[permaculture] wood in drylands

Paul A Cross charybda at newmex.com
Tue Mar 25 21:38:27 EST 2003

one of our local aphorisms is that experience learned elsewhere doesn't apply here.

well here's my experience with laying wood flat on the ground on my land: it just sits there without decaying much. I have poplars that were dead standing at least 3 years before I cut them down about 6 or 7 years ago. Nothing larger than 3"(8cm)  in diameter. I laid them flat, limbing them as Rick suggested. They are still there. I've also got dead aspen of smae size that I cut in 1996 and laid flat in an area that gets some supplemental irrigation. Just tripped over it last week! Sure, fully buried wood rots here. Burying is hard work. 

I line the walkways between my raised kitchen garden beds with corrugated cardboard to keep the weeds down. I just walk on top of the cardboard; there's no wood chips to make it look pretty. A single layer of cardboard on the ground lasts more than one season.

I would love to get good at reducing branches and small diameter wood into useful material. There's a dozen tree trimmers who would love to haul me loads on a daily basis this time of year thru fall. Right now it all goes to the landfill. Short of chipping it and spreading as mulch, we use it for animal habitat. I've got enough rabbits, could use more snakes other than rattlers.

12" annual precip
USDA zone 5
90 days frost free
7400 feet elevation

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