• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
master gardeners:
  • Greg Martin
  • jordan barton
  • Carla Burke
  • Leigh Tate
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean
  • Steve Thorn

Can I fill my swales with wood chips?

 
Posts: 5
Location: Gregory, Michigan
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I started installing my keyline swale. Can I fill it with wood chips? Thoughts please. Thank you in advance.
1st-Swale.jpg
[Thumbnail for 1st-Swale.jpg]
1st-Swale-raked.jpg
[Thumbnail for 1st-Swale-raked.jpg]
 
gardener
Posts: 787
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
43
dog forest garden books urban chicken bike
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Why do you want to fill it with chips? Sometimes chips can float and get carried away, but i bet you could. There was a thread a while back about anaerobic conditions forming under the chips and creating a nasty stink, so thats something to consider as well. Id probably save the chips to cover the berm.
 
Craig Pettersson
Posts: 5
Location: Gregory, Michigan
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Zach Muller wrote:Why do you want to fill it with chips? Sometimes chips can float and get carried away, but i bet you could. There was a thread a while back about anaerobic conditions forming under the chips and creating a nasty stink, so thats something to consider as well. Id probably save the chips to cover the berm.

I don't care if it smells. If it does, it should only last for a short time. The reason I would like to fill the swale is so I don't have such a deep ditch on the landscape. Thinking the water will flow right through the chips and the chips will hold water like a giant sponge or water battery.
 
Posts: 166
Location: Kentucky 6b
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personally I just see them floating away.

With that said, the purpose of swales is of course to hold water long enough for it to infiltrate the soil. Obviously putting anything in it cuts down on the overall volume of water the swale can hold at one time. Seems to me you're limiting the capacity they at which they can perform. If you don't get enough rainfall that will ever be a problem then it's fine. You could also argue in that case you didn't need swales that large in the first place then. I don't have experience with them, but those are just my first thoughts.

If you want it solely for aesthetics that's cool. I just don't see it increasing the effectiveness of what they're intended to do. Take this with a grain of salt however.
 
Posts: 59
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you live in a dry area that doesn't get much rain and if you want to get the ground covered so noxious weeds aren't as likely to grow, then an 8 inch layer in your swale would seem to be fine.
If you get a lot of rain, I imagine that your grass will spread quickly and fill in the swale and you won't get much benefit out of the wood chips. They will take a bit of effort to spread.
 
steward
Posts: 4022
Location: Montana
376
fungi books food preservation bee
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
my friend matt puts wood chips in his swales but it's for much much smaller scale projects - they make the swale ditches into nice walk paths through your site. i'll send him a link to this thread and see what he thinks about doing it for larger scale stuff.
 
Posts: 371
Location: Guerneville, CA
39
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I <3 my wood chip swale paths & swear by them.

They are an opportunity to stack functions: inoculate the wood chips as you put them in with soaked layers of cardboard or paper with the substrate between them & then the woodchips on top. I put edible fungi in places, so I don't miss them: they're already in the path!

This looks great! Keep going! Swales rule!

MP
 
Matt Powers
Posts: 371
Location: Guerneville, CA
39
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ok perhaps I should add that when you inoculate the wood it hold WAY MORE water & then actually creates water as it inoculates the mass. I don't think grasses with grow as easily through it if it is inoculated.
 
Craig Pettersson
Posts: 5
Location: Gregory, Michigan
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matt Powers wrote:Ok perhaps I should add that when you inoculate the wood it hold WAY MORE water & then actually creates water as it inoculates the mass. I don't think grasses with grow as easily through it if it is inoculated.

Where do I get the spores?
 
Matt Powers
Posts: 371
Location: Guerneville, CA
39
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use http://www.fieldforest.net/ for my Oysters & Shiitakes.
I use http://mushroommountain.com/ for King Stropharia.
I use http://www.fungi.com/ for anything else

MP
 
Posts: 1
Location: Edmonton, Canada - Zone 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matt Powers wrote:I <3 my wood chip swale paths & swear by them.

They are an opportunity to stack functions: inoculate the wood chips as you put them in with soaked layers of cardboard or paper with the substrate between them & then the woodchips on top. I put edible fungi in places, so I don't miss them: they're already in the path!

This looks great! Keep going! Swales rule!

MP



Hey Matt,

Love your work.  I'm thinking of trying this ...

Details:
-dug 3 swales total approximately 200 ft at approximately 8 inch depth by mini excavator that was doing other work on my property
-heavy clay soils
-wife doesn't like the look of the ditches in the yard with young kids in our house
-was planning on wood chipping the mounds and around the plantings anyway ....

so ... why not fill the whole thing full of woodchips as a path (function stacking)?

Do you have any videos where you've done this ... I looked at your channel and there is so much information

Cheers,
Chris from Canada
Zone 3A
Alberta

 
You'll never get away with this you overconfident blob! The most you will ever get is this tiny ad:
Solar Station Construction Plans - now FREE for a while
https://permies.com/t/138039/Solar-Station-Construction-Plans
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic