David Miller wrote:
Property rot, when I sheet mulched my back yard (newspaper, cardboard, compost then 12 inches of chipped wood. I did not take into account that I was building a giant sponge right onto my fence, I'm slowly losing it. Oh well, I'm considering some rolled aluminum to line the fence line but.....we'll see
tel jetson wrote:to Michael Newby: what's the mechanism for wood chips reacting with atmospheric nitrogen? I haven't heard of that occurring before. my understanding was that bacterial symbionts were the only organisms that could use molecular nitrogen. on the other hand, lightning and diesel engines both create nitrogen oxides that are washed out of the air by rain. I believe that wood chips could capture nitrogen in that form.
Michael Newby wrote:
One tidbit that I've noticed is that I'm experiencing faster decay of my wood chips when I spread them over an area which already has decaying woody material there, whether they be a previous load of chips or naturally decaying forest litter. It's anecdotal at best, but I'm pretty sure that the stuff that's already decaying is innoculating the fresh chips with all the different bacteria and fungi and giving it a little jump-start.
tel jetson wrote:
I think you're probably right. I've noticed that the chips I get from a tree service are all hot by the time they get to me, and they all sprout the same mushrooms. makes me think that the inside of the trucks are inoculating each new batch with the same organisms.
Michael Newby wrote:
Yeah, I only give the inside of my chip box a good cleaning once a year and the forward corners usually have a 16" - 20" thick wedge of very active chips/compost. On cold mornings we've been known to burrow into a day old pile to keep warm while the equipment warms up. It's no wonder Jean Pain figured out a way to optimize and use that heat.
Leila Rich wrote:Welcome to permies R. D. O'brien
In my climate, if I girdled a willow it would just send out a million suckers. I have never seen a willow die without a great deal of help!
Not neccesarily a problem, but since the stump won't die, I think I'd coppice willow for chips etc.
Imagine all the hurdles I could weave...
martyn parish wrote:Hi
It's slightly progressing the topic but i'm wondering what the pro's and cons of using wood chips (particularly bark) for hugel kulture beds would be?
paul wheaton wrote:
I would use it as is - not chip it. When you chip, you homogenize the innards of the hugelkultur. I've heard several reports of that leading to huge pest problems. Plus, I like to have lots of "edge" both inside my hugelkultur and outside.
Michael Newby wrote: Usually large mega-grinding operations don't find it profitable to separate construction woody debris (think chemicals) from clean tree and brush waste. Most tree services work with trees only and any arborist worth their certification would refuse to give you known contaminated wood unless they'd discussed how to mitigate that contamination. Don't hesitate to ask the crew why the trees had to be removed or pruned, this will usually give you an indication of what to worry about in the wood chips. One of the best methods to ensure your wood chips are clean is to cover the pile with black plastic with soil piled around all the edges to act as a seal. Allow a few sunny weeks to pass and you will have killed any insect larva (think Emerald Ash Borer or Asian Longhorned Beetle, among many others) and the majority of any pathogens. If you're still worried or know that the wood was really contaminated, allow the chips to compost fully before using.
John Saltveit wrote:I realize that this is an old topic, but it is important to mention Linda Chalker Scott's research on this topic. She did controlled studies that showed that wood chips if left on the surface do not rob the soil of nitrogen but they will if they are tilled in. They decrease weeds and evaporative water loss and are very helpful for gardens.