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Wood chips as mulch

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  • david.keltie@gmail.com
    An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply lines locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings available. Shreddings
    Message 1 of 17 , Feb 25 5:56 AM
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      An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply lines
      locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
      available.

      Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x Cupressocyparis
      leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a mulch
      in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder about
      them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)

      Thanks, David
    • Raju Titus
      Dear friend, This will create new problem in garden. Bringing any organic matter from out side and sending out is against NF principles. Thanks Raju ...
      Message 2 of 17 , Feb 25 7:28 AM
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        Dear friend,
        This will create new problem in garden. Bringing any organic matter from out
        side and sending out is against NF principles.
        Thanks
        Raju


        On 2/25/09, david.keltie@... <david.keltie@...> wrote:
        >
        > An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply lines
        > locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
        > available.
        >
        > Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x Cupressocyparis
        > leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a mulch
        > in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder about
        > them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)
        >
        > Thanks, David
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • david.keltie@gmail.com
        Appreciate this comment Raju. But the trees were adjacent to our property and would just have had to be transported to the land waste site. Seemed sensible to
        Message 3 of 17 , Feb 25 8:21 AM
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          Appreciate this comment Raju. But the trees were adjacent to our
          property and would just have had to be transported to the land waste
          site. Seemed sensible to use them next to where they came from....

          On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 3:28 PM, Raju Titus <rajuktitus@...> wrote:
          > Dear friend,
          > This will create new problem in garden. Bringing any organic matter from out
          > side and sending out is against NF principles.
          > Thanks
          > Raju
          >
          >
          > On 2/25/09, david.keltie@... <david.keltie@...> wrote:
          >>
          >>   An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply lines
          >> locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
          >> available.
          >>
          >> Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x Cupressocyparis
          >> leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a mulch
          >> in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder about
          >> them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)
          >>
          >> Thanks, David
          >>
          >>
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Lawrence Haftl
          David, I can t remember exactly why using wood chips for mulch are problematical but I think it has something to do with absorbing nutrients in the soil to
          Message 4 of 17 , Feb 25 8:38 AM
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            David,

            I can't remember exactly why using wood chips for mulch are problematical but I think it has something to do with absorbing nutrients in the soil to break down/decompose the chips. Fukuoka used wood chips, branches, tree trunks by burying them in his orchard to provide long-term organic matter for the orange trees he planted.

            Larry
            http://fukuokafarmingol.info

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: david.keltie@...
            To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:56 AM
            Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Wood chips as mulch


            An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply lines
            locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
            available.

            Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x Cupressocyparis
            leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a mulch
            in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder about
            them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)

            Thanks, David


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • david.keltie@gmail.com
            Mmmmm - perhaps I ll bury them. Trouble is most of the garden was previously a car park, tarmaced with 6ins hardcore underneath (mostly now removed to repair
            Message 5 of 17 , Feb 25 8:49 AM
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              Mmmmm - perhaps I'll bury them. Trouble is most of the garden was
              previously a car park, tarmaced with 6ins hardcore underneath (mostly
              now removed to repair an adjoining farm track).

              On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 4:38 PM, Lawrence Haftl <lawrence@...> wrote:
              > David,
              >
              > I can't remember exactly why using wood chips for mulch are problematical but I think it has something to do with absorbing nutrients in the soil to break down/decompose the chips. Fukuoka used wood chips, branches, tree trunks by burying them in his orchard to provide long-term organic matter for the orange trees he planted.
              >
              > Larry
              > http://fukuokafarmingol.info
              >
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: david.keltie@...
              > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:56 AM
              > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Wood chips as mulch
              >
              >
              > An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply lines
              > locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
              > available.
              >
              > Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x Cupressocyparis
              > leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a mulch
              > in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder about
              > them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)
              >
              > Thanks, David
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • jhereg9333
              If I recall correctly, woody material has such a high carbon content that it ties up nitrogen unless broken down by fungi. As already mentioned, you can bury
              Message 6 of 17 , Feb 25 9:34 AM
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                If I recall correctly, woody material has such a high carbon content
                that it ties up nitrogen unless broken down by fungi. As already
                mentioned, you can bury the material to help it decompose. You could
                also spread the chips out and innoculate with fungi spores. You may
                want to try Stropharia rugoso-annulata or Pleurotus species.

