What to do with excess wood?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Tim R, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. Tim R

    Tim R Junior Member

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    I have a typical suburban back yard and I try to reuse everything: leaves for the chicken coop, excess grass goes to rabbits and I save as much water as possible.

    I have a problem with excess wood from branches and a hedge that produces about 4 sqr meters of branches a year.

    I'm looking at suggestions on how I can use this resource other than bundling it up and sending it away during council cleanup.

    I currently have a pile about 2 meters squared just sitting there rotting.
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    There are number of hugelkultur devotees around here - search on that term and see what you can find. If it is green freshly cut then you can hire a chipper and turn it into mulch. Otherwise a slow compost pile is quite ok (which is a nice way of saying leaving it to rot...)
     
  3. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Hi Tim.

    What sort of dimensions are you talking about? Are they to thick to chop up and use as mulch? I've been known to just attack green branches with a shovel until they are small enough to compost or what ever. I have also been known to mow over them repeatedly until nice an small (lawn mowers can double as a mulching machine as long at the bits aren't too thick. You could chop up some of the bigger bits and use them for an outdoor fire or better still make yourself an earth oven and use them to fire the oven.

    Good long straight bits can make garden stakes. Anything from a tree with decent timber can be dried and cut up as nice natural 'blocks' for kids to play with (in the style of Steiner toys).

    For me anything from a tree is like gold. If I lived next door I'd come and take it all away for you ;)
     
  4. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    I had a plan of making garden stakes with decent, straight sticks until I pulled hundreds of bamboo stakes from a bin so now I lay them about anywhere, usually under trees.

    If it's rotting in a pile, there is now reason why it can't rot spread out all over the place, buried into trenches ( a type of hugel even though hugel means hill) or even burnt for a nice spot of roasting marshmallows.

    If you ever cut a dead tree, or remove logs from an area, they become home to about a million different types of insects. Something to keep in mind when you have logs about the place, they are habitat.
     
  5. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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  6. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    hugelkultur if you are staring new vege gardens, prune and drop and mulch over, or do all pruning in say one weekend and hire a shredder and lay the shreddings under the mulch, let teh pile rot then use it.

    len

    https://www.lensgarden.com.au/straw_bale_garden.htm
     
  7. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    Mulch mulch mulch.

    I love having sticks all over the place. Sometimes I bury the sticks under my other mulch. Sometimes I'll drive a stick into the ground to act as a very slow compost plug. Since they hold water so well, keeping them away from the sun can create a little water pocket. Millions of uses for the wood!

    I'm with Grahame- if I were your neighbor I'd take it from you :D I've been known to drag entire trees from neighbors after a storm. My main goal was to get it onto our property and out of sight. What to use it for later was always an after thought!
     
  8. Tim R

    Tim R Junior Member

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    Thanks all for your suggestions.

    To give you some more info. Our block is only 700m2 and I have to do my food production in my front yard. There are 3 huge trees in my backyard and it is also feeding ground for my chickens and rabbits who ro around during the day.

    That leaves me a space of about 5m x 15m in the front yard. Not a lot of space, but enough to provide a regular supply of veg. for a family of 4. I grow a lot of root veg. like radish, carrots, potatoes and a large variety of leafy greens.

    If I were to bury the branches within the beds I expect that would affect the growth of the root veg?

    I also came across another post here that talked about growing shiitake. Some of the branches I have are large enough to be useful for this purpose.

    This current batch of 2m cubed that I collected last time I pruned and from the regular winter drop of old tree branches. I have been slowly smashing with a block splitter to get it to break down faster. But I was hoping to find some interesting ideas other than my plan to just let them rot.

    Thanks for the suggestions so far!
     
  9. andrew_k

    andrew_k Junior Member

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    biochar! whip together a mini biochar kiln with a 20L and 10L paint tin. Load up the char with nitrogen (urine! :p) and spread it about your block. I did this for a few years on 2000sqm of clay, bloody brilliant outcome.
     
  10. cottager

    cottager Junior Member

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    What sort of trees, Tim?

    It could make a difference to the suggestions.

    Biochar, composting, growing mushrooms (check out inocculation plugs for various tree growing edible fungi), chipping for pathways around your growing area ...

    A lot of the idea's may depend on the sort of wood (like, pine compost is brilliant for strawberries and blueberries, but would probably upset other plants quite a bit), oak is brilliant for fungi ... that sort of thing.
     
  11. deee

    deee Junior Member

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    Some other ideas:
    Build a fence with it. We have a lovely fence that keeps the chooks from rampaging in the bulk of the garden that my husband built from melaleuca branches and scavenged fencing wire.
    Make a rocket stove and use the wood for cooking.
    Make an outdoor oven and use the wood for fuel.
    Lay it down as rough mulch under trees.
    Lay big bits on the ground in the chook yard and turn then regularly so that the chooks can eat the insects that gather under them.
    Edge garden beds with it.
    Swap it with someone else for something you need - if you have a permaculture group near you, they'll probably have a swap facility. I know Permaculture Sydney West at Toongabbie does.
    D
     
  12. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Save a bucketful of wood ash. It has saved my life when it comes to protecting plants from flea beetles and some other little beetle gangs that like to eat the veggies. :)
     

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