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Built a hugel-type bed around Pine tree...  RSS feed

 
Gary Park
Posts: 146
Location: St. Louis, MO
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So in needing to move some raspberries and after trimming the pine for more light in the front yard, I had to get rid of the branches and yard-rakings, so I built this bed.  The vertical stakes are about 3-feet long, with 1-foot above ground, then I made a birds nest kind of thing to hold the dirt, then scooped a bunch of goopy rich topsoil from the gulley area.  I'll be adding more dirt/compost through the winter to give it more of a mound look, and plan on transplanting the berry plants in March sometime.  This took me about 3 hard hours of work, mostly the hard part was the shoveling the mud.  I've heard a lot of people ask if you can use pine branches/wood for hugelkulture, so I'll try it and see what happens, even if it is just for berries right now.







 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
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The tree looks more like sprouce than a pine to me, am I wrong? Sprouce are actually indicators for humus rich soil. Nonetheless decomposition of the needles and branches will take time due to the acidity. Especially when regularly new needles are added from the tree.

Raspberries grow best in only lightly acidic soil. I don't know if your experiment will work the way you hope. It's shady, too, isn't it? Might think about adding basalt powder to counter the acidity.

Good luck though.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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It's usually best not to build up material around the base of a tree because it can cause weakness and disease. 

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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that will be an AMAZING spot for gooseberries. gooseberries LOVE to grow under pine trees, add hugelkultur to that and you have a winning combo.
 
Gary Park
Posts: 146
Location: St. Louis, MO
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I think it is a Norway Spruce or pine--it has the droopy limbs at the ends, and long smooth cones.  The soil is definitely soft and airy--I pounded some 2" wide stakes about 2 feet into the ground without much trouble.  I'm going to try to mound up the ring, so the dirt contact with the trunk will be minimal.  I'll be adding enough dirt that the Hugelkulture part won't need to be a nutrient adder for quite a while anyway.  I'm now considering cutting off all the lower limbs so the light can come in during the morning and evening in the summer, and almost all day in the winter.  I'm not a fan of coniferous trees...but they have their place, and my wife likes them so I can't chop them. 
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
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I would plant acidity loving plants under this conifer like blueberry and cranberry. Not lime addictives like gooseberry or currant, haha.
 
Mark Vander Meer
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I agree with Ludi- heaping up soil is very damaging to the tree.   
 
Gary Park
Posts: 146
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Transplanted about 8 blackberry plants in.  Note the trunk--it is NOT BURIED under the bed material.  The material is like a donut around the tree.  The base of the trunk is at the same ground level it started at.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i also agree that putting soil over the roots of your tree very deep can be damaging, but if it is only a few inches it might be ok..i also agree blueberries are probably your best choice, or wintergreen or high bush cranberry..

i limbed up some trees in our front yard that are canadian hemlock, white and red pine and white and  blue spruce..under them there is a mix of lily of the valley, columbine, aegopodium and some bracken ferns.. that do really well..they are basically just tall enough  limb up to get the riding mower through the lawn that edges the beds of the above plants under them without knocking my head off..but also to get a little sun through ..and I have to replace the fence under the trees this year cause of wind damage so I also required access to the fence to get that done..I'm not fond of limbing up evergreens, but had to do it here for practical reasons..but these are extremely healthy full grown trees and the bottom limbs were kinda scrawny anyway from lack of sunshine
 
                                    
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
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i put sod we cut out for our garden under a patch of pine trees.  it was probably 4 or 5 inches high in spots at first.  looking back on it it was not the most ideal way to start a garden plot, but two years later the trees are fine and the grass is mostly dead.
 
                                    
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
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btw my pines are to the north of the garden...i plan on putting in oaks & alders w/some vines and shrubs as a buffer between them this year.
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