weeding of invasives or aggressive pioneer species shading my plants too much.
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Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I'm a chainsaw landscapeer and gardener. Anything that fails to thrive or that displeases me is cut, piled and covered with dirt. Many natives serve no useful function beyond supplying mulch and wood. Others are quite useful. The saw is my primary gardening tool.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Tam Bro wrote:
My point is, I feel really bad just cutting it all down.


I wish people would talk more about this. There is sooooo much info out there about turning field into food forests, but not about turning regular forests into food forests, or like in your case cutting down trees to control zone 1.

In your case, don't feel bad. If you don't cut down vegetation by the powerlines, the power company will do it anyway and spray herbicide. Use those plants as best you can for firewood, mulch, compost, maybe hugelkulture.

Replace those plants with ones that you wont have to cut in the future or it'll all just regrow. There are lots of shrubs that wont grow tall enough to bother the powerlines, productive ones that will feed you. Use this opportunity to occupy that niche.
 
Dave Lodge
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Location: New England
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Forests are more difficult to understand how to exploit the niches and what plants would go well in those areas. Nature is better at this because of the numbers game. Observing what grows naturally can give you an idea of the niches, and planting into those niches. Low cost plants (seeds) allow for experimenting and overplanting which will give better success generally than the niches we can usually imagine with limited concepts of sun, soil, and water.

"Always more biomass, more biodiversity." - John D. Liu
 
Zach Muller
gardener
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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I have had to do a lot of clearing and killing of plants in my current yard. Sometimes I would feel sad knowing I was destroying habitat and life, but I moved saplings to where they can grow, harvested seeds and distributed them, and fed the soil life by mulching the cut plant matter. If you keep everything on site then you are really just redistributing the life, not exporting it away and draining your site of nutrients. In my garden I pull out sprouting trees daily so other things can grow, this increases the diversity and usefulness of the area, and creates more food for me and the birds and the micro organisms.

Like CJ said, being in the city means if you don't control the growth then someone else will and they will usually spray poisons afterward. I dislike manicuring lawns, but if I don't do it to make my landlady happy I will be evicted or cited by the city. This doesn't mean I can't plant 20+ different trees and increase the overall biomass being carried on the property.
 
Tam Bro
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Thanks, all, for your feedback!
 
Tam Bro
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So I did more chopping and cutting today. I took care to leave stumps in the ground so as to keep roots in for in-ground composting and perhaps to hold soil in place, at least for a while. Also eating raspberries my grandparents planted decades ago
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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