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using black knot diseased tree limbs pruned from growing trees can they be added to a hugel kultur?

 
Nance Seaborn Kuenz
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we live in the countryside south of Calgary. Alberta Canada. Wondering if the black knot trees that we have pruned from the wild chokecherry might be used in a hugelkultur bed?

In one of our ditches we have a pile of trees that the dirt guy pushed there when we built the road some 12 yrs ago. This high mound is neither an eye sore nor a handy planting bed. Other than adding fireweed to the top of it to give it a shot of colour I don't plan on doing anything with it.

I am just thinking that putting the black knot there would be easier and more environmental than hauling it away or burning it. The question is: is it going to make the black knot more prolific and continue to shed the spores or not? Could we just pitch the limbs ontop of the existing pile or do we cover the existing pile and new limbs with dirt? How much dirt needs to go over diseased wood to mitigate any disease?

If I did ever plan to use diseased wood for a hugelkultur that would be planted up with edibles, is it an issue or is it only an issue if it is in the same family like a plum or chokecherry tree re: family black knot?

Thanks for any clarifications.
Nance
 
Adriaan van Roosmalen
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Location: Netherlands (moderate maritime climate)
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http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/%24department/deptdocs.nsf/all/faq7622 says:
DISEASED WOOD MUST BE DESTROYED IMMEDIATELY (burned, buried or removed from site). Diseased knots can produce and release spores for up to 4 months after removal. Proper composting can help to accelerate the breakdown of infected materials


Using that wood inside a Hugelbed can be considered as burying isn't it?
 
Nance Seaborn Kuenz
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Adriann Thank you for your dep of agriculture link but I am still confused.

So, we live in the country and I can just dump my compost by trees or cut grass and dump it on a pile pruned vines and trees and leaves are to decompose outside but without turning, not hot or "properly" but I just let it decompose naturally.

Is burying the diseased wood on a pile of logs/dirt and covering it with fresh soil and maybe mulch buried? How much soil on top would mean it has been buried or is it more the idea of putting it in a hole with dirt all around? Like a buried body in the ground?

Thanks
Nance
 
Adriaan van Roosmalen
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Location: Netherlands (moderate maritime climate)
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Yes, a Hugelbed uses cold composting. There is no need to do any turning. The wood will slowly decompose in a trench that you dig.

To paraphrase the first four instructions given by sepp holzer in his book "Desert or Paradise" page 132:

Dig a trench of about 1.5 meter wide. You can make it any length you like..

The depth should be 30 cm deep when you have clay soil and 70 cm deep for very sandy soil. You put the soil and turf aside. Fill the trench with a mixture of rough and fine organic material like wood, twigs, branches and leaves up to a height of 1 meter. You can use part of the soil to fill up air pockets. When the organic material is dry, add some water when you are building the bed. When you reach a height of 1 meter add back the turf with the roots up, and then the soil up to 1.5 meter high. In case you have no turf, just forget about it

If the ground is very wet, then to prevent rotting (anaerobic) don't dig a trench and build the bed above ground level. In this case you will have to get the soil to cover the bed from somewhere else.

To prevent the Hugelbed from drying out, you mulch it after sowing your seeds.


I would recommend to do first create an 1 meter wide test Hugelbed of 1 to 1.5 meter long. Then you get some experience with how much organic material you need.
 
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