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Jack Olin
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Hi,

I have MASSIVE Oak tree trunks (3-4ft Diameter / 10-20ft Long) in my backyard that I would like to bury.  My question is will they work well in a hugelkultur, and can I grow grass (sod) and hydrangeas over them?  I live in Charlotte NC which is zone 7.

Thank you
 
Alexandra Clark
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Location: Long Island, NY
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So you are not using the hugel as a growing bed, but more like bury the wood and let it slow rot. Yes, it will work--two things, place it no where NEAR your house. That is a lot of tasty wood for termites and carpenter ants to bury without building a bed over the top of it and introducing soil microbes to dine.  Hydrangeas that are water loving will of course benefit from the moisture retention abilities of rotting wood, BUT, with that amount of wood, you will eventually have a long sinking hollow in the ground. I have a number of these spots on my property as I simply had trees cut down years ago and buried the tops with soil. They are now sink holes that I am filling with debris and leaves and soil to bring to grade.  This issue could be avoided if you do not bury the logs fully, cover them with green yard waste, leaves and compost and then topsoil in a mounding type preparation and then plant over that. Not sure the hydrangeas would take in the first few years because they need a lot of water.

As for the grass, never had any experience with this and hugel, but I know white clover as a cover crop does well. Good luck!
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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It does seem a waste to bury and rot such huge logs which could be used to make beautiful furniture or something.  Can you sell or swap them for smaller logs which don't have a more useful purpose than being a hugel?
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hester Winterbourne wrote:It does seem a waste to bury and rot such huge logs which could be used to make beautiful furniture or something.  Can you sell or swap them for smaller logs which don't have a more useful purpose than being a hugel?

Jack Olin wrote:I have MASSIVE Oak tree trunks (3-4ft Diameter / 10-20ft Long)


haha...if you were anywhere close our son would be over there with his six foot alaskan mill cutting the tree into slabs......there is a market, especially with live edges and nice grain.....maybe someone in your area has a mill?  Are the trees still solid?  How recently cut?  If they are tornado damage, I understand that that sometimes does something to the grain (twisting?) making the wood checked and not desirable for furniture.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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Your giant oak log will work just fine for a hugel, but like they said it will decompose overtime and you'll be left with either a much smaller mound or a depression that will need to be filled.  Grass will grow just fine on a mound like that as will your hydrangeas. 

Do you plan on digging a trench and burying the log partially below grade, or just bringing in a bunch of dirt to throw over the top of the log where it sits?
 
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