Vegetables and Fruit forum→Tree-trimmer, ROW Clearing wood chips for mulching????

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Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
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Intheswamp
Jun 10, 2020 7:17 PM CST
Ok. So what's *one* more thread in the forum, eh? Whistling

I battle a hot sun and lots of weeds in my garden each year. Just can't keep up with them, it seems. And, I ain't getting any younger (regardless of what I tell my beautiful bride!). But mulching has been an issue for me.

I've had problems finding good mulching material. Leaves are great, but ya gotta get them when there available and either store them or put them on the garden....and I usually till them in for the organic matter. About the only other thing around here in abundance is pine straw and debris from logging operations which can be labor intensive. I'd love to have some wheat (I think) but it is a foreign thing around here usually, though on rare occasions I've see it...been a few years, though.

The other stuff that you can find all along is shredded and chipped material from ROW crews clearing brush and limbs from the ROW (Right-of-way) of highways and electricity power lines. I've thought about this many times being as there are usually some crews in the area at one time or another through the year. My concern with this has been the possibility of getting material that is tainted with pesticides. With the way things go for me I'd probably end up putting a truck load of paraquat or something on my garden. D'Oh! So, I've never really pursued that idea.

BUT (there's always a "but" somewhere, eh?....no comments on that, please Hilarious! ).... But, today I stumbled upon a pile of wood cihps....ROW debris. I had went to check on a field road as I thought I heard a motor running down there and I've had a slight problem with younguns deciding it was a good road to tear up when it was wet. Grumbling Well, someone had been in there prior to that last rain but I think it was the got working the hay fields...but nobody today. As I was turning around I spotted something at the edge of the ROW. Nah, couldn't be... Rolling my eyes.

But, it was. A big pile of wood chips on the edge of our property. Blinking Naturally the rusty wheels in my brain start working. There's enough there that with a lot of work would cover all the paths in my garden and the perimeter.
(Weren't some of us just talking about big piles of stuff and moving it with a wheelbarrow? Hilarious! )

And, of course, it's 135F in the shade now with 125% humidity...perfect weather for shoveling trailer after trailer loads of this stuff!!!!! D'Oh! I got keep in mind how to eat an elephant. Thumbs up

BUT....(there's another one!) But, in the back of my mind I'm thinking about the spraying that they do along the right-of-ways. Smelling of the chips it smelled mostly of pine...which makes sense. There were several dead pines on our property line at the ROW that they cut down and removed....I figured they thought it was only fitting to dump the chips where they did. So, I doubt the chips were sprayed while standing. The other possible problem could be from the big tank truck that menacingly drives up and down the highway slowly spraying a band of pesticide probably 15' wide beside the highway. Unless they *really* pumped it out there this pile of chips *should* be out of range of the tanker-spray-truck.

Should I go for it, do you think? The operation that does this is primarily rigged up for larger trees so I think it's mostly chips, though there could be some shredded stuff at the bottom. I did see a little larger stuff on the far size but for some reason didn't check it out good. I'll go back and look closer tomorrow.

Now, if I do decide to put the labor into retrieving this pile I'm thinking of, as I said earlier, lining my paths and basically going to a semi no-till garden...leaving the paths basically intact from season to season and only working the wide rows. As the mulch decomposes I'll drag some onto the rows and (hopefully) replenish the paths with some fresh chips. It's all a grande plan, but before I do it...should I? Shrug!

Below are a few shots of the pile of chips. My old cap is laying on top of the pile and that knife is four inches long.

So, what do ya'll think?

Thanks for *any* feedback, I need it!!!!
Ed
Thumb of 2020-06-11/Intheswamp/b44bc8
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The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
Jun 10, 2020 11:15 PM CST
I say do it.
Maybe starting with the part of your garden you're least concerned with damaging Blinking
I wouldn't worry about possible pesticides- you still have plenty of bugs around right?
And if they wre spraying a lot of herbicide, where would they get all that to be chipped? RIddle me that! Sticking tongue out

We also stumbled upon a pile like that, took the pickup and snuck a couple loads to the yard and it worked well to mulch the paths for a couple years- then the dang chickens scratched it all up, it was rotting mostly by then anyway.. I could almost 'harvest' my paths of fertilized decomped wood chip, and get a new load of mulch for the paths.
When we had a tree taken down and ground the stump, we mulched a new area with chips and made a new veg garden in better sun, it was great.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
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Intheswamp
Jun 11, 2020 5:06 AM CST
I'm leaning towards getting it...at least the mind is willing, not sure about the body. Blinking

When I mentioned pesticide that takes herbicides and insecticides in to account, they both fall under the "pesticide" umbrella. I don't think that there has been any insecticides sprayed on the trees prior to being felled so that's not an issue. Herbicides could have been sprayed on the lower portion of the trunks as they drive slowly by spraying the bushes and wildflowers Thumbs down on the ROW. I would think that was minimal. Besides these were dead trees and there's a good chance the bark had fallen off when they were cut down and chipped. The really only thing I can see to be suspicious of is that tanker truck riding slowly by spraying the ROW...but I really don't think the spray would reach this pile.

I definitely would love to get this pile spread into the paths of the garden and maybe work towards a semi- "Back to Eden" style garden. I'm looking at options on moving these chips into the garden. I sure wish I had found them during the winter...would've been much easier (and cooler! nodding ) getting the chips where they need to go...now it'll entail working around a lot of plants. Confused Ah well, you snooze ...you lose. Thumbs up
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
Jun 11, 2020 5:17 AM CST
glad you said that was your cap, before I drove down and snatched that 'nice cap somebody left' Smiling
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
Image
Intheswamp
Jun 11, 2020 5:38 AM CST
Truth be known that is actually my gardening buddy buried under there. I wanted him in the picture for perspective but he didn't want his face showing (he's shy like that) so I said, "Sure, no problem. I've got a fix for that!!!". nodding
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
Jun 11, 2020 8:04 AM CST
Ed Hilarious!
Can you get a pickup to that, wheelbarrowing from that looks insane
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
Image
Intheswamp
Jun 11, 2020 8:53 AM CST
Yes, I can get right up to the piles. I'll probably use my 5x10 utility trailer to haul it on. My only other option is an older S-10 pickup with toolbox on it...the trailer is lower to the ground and can hold more.

This is wild. I heard something a little earlier and you'll never guess what is going on. Power line ROW crew cutting trees limbs!<groan> They've been at it across the road for over an hour. Two boom trucks on either side of the road.
They're grinding away on both sides. No tellin' what it'll look like when they're through. Sad

Here's a couple of shots in my yard...the fun part about the yard is that those flotation tires still sink their cleats into the ground leaving big "ripples". Now, when we mow grass, it will be a very rough ride where the boom has driven.

I know, I know...we gotta have electricity and gotta keep the lines clear. Doesn't mean I've gotta like the butchering job. Rolling my eyes.

They were about gone before I thought of getting a shot of them...
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So, there'll probably be some fresh woodchips available. I might get'em just to drop a load here rather than hauling the existing pile. Then I could draw off the original pile later as I needed to.

The bad thing is that I've got other non-gardening irons-in-the-fire that look like will be taking up a good bit of my time for a while. Ah well, 'tis life.

The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jun 11, 2020 10:22 AM CST
When the power company had tree trimmers out my way Last summer, I begged them to bring me chips.

I told them to bring them and not to stop.

They brought 8 loads and stopped.

Well, 8 dumploads is a start...

I used most of the chips as mulch on the veggies last year... using the small amount left this year... when I run out, I'ma going to be begging and pleading again...

Due to covid, I haven't been able to get to the stable for horse poop... So... am experimenting with using a lot less organic material... and.... the garden is certainly reflecting the shortage!

Personally... I wouldn't be worrying about poison, that stuff ain't cheap... they ain't gonna use it on trees and brush and then mulch it!

They use that nasty brush killer to avoid cutting anything!

Grab up all that good mulch as quick as you can... Maybe try my gardening technique... go out when it is barely light enough to see... and work for a few hours... and then go back out in the afternoon after the temps have dropped.

No need to kill ourselves on our own projects.
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
Image
Intheswamp
Jun 11, 2020 10:42 AM CST
Thanks again for the feedback, Stone. Good info. I might just hit'em up. I mentioned the idea of getting some chips dumped close to the garden to the guy operating the cutter and he seemed interested. They'll be on this stretch of road for a while so I'll hit them back up...get with the guys riding around in the pickup truck, they're the shot-callers, I think.
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
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SoCalGardenNut
Jun 11, 2020 3:00 PM CST
Google for Back to Eden youtube by Paul Gautchi part 3, he uses a lot of wood chips.
2022 wishlist: Pastelorama, Pastelegance, and Blonde Vision.
[Last edited by SoCalGardenNut - Jun 11, 2020 5:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Birds Beekeeper Bee Lover Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Garden Procrastinator Zinnias Vegetable Grower Seed Starter
Image
Intheswamp
Jun 11, 2020 4:48 PM CST
Yes. I watched that a couple of years ago and have already revisited it again today....website, but not the movie. That might be what I do tonight...watch the movie again. My thoughts are to use the chips primarily in the paths, pulling some chips over the top edges of the wide rows to give them a bit of insulation. I think that if I can shade the paths between the rows that that will help tremendously with the weeds and grass. Plus, it'll help with water evaporation. I'd love to eventually work it in to a totally no-till setup. Gotta start somewhere!!!

And on a really good note...
I texted the guy that cuts the hay and asked him if he ever comes over here with a frontend loader on a tractor. Honestly I know he does...counter balance for moving hay rolls. Smiling But, I wanted to see how he felt about it. He asked me what I wanted and I told him I had the pile of chips I wanted moved to my garden. He told me no problem that he'd get it this week for me. Thumbs up Now that's a good young fella right there!!! nodding nodding nodding

Probably didn't want me croaking from shoveling the chips and end up stinking up the place. Hilarious!
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
Jun 11, 2020 5:32 PM CST
Good guy.
My husband would love a chance/excuse to run a Bobcat. The guy probably likes playing like he's in a giant sandbox.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)

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