Wood from many of the the pine species rot quickly if in contact with the ground. This means that they're not much use for posts. They will last longer in an above ground use where they're exposed to weather. So if you need some rails for a post and rail fence you could perhaps make some thick boards using a chainsaw or splitting with wedges. But the rails won't last as long as rails made from more durable species. If the trees have been down for a while and the wood has already started decomposing then you could help this process along by splitting the logs and leaving them in contact with the ground. Pinus radiata, for example, is grown extensively as a plantation tree in SE Australia and for shelterbelts etc They rot in a few years if left on the ground. Rotting in situ is far better for the soil IMO than piling them up and burning them.
When's the best time to plant a tree? About 20 years ago. When's the next best time? Today!
With enough cool weather and moisture and full contact with the ground they may be able to produce a good crop of fungi and act as nurse logs. Hemlock is a spectacular species for starting elderberry and others. I am not quite sure about your pine out there just yet.
David, I may could get some rails out of these but they are in bad shape even only being down a short time. I suspect root rot but some were dead at the top prior to falling.
Landon, I would love to use them in some fashion as a growing medium! These would make great hugelkulture material except they are pine which I've read is a no no. If you guys have any thoughts on how I could use these chopped up into big rotting sections I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Had a bunch too. Nothing wrong with using pine logs here.
I didn't have time to dig swales or anything so I decided to go the slow approach as an experiment. We laid the logs (about 100 feet worth) on contour on a south facing slope thinking we'll chop and drop anything along them and eventually we'll have some contours on the slope.
I did bring a few yards of soil and spread about 4" of soil on the downslope edge of the logs, one or two shovels wide. Just enough to make a slight berm to hold water back from flowing freely.
Sprinkled some leftover seeds in the soil, radishes, turnips, borage, Daikon, one amaranth came up (red). Mulch on the seed bed.
Everything is very lush downslope of the logs, the logs themselves are rotting nicely and I guess creating an edge effect. All sorts of wildlife started showing up that you never saw there before, frogs and snakes and birds in the first year.
Picked a few turnips and radishes but mostly left everything to go to seed.
This pic is the late summer of the first year, 2014. Logs laid in early spring. I have trees planned for this in a year or two and another row of logs 20 or 30 feet farther downslope eventually.
Bravo Roy! I like the approach and the results speak for themselves. I got a barren hillside this would be good on. Thanks for including the picture also. It really helps to see what you are talking about.
Couple more pics for you.
One just after laying logs, some soil there to be spread. The logs are quite long, I did my best to average out the contours. Another of some radish going to seed, borage flowers (blue) visible .