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HugelKultur in pots

 
Christine Freeman
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I read somewhere, a brief mention of putting wood in the bottom of big, potted plants to serve the same purpose.
Has anyone done this with any type of success?

For example, I have an embarrassingly huge collection of Japanese maples. 2 year grafts to 14 year, getting mature trees. Many are in pots.
Usually, it's 3-4 years before I get them out, root prune, and back into the pot they go.

Would that be long enough for wood to achieve it's absorbent state?

I work in a restaurant and bring home tons of coffee grounds. Given they're immediately usable nitrogen, in my Hugels I've topped new wood with them. It is my hope that it'll help the wood NOT suck all the good stuff out of the soil as quickly. Am I off base on this, and if not, I'm wondering how it would affect pots...

Anyway... anyone done this?

I'm putting 12 maples in the ground this year, and plan a mini Hugel under each one. Why not? (Not rhetorical!)

Thanks for your opinions...
 
Nicole Alderman
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We do this, adding some rotting wood to the bottom of our pots when we plant. We even put small sticks in our smaller pots, and we throw some small ones at the bottom of the holes we dig for apple trees, too. I can't really say for sure it does amazing things, since we're new to gardening and we really don't have any "control groups" of the same plants in the same soil without wood at their bases. If I recall correctly, the older and more rotten the wood, the less it sucks nitrogen.So, the nastier, rotted and fungus-infested the wood is, the better!
 
Christine Freeman
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Something seems to be missed about this nitrogen thing.

Coffee grounds are immediately available nitrogen to plants.
The acid isn't a factor, as we conveniently drink that.
I have always added a layer of coffee grounds before I mulch my regular beds with wood chips. These beds are more than alive and kicking for 8-10 years now.

Granted the more rotty the wood is, the easier, but why not give your plants a nice nitrogen boost while repotting?

I'm going to give it a shot. I have a bunch of pot-bound Japanese maples that could use a little attention!
Thanks for the response. Nice to know someone's giving it a good try!
Christine
 
Nicole Alderman
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Christine Freeman wrote:
I'm putting 12 maples in the ground this year, and plan a mini Hugel under each one. Why not? (Not rhetorical!)

Just noticed this question. Here's a recent thread of people discussing underground hugels: http://www.permies.com/t/40594/trees/Backfilling-transplanting-nursery-saplings#317144

This person planted a bunch of trees in a hugel. The ground sunk a lot, and he lost a bunch of trees . http://www.permies.com/t/31353/hugelkultur/hotspot-Hugel#243634
 
Dale Hodgins
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I've used wood at the bottom of big pots. This is done to protect the drain hole from being clogged with mud. Sticks an inch or so in diameter cover the bottom. Then a layer of woody roots is added as a filter. This lasts longer than the broken pot shards and rocks that I often see used to keep the drain open.
 
Christine Freeman
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Dale, perhaps it was your mention of this I read previously.

I'm going to give it a try. When water collects in the bottom plate the pot sits in, the wood should also help prevent the roots from becoming and staying too wet.
At least this is my hope.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Pots are more prone to moisture spikes and temperature spikes than larger quantities of soil are. The wood seems to level the bumps.

I had a nice photo of a root filter in that other thread. When some woody plants are removed, some very dense small root mats can be salvaged for pot bottoms. The best matted roots are found tight against curbs and rocks.

Edit --- Found it.
http://www.permies.com/t/38560/hugelkultur/Dale-hugelkultur-flower-pots-planters
 
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