                Jeremy

                --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Lawrence Haftl"
                <lawrence@...> wrote:
                >
                > David,
                >
                > I can't remember exactly why using wood chips for mulch are
                problematical but I think it has something to do with absorbing
                nutrients in the soil to break down/decompose the chips. Fukuoka used
                wood chips, branches, tree trunks by burying them in his orchard to
                provide long-term organic matter for the orange trees he planted.
                >
                > Larry
                > http://fukuokafarmingol.info
                >
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: david.keltie@...
                > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                > Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:56 AM
                > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Wood chips as mulch
                >
                >
                > An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply
                lines
                > locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
                > available.
                >
                > Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x Cupressocyparis
                > leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a
                mulch
                > in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder about
                > them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)
                >
                > Thanks, David
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • grannis04
                --David and all, There is a good overview of using chipped wood for fertility in the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association newspaper. Go to
                Message 7 of 17 , Feb 25 9:56 AM
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                  --David and all,
                  There is a good overview of using chipped wood for
                  fertility in the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
                  newspaper. Go to http://www.
                  mofga.org/Publications/MaineOrganicFarmerGardener/Spring 2007/
                  Redefining Soil Fertility
                  Hope this helps and there are other great articles in mofga's
                  archives. This is the oldest organic association in the States.

                  I have used hardwood chips from processing firewood. Ive
                  grown crops for two years on a wood chip mulched bed as an experiment.
                  Original soil was never tilled. Mulch was 2 inches of chips then
                  lightly covered with chicken litter. Gourds the first year, cucumbers
                  the second year. Very successful.

                  The Forest is for-rest, Steve G.






















                  In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, david.keltie@... wrote:
                  >
                  > An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply lines
                  > locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
                  > available.
                  >
                  > Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x Cupressocyparis
                  > leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a mulch
                  > in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder about
                  > them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)
                  >
                  > Thanks, David
                  >
                • yarrow@sfo.com
                  Google ramial wood chips for info on the benefits of using smaller-diameter branches mixed with leaves (as opposed to chipped tree trunks). Hall and
                  Message 8 of 17 , Feb 25 10:38 AM
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                    Google "ramial wood chips" for info on the benefits of using
                    smaller-diameter branches mixed with leaves (as opposed to chipped
                    tree trunks).

                    Hall and Tolhurst, in Growing Green, recommend using a layer of
                    ramial wood chips in contact with soil, where they will quickly break
                    down and add to soil fertility.
                  • Chandrakant Deokar
                    Dear Jeremy, I think woody material contains high amount of cellulose. It decomposes very slowly and after decomposition that releases toxic acids that can be
                    Message 9 of 17 , Feb 25 7:23 PM
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                      Dear Jeremy,

                      I think woody material contains high amount of cellulose. It decomposes very
                      slowly and after decomposition that releases toxic acids that can be
                      problematic to the plants.. I dont know the specific names of these acids.
                      but hope this will give some directions to your thoughts

                      Chandrakant Deokar
                      Pune India

                      On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 11:04 PM, jhereg9333 <jhereg9333@...> wrote:

                      > If I recall correctly, woody material has such a high carbon content
                      > that it ties up nitrogen unless broken down by fungi. As already
                      > mentioned, you can bury the material to help it decompose. You could
                      > also spread the chips out and innoculate with fungi spores. You may
                      > want to try Stropharia rugoso-annulata or Pleurotus species.
                      >
                      > Jeremy
                      >
                      > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>,
                      > "Lawrence Haftl"
                      > <lawrence@...> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > David,
                      > >
                      > > I can't remember exactly why using wood chips for mulch are
                      > problematical but I think it has something to do with absorbing
                      > nutrients in the soil to break down/decompose the chips. Fukuoka used
                      > wood chips, branches, tree trunks by burying them in his orchard to
                      > provide long-term organic matter for the orange trees he planted.
                      > >
                      > > Larry
                      > > http://fukuokafarmingol.info
                      > >
                      > > ----- Original Message -----
                      > > From: david.keltie@...
                      > > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                      > > Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:56 AM
                      > > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Wood chips as mulch
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply
                      > lines
                      > > locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
                      > > available.
                      > >
                      > > Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x Cupressocyparis
                      > > leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a
                      > mulch
                      > > in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder about
                      > > them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)
                      > >
                      > > Thanks, David
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      >


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • david.keltie@gmail.com
                      Steve G (and yarrow) Thanks for the the info on ramial wood chips . Very useful indeed. Examining the piles of shreddings I have reveal a white fungus is
                      Message 10 of 17 , Feb 26 1:44 AM
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                        Steve G (and yarrow)

                        Thanks for the the info on 'ramial wood chips'. Very useful indeed.
                        Examining the piles of shreddings I have reveal a white fungus is
                        already present in the deciduous pile. The conifer piles are heating
                        up and blackening with no evidence of fungi.

                        I think I'll leave the latter for now and try using the deciduous pile
                        on some beds and for mulching fruit bushes and see how it goes. We're
                        surrounded by trees and anyway get a lot of leaf and small branch drop
                        so this route seems better than importing straw at this remedial stage
                        of garden development.

                        Once there's natural soil rather than rock and crush, I can better
                        practice natural gardening! I think developing ways of growing on
                        industrial waste sites might be important in the future.

                        Thanks again especially as I found other useful info on the
                        http://www.mofga.org/ site.

                        David

                        On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 5:56 PM, grannis04 <grannis04@...> wrote:
                        > --David and all,
                        >                 There is a good overview of using chipped wood for
                        > fertility in the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
                        > newspaper.  Go to http://www.
                        > mofga.org/Publications/MaineOrganicFarmerGardener/Spring 2007/
                        > Redefining Soil Fertility
                        >        Hope this helps and there are other great articles in mofga's
                        > archives.  This is the oldest organic association in the States.
                        >
                        >         I have used hardwood chips from processing firewood. Ive
                        > grown crops for two years on a wood chip mulched bed as an experiment.
                        > Original soil was never tilled. Mulch was 2 inches of chips then
                        > lightly covered with chicken litter. Gourds the first year, cucumbers
                        > the second year. Very successful.
                        >
                        >                               The Forest is for-rest, Steve G.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, david.keltie@... wrote:
                        >>
                        >> An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply lines
                        >> locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
                        >> available.
                        >>
                        >> Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x Cupressocyparis
                        >> leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a mulch
                        >> in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder about
                        >> them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)
                        >>
                        >> Thanks, David
                        >>
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > ------------------------------------
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • Steven McCollough
                        ... Raju, I disagree with this statement. While it is better to have good organic material in place to begin with, to improve bad soils by importing organic
                        Message 11 of 17 , Feb 26 6:49 AM
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                          Raju Titus wrote:
                          >
                          > Dear friend,
                          > This will create new problem in garden. Bringing any organic matter
                          > from out
                          > side and sending out is against NF principles.
                          > Thanks
                          > Raju
                          >






                          Raju,

                          I disagree with this statement. While it is better to have good organic
                          material in place to begin with, to improve
                          bad soils by importing organic material does not go against NF
                          principles. To say bringing any organic matter from outside is wrong is
                          unfounded,
                          please tell me why you might say this and in support of what
                          philosophy. This is certainly not Fukuoka's thinking.

                          I think if you live somewhere with all the land in cultivation it would
                          make no sense to import organic material since
                          that would be taking organic material away from somewhere that needed
                          it. Most places in the world have an abundance
                          of unused natural growth that can help cure the ills suffered by the
                          land under cultivation with no loss to its natural state.

                          In addition, it is almost a duty to identify, in the wasteful stream of
                          human activities, all material that might be recycled into the land.

                          Respectfully,
                          Steven McCollough
                          >
                          >
                        • mcavincheyfrank
                          Dear sirs, It would seem to me that the fact that many forests have super fertile top soils that are many feet deep could possibly be that multitudes of
                          Message 12 of 17 , Feb 27 8:05 PM
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                            Dear sirs,

                            It would seem to me that the fact that many forests have super fertile
                            top soils that are many feet deep could possibly be that multitudes of
                            leaves, sticks, branches, trunks, etc., have fallen undisturbed over
                            millenia. I fail to see how adding wood chips to soils could possibly
                            decrease the fertility of soils, unless one has been adding chemical
                            fertilizers for quite some time, resulting in dead soils. Perhaps I'm
                            mistaken?

                            Frank



                            --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Chandrakant Deokar
                            <cdeokar@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Dear Jeremy,
                            >
                            > I think woody material contains high amount of cellulose. It
                            decomposes very
                            > slowly and after decomposition that releases toxic acids that can be
                            > problematic to the plants.. I dont know the specific names of these
                            acids.
                            > but hope this will give some directions to your thoughts
                            >
                            > Chandrakant Deokar
                            > Pune India
                            >
                            > On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 11:04 PM, jhereg9333 <jhereg9333@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > > If I recall correctly, woody material has such a high carbon
                            content
                            > > that it ties up nitrogen unless broken down by fungi. As already
                            > > mentioned, you can bury the material to help it decompose. You
                            could
                            > > also spread the chips out and innoculate with fungi spores. You
                            may
                            > > want to try Stropharia rugoso-annulata or Pleurotus species.
                            > >
                            > > Jeremy
                            > >
                            > > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                            <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>,
                            > > "Lawrence Haftl"
                            > > <lawrence@> wrote:
                            > > >
                            > > > David,
                            > > >
                            > > > I can't remember exactly why using wood chips for mulch are
                            > > problematical but I think it has something to do with absorbing
                            > > nutrients in the soil to break down/decompose the chips. Fukuoka
                            used
                            > > wood chips, branches, tree trunks by burying them in his orchard
                            to
                            > > provide long-term organic matter for the orange trees he planted.
                            > > >
                            > > > Larry
                            > > > http://fukuokafarmingol.info
                            > > >
                            > > > ----- Original Message -----
                            > > > From: david.keltie@
                            > > > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                            <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                            > > > Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:56 AM
                            > > > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Wood chips as mulch
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > > An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply
                            > > lines
                            > > > locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
                            > > > available.
                            > > >
                            > > > Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x
                            Cupressocyparis
                            > > > leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a
                            > > mulch
                            > > > in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder
                            about
                            > > > them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)
                            > > >
                            > > > Thanks, David
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                          • Raju Titus
                            Dear friends, The question is why you want to add chips because you feel that your soil is in nutrient deficit.Than first remove that particular cause that is
                            Message 13 of 17 , Feb 27 11:46 PM
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                              Dear friends,
                              The question is why you want to add chips because you feel that your soil is
                              in nutrient deficit.Than first remove that particular cause that is creating
                              deficiency. Naturally soil will restore its deficiency. In NF people
                              confusing with mulching of straws. They think that this is a procedure of
                              fertilizing. And by adding unnaturally we can get quick results. This is
                              myth. Simply return all organic matter which is not in use as quick as quick
                              possible in same place from it came. Even changing of plot also creates
                              deficiency or overdose. Follow the rules of jungle is enough.
                              Thanks
                              Raju



                              On 2/27/09, mcavincheyfrank <fmcavin@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Dear sirs,
                              >
                              > It would seem to me that the fact that many forests have super fertile
                              > top soils that are many feet deep could possibly be that multitudes of
                              > leaves, sticks, branches, trunks, etc., have fallen undisturbed over
                              > millenia. I fail to see how adding wood chips to soils could possibly
                              > decrease the fertility of soils, unless one has been adding chemical
                              > fertilizers for quite some time, resulting in dead soils. Perhaps I'm
                              > mistaken?
                              >
                              > Frank
                              >
                              > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>,
                              > Chandrakant Deokar
                              > <cdeokar@...> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Dear Jeremy,
                              > >
                              > > I think woody material contains high amount of cellulose. It
                              > decomposes very
                              > > slowly and after decomposition that releases toxic acids that can be
                              > > problematic to the plants.. I dont know the specific names of these
                              > acids.
                              > > but hope this will give some directions to your thoughts
                              > >
                              > > Chandrakant Deokar
                              > > Pune India
                              > >
                              > > On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 11:04 PM, jhereg9333 <jhereg9333@...> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > > If I recall correctly, woody material has such a high carbon
                              > content
                              > > > that it ties up nitrogen unless broken down by fungi. As already
                              > > > mentioned, you can bury the material to help it decompose. You
                              > could
                              > > > also spread the chips out and innoculate with fungi spores. You
                              > may
                              > > > want to try Stropharia rugoso-annulata or Pleurotus species.
                              > > >
                              > > > Jeremy
                              > > >
                              > > > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com<fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                              > <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>,
                              > > > "Lawrence Haftl"
                              > > > <lawrence@> wrote:
                              > > > >
                              > > > > David,
                              > > > >
                              > > > > I can't remember exactly why using wood chips for mulch are
                              > > > problematical but I think it has something to do with absorbing
                              > > > nutrients in the soil to break down/decompose the chips. Fukuoka
                              > used
                              > > > wood chips, branches, tree trunks by burying them in his orchard
                              > to
                              > > > provide long-term organic matter for the orange trees he planted.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Larry
                              > > > > http://fukuokafarmingol.info
                              > > > >
                              > > > > ----- Original Message -----
                              > > > > From: david.keltie@
                              > > > > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com<fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                              > <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                              > > > > Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:56 AM
                              > > > > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Wood chips as mulch
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > > An electricity supply company have been clearing overhead supply
                              > > > lines
                              > > > > locally so I now have a very large mound of wood/leaf shreddings
                              > > > > available.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Shreddings appear to mainly composed of cypress (x
                              > Cupressocyparis
                              > > > > leylandii). Anything to be wary of in using the shreddings as a
                              > > > mulch
                              > > > > in a vegetable/fruit garden? (I usually use straw - I wonder
                              > about
                              > > > > them raising the acidity of the soil excessively.)
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Thanks, David
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              > > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              > >
                              >
                              >
                              >


                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Jeff
                              This email is an attempt to clear up the misunderstanding that have arrisen as of late about wood mulch -and of course how this relates to forest soils and how
                              Message 14 of 17 , Feb 28 6:16 PM
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                                This email is an attempt to clear up the misunderstanding that have
                                arrisen as of late about wood mulch
                                -and of course how this relates to forest soils and
                                how separately it relates to natural farming

                                I will start with the sciency part,., then get more common speak as
                                the post goes on

                                > It would seem to me that the fact that many forests have super
                                fertile top soils that are many feet deep could possibly be that
                                multitudes of > leaves, sticks, branches, trunks, etc., have fallen
                                undisturbed over > millenia.

                                when you say fertile soil you must have a basis of comparison..
                                ok so old prairie soils have deep dark A horizons.. the rotting roots
                                of the grasses are responsible for this .. this is the theory behind
                                'rhizodeposition' that Bob Monie toughts..
                                this works because of several factors..
                                a) grass roots go deep instead of spread out like forests
                                b) grass roots are upto 75% of the primary production as opposed to
                                around 18% for trees (mostly goes into 'wood')
                                c) roots actually are somewhat resistant to decomposition due to
                                content of anti-microbles and higher percentages of lignin
                                so the result is somewhat decayed organic matter with high nutrient
                                value mixed deeply in the soils lll this is for prairie soils

                                in forest soils the majority of the organic matter is above the soil...
                                the leaf and stick litter is called the o-horizon...
                                in frigid climates like boreal forests this can over eons become
                                several feet thick, also in bog/peat situations this can likewise
                                become thick- this is due to slow decomposition because of cold or water..

                                in temperate climates it is at most inches thick...
                                in tropical climates it is even less (usually less than 1")

                                immediately below the O-horizon is an E horizon... this is where all
                                the acids from the leaf litter remove the nutrients and send them
                                packing.. ending up in the stream or deeper in the soil profile...

                                the nutrients then are bound mostly in the living matter and the
                                O-horizons..... (recently dead stuff)

                                but the soils are often 'deep' because the acids do break down bedrock
                                and roots crack it to increase weathering of the soil...
                                so the actual soil profile might be deep but the nutrients are still
                                mostly shallow...

                                I fail to see how adding wood chips to soils could possibly
                                > decrease the fertility of soils, unless one has been adding chemical
                                > fertilizers for quite some time, resulting in dead soils. Perhaps
                                I'm mistaken?
                                >
                                It doesn't decrease the fertility... it temporarily sequesters
                                them.... this has to do with the natural balance of the carbon to
                                nitrogen ratio.... this topic has been covered several times in the
                                archievs....
                                basically bacteria have a low carbon to nitrogen ration relative to
                                the wood chips this means the bacteria suck up all the nitrogen so
                                they can break down the wood chips... the bacteria being tiny and
                                numerous are much better at getting the nitrogen then the plants are.
                                so for 1-3 years you have low 'available' nitrogen until the bateria
                                catch up with the wood chips...

                                the nitrogen fertility of forest soils is usually built up during the
                                early successional phase of the forest.. that is in the meadow and
                                shrub stage.. there are many meadow and shrubs that fix nitrogen and
                                very few trees that do so.. typically the nitrogen is maxed as a young
                                forest and slowly declines as some is washed out...
                                it is the bacteria and fungi's ability to hold onto the nitrogen so
                                well that enables the forest to be so productive without fertilize..
                                when you cut down a forest you do away with their food supply and the
                                bateria and fungi die, and the nutrients get leached.

                                > > Dear Jeremy,
                                > >
                                > > I think woody material contains high amount of cellulose. It
                                > decomposes very> > slowly and after decomposition that releases
                                toxic acids that can be problematic to the plants.. I dont know the
                                specific names of these acids.

                                this is only true of certain trees .. not all trees have these
                                compounds..... trees that are noted for their resinous oils (Eucalpyt,
                                leaurals) and conifers (pines, spruces etc) are likely to result in
                                these acids..
                                there are many many specific ones, and plant biologist and soil
                                scientist have different terms for them.. the
                                term I'm familiar with is phenolitic...
                                pheno- refering to the benzene right structure of these acids...
                                and litic refering to lysis.. or the breakdown of the orginal organic
                                matter
                                There may be other compounds that contribute to this but they are less
                                known.. and don't occur in large families like the previously
                                mentioned plants

                                this is one of the reasons conifers are not highly recommended as
                                mulch for gardening.....and braodleaved trees are prefered...
                                I would think a moderate amount of conifers once or twice would have a
                                minimal effect...
                                generally when these things are measure and disscuessed it is in the
                                terms of geologic time development of soils...

                                I would think that after once or twice adding the conifers, and
                                regular mulching of other organic matter, you would no longer need the
                                conifer mulch to effectively garden and restore fertility

                                > > > If I recall correctly, woody material has such a high carbon
                                > content that it ties up nitrogen unless broken down by fungi. As
                                already mentioned, you can bury the material to help it decompose. You
                                could also spread the chips out and innoculate with fungi spores. You
                                may want to try Stropharia rugoso-annulata or Pleurotus species.
                                > > >
                                >

                                this is exactly correct...
                                interestingly enough research pointed to by Stamets in Mycellium
                                Running indicated increased yeild for certain vegetables when grown in
                                combination with the above mentioned fungi...
                                and even more interesting was that fact that the best yeild increases
                                were for the brasicas ... which don't form VAM or AM mycorhizal
                                assocaions like most other plants.

                                ugh..
                                just say so you have any questions or need anything clarified..
                                I'm fighting a cold and might have skipped over something important
                                jeff
                              • Linda Shewan
                                I could argue with this but I am not as scientifically based as Jeff so I would certainly say things wrong BUT my understanding is that the wood chips lock up
                                Message 15 of 17 , Mar 1, 2009
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  I could argue with this but I am not as scientifically based as Jeff so I
                                  would certainly say things wrong BUT my understanding is that the wood chips
                                  lock up nitrogen ONLY if they are dug into the soil. Left on top they do not
                                  'pull' nitrogen out of the soil. I believe there are studies supporting and
                                  dissenting this view but a couple of supporting sites are below:

                                  A 2004-2006 Washington study showed that applying a 5-foot wide, 6-inch
                                  thick layer of wood chips provided the best weed control in all three years,
                                  although it needed reapplication in year three. This treatment also produced
                                  the greatest tree growth and fruit size.
                                  In a related trial, a Gala apple block was used to compare a 4-inch wood
                                  chip mulch in the tree row with a herbicide strip. In the first year,
                                  mulched plots consistently had 15 percent to 20 percent higher soil moisture
                                  at the end of each irrigation cycle than the bare ground plots. In the
                                  second year, the two treatments were watered independently according to
                                  need, and mulching reduced cumulative irrigation application by 20 percent
                                  to 30 percent.
                                  -----

                                  Concern: Wood chip mulches will tie up nitrogen and cause deficiencies in
                                  plants.
                                  Evidence: Actually, many studies have demonstrated that woody mulch
                                  materials increase nutrient levels in soils and/or associated plant foliage.
                                  My hypothesis is that a zone of nitrogen deficiency exists at the mulch/soil
                                  interface, inhibiting weed seed germination while having no influence upon
                                  established plant roots below the soil surface. For this reason, it is
                                  inadvisable to use high C:N mulches in annual beds or vegetable gardens
                                  where the plants of interest do not have deep, extensive root systems.
                                  From: http://www.sustainable-gardening.com/WoodChips.php and an interesting
                                  discussion on
                                  http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2008/09/the-hort-guru-a.html


                                  Cheers, Linda


                                  From: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                                  [mailto:fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jeff
                                  Sent: Sunday, 1 March 2009 1:17 PM
                                  To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                                  Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Wood chips as mulch: Re forest soils and more
                                  soil science

                                  This email is an attempt to clear up the misunderstanding that have
                                  arrisen as of late about wood mulch
                                  -and of course how this relates to forest soils and
                                  how separately it relates to natural farming

                                  I will start with the sciency part,., then get more common speak as
                                  the post goes on

                                  > It would seem to me that the fact that many forests have super
                                  fertile top soils that are many feet deep could possibly be that
                                  multitudes of > leaves, sticks, branches, trunks, etc., have fallen
                                  undisturbed over > millenia.

                                  when you say fertile soil you must have a basis of comparison..
                                  ok so old prairie soils have deep dark A horizons.. the rotting roots
                                  of the grasses are responsible for this .. this is the theory behind
                                  'rhizodeposition' that Bob Monie toughts..
                                  this works because of several factors..
                                  a) grass roots go deep instead of spread out like forests
                                  b) grass roots are upto 75% of the primary production as opposed to
                                  around 18% for trees (mostly goes into 'wood')
                                  c) roots actually are somewhat resistant to decomposition due to
                                  content of anti-microbles and higher percentages of lignin
                                  so the result is somewhat decayed organic matter with high nutrient
                                  value mixed deeply in the soils lll this is for prairie soils

                                  in forest soils the majority of the organic matter is above the soil...
                                  the leaf and stick litter is called the o-horizon...
                                  in frigid climates like boreal forests this can over eons become
                                  several feet thick, also in bog/peat situations this can likewise
                                  become thick- this is due to slow decomposition because of cold or water..

                                  in temperate climates it is at most inches thick...
                                  in tropical climates it is even less (usually less than 1")

                                  immediately below the O-horizon is an E horizon... this is where all
                                  the acids from the leaf litter remove the nutrients and send them
                                  packing.. ending up in the stream or deeper in the soil profile...

                                  the nutrients then are bound mostly in the living matter and the
                                  O-horizons..... (recently dead stuff)

                                  but the soils are often 'deep' because the acids do break down bedrock
                                  and roots crack it to increase weathering of the soil...
                                  so the actual soil profile might be deep but the nutrients are still
                                  mostly shallow...

                                  I fail to see how adding wood chips to soils could possibly
                                  > decrease the fertility of soils, unless one has been adding chemical
                                  > fertilizers for quite some time, resulting in dead soils. Perhaps
                                  I'm mistaken?
                                  >
                                  It doesn't decrease the fertility... it temporarily sequesters
                                  them.... this has to do with the natural balance of the carbon to
                                  nitrogen ratio.... this topic has been covered several times in the
                                  archievs....
                                  basically bacteria have a low carbon to nitrogen ration relative to
                                  the wood chips this means the bacteria suck up all the nitrogen so
                                  they can break down the wood chips... the bacteria being tiny and
                                  numerous are much better at getting the nitrogen then the plants are.
                                  so for 1-3 years you have low 'available' nitrogen until the bateria
                                  catch up with the wood chips...

                                  the nitrogen fertility of forest soils is usually built up during the
                                  early successional phase of the forest.. that is in the meadow and
                                  shrub stage.. there are many meadow and shrubs that fix nitrogen and
                                  very few trees that do so.. typically the nitrogen is maxed as a young
                                  forest and slowly declines as some is washed out...
                                  it is the bacteria and fungi's ability to hold onto the nitrogen so
                                  well that enables the forest to be so productive without fertilize..
                                  when you cut down a forest you do away with their food supply and the
                                  bateria and fungi die, and the nutrients get leached.

