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Hugelkultur for noise reduction

 
Kathy Duncan
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Hello, I recently bought a property close to train tracks that has more traffic than I was led to believe. I am looking into hugelkultur as a means to reduce noise and increase harvest. Part of the property is forest which hasn't been looked after. There is a lot of dead White Pine in the woods to be removed. Would this be ok to use as a foundation for the hugelkultur bed and what be a good height/depth ratio? I am grateful for any information on things I haven't thought of as well.
 
Kathy Duncan
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Landon Sunrich
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Now that's a heck of an idea. What a function stack! Like 8 feet tall with an 8 foot base or something? That would absorber and deflect a lot of sound wouldn't it. You have been thinking about this I see. You are familiar with the concept of fungal filters too I hope?

Thanks for sharing. I want to hear more about this project!
 
George Marsh
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Location: Hamilton Ontario
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Hi there,

I'm wondering how long a stretch of railroad you are dealing with and what you would think your ideal height would be to deaden the noise. My main concern is just how much you'd need in the way of materials, it sounds like you'd be using a significant amount of top soil as well as a large amount of woody material.

For conversations sake, I would imagine you'd want to build at around 9-10 feet in height as you'd have a significant amount of shrinkage in the first few months. I'm suggesting this height for the sake of noise reduction, I'm not really sure anything above head height or reaching height is still, strictly, Hugelkultur as you want to avoid stepping on the lower levels to maximize growth area. That's obviously not a huge issue as I think you just want to be able to use the surface area of your noise reducing "hillock" for growing food.

The tallest beds I've ever seen were roughly 7 feet tall at install, after 2 years, I would guess they were around 6 feet. I don't recall how wide these were at the base, but I remember they were installed at around a 65 degree angle. I'm rubbish at math, so can't do that in my head right now. I remember the angle had to do with compaction, but I don't recall the specifics. Sorry, I'm not being particularly useful right now.

Probably the best choice would be to post over on the dedicated Hugelkultur forum here, there are some very knowledgeable people there with a lot of experience.

Out of interest where in Ontario are you?
 
Burra Maluca
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I've added this thread to the hugelkulture forum.
 
Kathy Duncan
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Thank you for your responses; I value them both. I would be looking at about 10 feet high but would like to plant the ridge (if that is what it is called) to plant evergreen shrubs or something. I do not know about fungal filters, I looked it up elsewhere on the site but don't understand how it applies to Hugelkulture. I am still figuring out how to navigate this site so thank you for your assistance in moving my question to a larger forum.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Kathy Duncan wrote:I do not know about fungal filters, I looked it up elsewhere on the site but don't understand how it applies to Hugelkulture.


Fungal exudates and peroxidases do wonders in breaking down a variety of hydrocarbons. They act as a big ol' bio-re mediating filter. Putting them between you and the train tracks should help clean up any industrial nastyness the train has tracked in your way
 
Kathy Duncan
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That is very good to know! I had only considered reducing the racket; I didn't even think of terminating toxins. Thank you, I will incorporated fungal filters into the design.
 
Roy Hinkley
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Location: S. Ontario Canada
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The berm itself should be as high as possible- available soil is probably going to be your limiting factor here. Think how tall those noise abatement barriers and berms are along highways....to be effective you probably have to block line of sight from train to house if the terrain elevation is favourable.
It will of course shrink as the buried wood decays and pine will decay faster than say a hardwood. Between the hugel and the track I would be planting evergreen trees. Perhaps even a double staggered row if you have space. As your berm shrinks the trees will thicken and grow taller helping with the noise. Distance from the hugel will depend on whether the trees will eventually cause shade to fall on your beds or not.
 
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