Ask a Question forum: Old pine for Hugelkultur

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Peterman Alabama
TunnelTim
Aug 9, 2017 12:41 PM CST
Hey all. South Alabama here. I recently acquired a ten acre tract that i plan to build a retirement cottage and garden on. There is actually only about 1 acre that is usable due to terrain and some great forest.

Question 1. I have been cutting China Berry down in that area, does anyone know how long to leave the land fallow until the ill effects of the china berry roots are gone? I have kept the logs (some as thick as 16 inches) to use building gates and fences with, but i know the wood (and maybe the leaves ) are not good to have near garden soil. Can those leaves and new growth be composted at all? Currently burning the leaves and fodder.

Question 2.
I also have a lot of dead pine trees in the forest due to pine beetles, while the beetles are gone i need to cut the trees down before they fall on their own. Can I line them up and begin a hugelkultur bed (we are talking it could be an area of like 40 feet x 40 feet) and cover them with soil and compost over the next five years? It is about that time that I am looking to get serious about living on the property. I have the idea in my mind that by that time it could make some great organic soil to grow in. The soil is sandy loam currently.

Thanks for any advice.
Tim

Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Composter Cottage Gardener Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers Zinnias
Salvias Bulbs Amaryllis Lilies Clematis Region: Texas
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Altheabyanothername
Aug 9, 2017 1:42 PM CST
Welcome! TunnelTim! The berries are a poisonous problem with people, dogs and livestock. They persist on the ground and in shallow soil for years after the tree is gone. What I mean is the seed from the berry will be there and animals will eat it.

The roots are suckers and will continue to sprout trees for years. If you do not treat the stumps and drill to get into the root system, it can take 2 to 3 years of complete diligence to kill off the tree suckers. Only then the roots will stop growing. Here in a couple of months you could have a tree sucker as tall as you. I did not treat ours with any stump killer or any round up in the roots. I learned what Chinaberry roots look like. When I dug I would remove.

I think I stopped having problems with the soil around the stump when it started falling apart. That was at 4 to 5 years. My soil is sandy.

I would say go for it with the pine trees especially because you are talking about in the future. Once you get to a certain point you might want to look at cover crops to keep tilling in. My only concern is termites.

It sounds exciting and I hope others chime in with ideas!
May you be blessed with success!
I prefer to walk in the light, I prefer a world where people want to be kind and bless each other, I prefer a God who loves and shares so much that he gave up his only Son for me. I prefer to choose the God of Abraham. Let there be peace and let it begin with me.
[Last edited by Altheabyanothername - Aug 9, 2017 6:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Aug 10, 2017 5:51 AM CST
Oh Tim. : had me going with that fancy h word. I had to look it up. 😃

Yep ! You got to kill those china berry tree roots.

Your hugel____ , things will be all mulched away in 5 years, if you cover trees with dirt.
All the forest bugs, will have there party finished by then.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Peterman Alabama
TunnelTim
Aug 10, 2017 8:13 AM CST
Althea by another name! LOVE THAT. Sharon, I have sucessfully killed off several of the trees by spraying herbicide on the sprout outs while they were low enough to manage, and yep, treating the stumps of others. If only a fruit tree was as persistent. I cut every China Berry I could find the first year as a means to reducing the berry crop. So far i have not had any berries (I can find) . And yep, termites are an issue, but i seem to see a lot of rotting trees on the ground . That's where i came up with the idea. I am confident there will be some somewhere. Maybe tarp covering them with compost and mushroom fungus.....
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Composter Cottage Gardener Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers Zinnias
Salvias Bulbs Amaryllis Lilies Clematis Region: Texas
Image
Altheabyanothername
Aug 10, 2017 9:02 AM CST
Tim- Your plan will be hard work, but at the same time it sounds like so much fun! I always wonder why can't flowers and veggies grow like weeds and insects only attack weeds. Hilarious! There is a Garden Photo Forum, come check us out. I have a thread , My Caffeinated Garden.... on it. Stop by and see me. At the same time we would love it if you took pictures of what your property looks like and what you are doing. Please share those with us and create your own thread in the Garden Photo Forum! I would enjoy seeing your progress and I know others would, too!

I understand the termites. My caution is if there are any buildings or structures to regularly check them, especially if you are not there all the time.

Seven years later, I still unearth Chinaberry seeds, dogs still have a tendency to want those. I had a dog seizure from getting a fresh berry. I never let them anywhere near the trees. The wind or squirrels or something would scatter them pretty far away. That's when the last tree went.

Thank You! Not many understand my name at least not right away! Thumbs up

May you be blessed with a fantastic finished property and continued success!
I prefer to walk in the light, I prefer a world where people want to be kind and bless each other, I prefer a God who loves and shares so much that he gave up his only Son for me. I prefer to choose the God of Abraham. Let there be peace and let it begin with me.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 10, 2017 1:08 PM CST
Tunnel - did you post anything over in the Permaculture forum? Might get some ideas there. Or you could post a question over at permies.com.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb

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