Wytze Schouten wrote:
I am asking because I own a small patch of forest that was established on an overgrazed hilltop. ...
Many tree species don't do well on the soil, and in part that may be because it is high in sand and low in clay or silt. But I also believe it has something to do with the fact that it's been exploited for sheep grazing. ...
The problems I see in the trees are primarily crooked growth.
Wytze Schouten wrote: what minerals do sheep deplete first when a soil is overgrazed?
If grasses and shrubs keep extracting new minerals from the soil for their own growth, and sheep keep eating that growth and pooping elsewhere, then eventually the part of the soil that's accessible to roots will run out of certain minerals. I'm sure fungal activity and weathering can unleash new minerals from stone and bedrock over the long run, but that's going to take millennia, and those fungi need a moist soil to live in while they do their work.
R Scott wrote:I went to feeding free choice mineral to my grazers in intensive rotational grazing. They crave what the plant is missing, then poop it back out close to where it was needed. Lock your grazers at the hilltops overnight and the nutrient will leach INTO your soil.
Wytze Schouten wrote:What grew there before was: heather. Calluna vulgaris
Cj Verde wrote:I guess better than a pH test is to see what indicator weeds are growing.
Wytze Schouten wrote:they can't grow straight unless it is moist and rich in minerals. That's why the one individual with garden waste heaped below it is growing so nice and straight(...)
A topsoil poor in minerals will support little micro life, which means it won't have much water-retaining capacity. Which means trees will have a harder time too