Thursday, June 16, 2016

Permaculture tales: Trees too big for backyards.

Our little sanctuary on the hill has been rented by us for almost 20 years..  in that time we have planted a LOT of different plants, including a LOT of different trees. Most were Acacias, so they came and went fairly easily, mulched or turned into firewood.

Then there were the two large, deciduous trees we planted early on when we moved in. Paulownia and Gleditsia are both excellent trees with many uses. Beautiful shade and flowers and the leaves drop, letting in winter sun and feeding the soil, but wow, did they get big quick!

After a few years of way too much shade and the trees stealing all the water from our vegetable patch came the realisation that they had to go.  We knew there would be issues with suckering so had that to look forward to for at least a year before it stops trying to fill the entire garden with itself. The Paulownia can also sucker but seemed less likely to cause problems.

We invited a friend to come and cut them down for us. He had some chainsaws he had found at the swap meet and fixed so was keen to test them.

Once we had the stump of the honey locust (Gleditsia) we decided to try a tactic someone had suggested for killing off a suckering tree.

The idea is to cover the stump with charcoal and let it burn as far down as you can. Normally more likely done with dry stumps but we wantted to mess it up as much as we could without using herbicide (that comes later).

Fresh Gleditsia stump
Cutting a grid to leat heat in.
The grid
BBQ coals
These things burnt for hours.
Next morning after fire.
Still lots there. Not sure if it really did much.

Then there were the suckers that came up everywhere. Some we chopped, easy ones we pulled. Difficult or thick ones I cut and dabbed with glyphosate, using it for it's best use, precision application. 
Not all over crops.

Suckering suckerers
Little suckers.

About a year later.

Fungi on the stump.
Not looking too happy.

There are now three different kinds of fungus growing on the stump, starting to decompose it.

Now we wait and see what it does next spring and summer, see if they pop up anywhere unexpected.

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