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Composting Tumbleweed  RSS feed

 
Jim Gagnepain
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The worst tumbleweed area in the US is between Pueblo and Colorado Springs. They have closed roads and schools because of tumbleweeds. I decided to do a natural tumbleweed purge on my 11 acres, just southeast of Colorado Springs. The good new is that it's working! I needed a large area, so I used my John Deere, with a frontloader, to dig out a tumble weed infested hillside. The are is about 40 feet x 15 feet. I would so one 4' x 15' strip at a time. With tumbleweed, it's all about gathering and killing the seeds. Is started layering load after load of tumbleweed into the trenches. I started picking up load after load of horse manure from my neighbor, who was paying to have it hauled away. He certainly liked this arrangement. The formula was the following:

1. 6-8" layer of tumbleweeds.
2. 3-4" layer of horse manure.
3. 3-4" layer of soil.
4. Repeat layers.

The horse manure builds up a lot of heat, and decomposes the tumbleweed, killing the seeds. Once I did one pass over the area, I went back through, and pulled out the oldest compost, which was mostly rich loam at this point, and repeated the process. I am a perfectionist, and I tend to get every seed off the ground. After mowing in the Fall, I go around and pick up the loose tumbleweed (and seeds, which is tedious). I usually wait til after the first freeze, to avoid any rattlesnakes that may be lurking. We also put up some fencing, and this traps the new tumbleweed from blowing onto our land. After just one year of doing this, it's amazing to see the results. Nice prarie grass is growing in areas that were solid tumbleweed. I've completed about 6 acres, and my wife is amazed. She says she can hardly find tumbleweed if she looks for it!

The war continues next year - the other 5 acres!
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'm in Wyoming and we don't get them quite as bad as you do, but we get a lot of them. Ours get caught up on the fences and buildings. I pull them off in the bad areas we need to access and put them in a compost area. I'm too lazy to do anything too special though, and just wait for them to break down. I have noticed that in the areas I leave the tumbleweeds on the fences I have a really really nice compost there. The chickens scratch it up and it's just nice black dirt.
 
Jim Gagnepain
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elle sagenev wrote:I'm in Wyoming and we don't get them quite as bad as you do, but we get a lot of them. Ours get caught up on the fences and buildings. I pull them off in the bad areas we need to access and put them in a compost area. I'm too lazy to do anything too special though, and just wait for them to break down. I have noticed that in the areas I leave the tumbleweeds on the fences I have a really really nice compost there. The chickens scratch it up and it's just nice black dirt.


The fertile soil, is probably a combination of the chickens and the tumbleweed. You are composting them! Maybe I'm taking the wrong approach.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Jim Gagnepain wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:I'm in Wyoming and we don't get them quite as bad as you do, but we get a lot of them. Ours get caught up on the fences and buildings. I pull them off in the bad areas we need to access and put them in a compost area. I'm too lazy to do anything too special though, and just wait for them to break down. I have noticed that in the areas I leave the tumbleweeds on the fences I have a really really nice compost there. The chickens scratch it up and it's just nice black dirt.


The fertile soil, is probably a combination of the chickens and the tumbleweed. You are composting them! Maybe I'm taking the wrong approach.


I don't have any actively growing on my property. They are all blow ins. If I did I might take an approach more similar to yours. I'm just kind of....lazy. lol
 
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