Win a copy of Your Edible Yard this week in the Gardening for Beginners forum!
  • 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 private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • James Freyr
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Mike Haasl
  • Joylynn Hardesty
master gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • thomas rubino
  • Jay Angler
  • Tereza Okava

Do fire ant hills make ideal tree planting spots?

 
pollinator
Posts: 2288
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
314
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is the question my husband posed as we were surveying our sainfoin field. We have many, many fire ant hills. Walmart also has contender peach trees for $13. I happen to know contender peaches grow well here, I already have several doing well in the swales and kraters.

So, the experiment has begun. I picked an ant hill close to a water source simply so we didn't have to wait for rain to kill the ants.

I am killing the ants with cheap coffee ala the suggestion I received in a different thread from Bryant Redhawk.

So I am impatient, it's a downfall. I dug the hole, planted the tree, spread the coffee around and set the water.

A smarter person probably would have tried to kill the ants with the coffee first.

I'm interested to see what the coffee does to my tree.
IMG_5687.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5687.JPG]
IMG_5685.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5685.JPG]
morbid children watching the ants die.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2288
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
314
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I know the ants kill everything around the hill because they dig up all the roots. In this way I figure they absolutely have to die. Would provide really great aerated soil though.

I am guessing an ant hill would be pretty nutrition filled.

Downside, tree planting at the whim of ants.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2288
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
314
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do have several other $13 walmart trees I can use as the control group.
 
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
255
forest garden urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
https://permies.com/t/13415/critters/fireants-pants

Here is an older thread about the same concept. I need to remember this next winter.  There's still a couple trees needed in my backyard.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4665
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
462
hugelkultur forest garden fungi books bee greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looking forward to seeing how this experiment turns out elle! Keep us up to date.
 
gardener
Posts: 6644
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1294
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The initial experiment we did with cheap, fresh coffee grounds was on three fire ant hills, the hills were covered as well as a 3 foot circle distance.
Results were: after one watering, some ants were still present but the numbers were significantly reduced, determined by how many responded to a nest disturbance.
At the end of one week (with three rain events in four days) no ants were found to emerge from a nest disturbance, The nest was then dug up and no ants were found alive in the nest or immediate area.
The experiment was repeated on three more hills, the grounds were watered once a day for three days, at the end of the week, there were no ants alive in any of these mounds, thus proving the method was valid for removal of fire ants.

The soil nitrogen levels went up 20 percent, the P levels went up 1.5 %, the soil had earth worms come into these areas where as before there were none within 2m of a mound.

Elle, I would recommend using the coffee grounds prior to planting, not only to prevent being swarmed by fire ants but also to allow the acids found in coffee to become used up in chemical reactions with the minerals in the soil.
By doing this, there should be more mineral compounds for the microorganisms to access and break down, plus if you add fungi, they will survive at a higher rate and that means more fungi around your tree roots.

Nutrition in an ant hill would be dependent upon their food sources (fire ants eat mostly other insects) and how much resources were left behind.

Since earth worms will come to gobble up the bacteria and other organisms coffee grounds bring to the party, there will be castings made available to the tree roots.

Redhawk
 
What are you doing? You are supposed to be reading this tiny ad!
Devious Experiments for a Truly Passive Greenhouse!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulwheaton/greenhouse-1
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic