I have a newly established hugelkultur bed that is the bases for my future forest garden. I currently only have fruittrees planted in it but will be adding other layers soon. The flags and bags in the pic are all fruit trees. This cedar (technical a juniper) needs to go to make a little more room. As I was looking at it today it dawned on me there could be another use for it instead of a fence post. What if I girdle it and let it die in place. I could then use it to trellis grapes and it would serve as a cool bird perch. Thoughts?
I'm not sure I'm seeing the right tree in your picture... The big one in the center looks like a pine, as does the smaller one on the right.
Where I live, Junipers are like weeds. They present a huge fire hazard, are very acidic, drink way too much water, and don't break down easily. If it were dead (yay), it would make a dandy post for multiple birdhouses, mason bee housing, bats, a wind sock, trellis and lots of things. If you're like me... think about it before you cut it down, right?
~ Permaculture is enriching...Farming... is just scratching the surface ~
Greg B Smith
posted 2 years ago
The one on the left is a pine. The one one the right is what I have heard called an eastern red cedar but is supposed to be something in the juniper family and not part of the cedar family. We call them cedars here in Mississippi. They are very slow to rot which is why they are used for fence post. It would make a good bird perch with the needles gone and a good trellis unless someone has a reason I should not do that.
The one on the right is indeed the eastern red cedar (sacred cedar), It is a Juniper not a true cedar and that means it will not be good to your fruit trees (can harbor diseases we fruit growers don't want to see).
This tree has white sap wood and red, aromatic heart wood. It is the tree cedar chests are lined with as well as closets.
Girdling is a good method to kill it and leave it standing. Keep in mind almost all conifers can hold their leaves for over 6 months, and during that time they will be green for the most part.
Unfortunately the diseases that attack fruit tree leaves live in the needles (leaves) and that means to keep on standing you should try to get rid of the green.
I have two that we are going to girdle but I am already partially removing limbs to get rid of the green parts, this week end they will get girdled.
We also have some nice large cedars that will become the supports for a porch roof. Have to peel them for that and leave a few branch ends for hanging stuff on (wolf wants that feature).
Cedars don't acidify the soil as much as pines will but they do tend to create deep shade zones.
Our Cedars (Junipers) will die if you cut off all the green parts. So you could cut off the limbs and use them for something (hugelkultur, brush pile aka bird pile aka snake pile) and keep the main stem and large side branch stubs in place as a trellis. We use standing dead cedar stumps as fence posts. They last for years.
Any reason you can't do both? I mean depending on how far from the proposed fencepost spot it is, and with a little selective trimming, your fencepost could have branches and birdhouses and if you leave bark on perhaps mason bee/predatory insect furnishing, etc etc.
It looks sizable, but not so big you couldn't drag it where you need it.
"The highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences."
"Cultivate gratitude; hand out seed packets"
Once the tree is dead (no greenery anywhere) the diseases we are concerned about can not survive since there is no host to feed them.
The ERC is a sacred tree, it represents the circle of life and mankind, so I always spend time talking to one before I take it down.
I explain why I must take its life and how it will be put to use, it usually sounds silly to others but it is necessary for me.
I also make sure to use of all of the wood so the tree spirit lives on.
Some of the branches will be burnt in offering which is also making use of and giving thanks for the life I had to take.