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What to do with a big pile of dead peach trees?

 
                              
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What to do with a big pile of dead peach trees?

In Israel, about ten miles from the coast, we are in the beginning stages of designing a Food Forest.  One of our first issues; There was a peach orchard on the property that was given up on and left without irrigation, to die. At some point the trees, stressed, attracted some kind of insect which made all these holes in the wood. The trees were uprooted and are now in two really big piles (1000 trees in all).  We want to utilize this organic material to it’s maximum potential.

Some ideas:

1. Use the wood to fill up swales
2. Make Hugelkultur beds.
3. Leave the pile where it is and attempt to inoculate the wood with different fungi. ( oyster, garden giant, …?)
4. Burn the wood and incorporate the ash into the soil. (We might do this if we find out that using the bug eaten wood would not be good. The bugs seem to be gone, just the holes left in their wake. What do you think?)

Any and all opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Daniel Kra
daniel.kra@gmail.com
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Jordan Lowery
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sell the wood to people who smoke foods. peach wood gives good flavor.
 
Brenda Groth
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burn them for heat or cooking but don't transport them anywhere, if they have borers or disease you would just be spreading it

people transported firewood in our state and trasported emerald ash borere to OUR trees and now our ash trees and some others (catalpa and maple) are showing signs of dying
 
Jack Shawburn
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Make Biochar.
..then soak with good compost tea with Mycorizal fungi added before
grinding and adding to the soil.
Vermicompost added to the soak can be good too.
 
                      
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Location: Burbank , Washington (south central)
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I would Hugelculture it.  Burning would kill the bugs (if any) but would release most of the nutrients to the atmosphere.  It appears to be to old to grow mushrooms on, it probably as many fungus spore already.  So... options 1 or 2.

Dave Wise, DaBearded1
 
 
Ken Peavey
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Looks like the work of Ips Beetles.  With the trees dead and dried, the moisture which would support a population is gone, along with the beetles.  Still, there would be a beetle population in the area.  Growing another monocrop of fruit trees would offer a bountiful habitat for the critters to come back.

Look at the slash piles as a resource.  There are all sorts of uses for the stuff.
-hugelkulture
-raised bed sides
-stick furniture
-natural fencing
-arbor and trellis building material
-compost, albeit slow
-grow mushrooms
-fuel, as a last resort, and only then if the piles absolutely must go


 
Lee Einer
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hubert cumberdale wrote:
sell the wood to people who smoke foods. peach wood gives good flavor.


I'm with you. Fruitwoods like peach, apple, pear make great woods for smoking.

 
Lee Einer
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Jen0454 wrote:
Make Biochar.
..then soak with good compost tea with Mycorizal fungi added before
grinding and adding to the soil.
Vermicompost added to the soak can be good too.


Great idea.

In fact, they could use the peach wood for gasification, and still have the biochar as a byproduct which could then be used as you describe.
 
R Hasting
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Considering how dry your area is, I think that the hugelkulture beds are your best bang for the buck with this dry wood.
Any other solution you might have still requires that you do something to retain water, so you will be making hugle beds anyway. You could combine hugel with swaling as well and get double prizes for your effort. Stacking functions is a good thing...
 
Jack Shawburn
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Hugels do not do well in dry areas.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Jen0454 wrote:
Hugels do not do well in dry areas.


So far my garden with "hugel pits" is doing great.  Hubert Cumberdale also uses hugel pits in a dry area with great success.
 
gary gregory
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Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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You don't say if it was an organic orchard.    Fruit trees can store a lot of pesticides from being sprayed for many years.    Check out their history.
 
Jack Shawburn
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Jack Shawburn
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Ludi - Thats great news ! (dont always believe everything you read online...)
I'm in a dry area too and have set one up. (20inches of rain / year average)
Whats your rainfall per year?
It has not been used yet as we are in winter now.
I've been thinking of biochar as an addition to the wood.
 
John Polk
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Nice YouTube link Jen.  Thanks
 
Tyler Ludens
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We're supposed to get about 28 inches average annual rainfall here but we're in a severe drought, so maybe we've had 10 inches or so.  I'm irrigating the garden but the hugel areas are doing much better.

 
Jack Shawburn
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Ludi - thats good to hear.
Some folks are combining their hugels with swales.
I'm thinking of doing the same or deep watering when plants indicate it's needed.
the Zone2 Hugel I made is for berries and vines - its winter now and will be planted in spring.
in zone3 I'll do some near overstory trees with some perrennial veg and virtually no additional watering, just a swale feeding it.

My thoughts are that a Hugel in a dry area needs to be more "In the ground" rather than raised - Placing the wood in a pit and not a pile.
Did you make your high or low?
 
Dave Bennett
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Here is a better method of making Biochar than the previous film.  It is very important to literally "bake" the Biomass in the absence of oxygen.  This method will provide a much higher yield of Biochar.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXMUmby8PpU&feature=related
Here is the same method using less expensive materials for making the retort.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaixJyg5D0c
 
Tyler Ludens
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Jen0454 wrote:

My thoughts are that a Hugel in a dry area needs to be more "In the ground" rather than raised - Placing the wood in a pit and not a pile.
Did you make your high or low?


I dug out the soil and rocks down about 18 inches to 2 feet and replaced the rocks with logs, bringing the top of the beds to about the normal ground level or slightly above (the pits sink down quite a bit over time).  When I continue with the rest of the garden I will be sure to water the "hugel pits" during construction, because it took a lot of top irrigating to moisten them completely.

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