                                  > > Dear Jeremy,
                                  > >
                                  > > I think woody material contains high amount of cellulose. It
                                  > decomposes very> > slowly and after decomposition that releases
                                  toxic acids that can be problematic to the plants.. I dont know the
                                  specific names of these acids.

                                  this is only true of certain trees .. not all trees have these
                                  compounds..... trees that are noted for their resinous oils (Eucalpyt,
                                  leaurals) and conifers (pines, spruces etc) are likely to result in
                                  these acids..
                                  there are many many specific ones, and plant biologist and soil
                                  scientist have different terms for them.. the
                                  term I'm familiar with is phenolitic...
                                  pheno- refering to the benzene right structure of these acids...
                                  and litic refering to lysis.. or the breakdown of the orginal organic
                                  matter
                                  There may be other compounds that contribute to this but they are less
                                  known.. and don't occur in large families like the previously
                                  mentioned plants

                                  this is one of the reasons conifers are not highly recommended as
                                  mulch for gardening.....and braodleaved trees are prefered...
                                  I would think a moderate amount of conifers once or twice would have a
                                  minimal effect...
                                  generally when these things are measure and disscuessed it is in the
                                  terms of geologic time development of soils...

                                  I would think that after once or twice adding the conifers, and
                                  regular mulching of other organic matter, you would no longer need the
                                  conifer mulch to effectively garden and restore fertility

                                  > > > If I recall correctly, woody material has such a high carbon
                                  > content that it ties up nitrogen unless broken down by fungi. As
                                  already mentioned, you can bury the material to help it decompose. You
                                  could also spread the chips out and innoculate with fungi spores. You
                                  may want to try Stropharia rugoso-annulata or Pleurotus species.
                                  > > >
                                  >

                                  this is exactly correct...
                                  interestingly enough research pointed to by Stamets in Mycellium
                                  Running indicated increased yeild for certain vegetables when grown in
                                  combination with the above mentioned fungi...
                                  and even more interesting was that fact that the best yeild increases
                                  were for the brasicas ... which don't form VAM or AM mycorhizal
                                  assocaions like most other plants.

                                  ugh..
                                  just say so you have any questions or need anything clarified..
                                  I'm fighting a cold and might have skipped over something important
                                  jeff


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • La Clarine Farm
                                  Linda, I am sure the increase in water retention provides a better microclimate for the soil microbes and that s why they are seeing increases in growth on the
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Mar 1, 2009
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Linda, I am sure the increase in water retention provides a better
                                    microclimate for the soil microbes and that's why they are seeing
                                    increases in growth on the mulched plots. Happy microbes = happy
                                    plants, right? I agree with you that the mulch layer impacts the
                                    nutrient levels very little directly.
                                    My experience is that this layer eventually gets pulled into the soil by
                                    earthworm and frost actions, where it slowly gets broken down and
                                    releases various nutrients. But its greatest use is for soil moisture
                                    retention.

                                    -Hank

                                    Linda Shewan wrote:
                                    >
                                    > I could argue with this but I am not as scientifically based as Jeff so I
                                    > would certainly say things wrong BUT my understanding is that the wood
                                    > chips
                                    > lock up nitrogen ONLY if they are dug into the soil. Left on top they
                                    > do not
                                    > 'pull' nitrogen out of the soil. I believe there are studies
                                    > supporting and
                                    > dissenting this view but a couple of supporting sites are below:
                                    >
                                    > A 2004-2006 Washington study showed that applying a 5-foot wide, 6-inch
                                    > thick layer of wood chips provided the best weed control in all three
                                    > years,
                                    > although it needed reapplication in year three. This treatment also
                                    > produced
                                    > the greatest tree growth and fruit size.
                                    > In a related trial, a Gala apple block was used to compare a 4-inch wood
                                    > chip mulch in the tree row with a herbicide strip. In the first year,
                                    > mulched plots consistently had 15 percent to 20 percent higher soil
                                    > moisture
                                    > at the end of each irrigation cycle than the bare ground plots. In the
                                    > second year, the two treatments were watered independently according to
                                    > need, and mulching reduced cumulative irrigation application by 20 percent
                                    > to 30 percent.
                                    > -----
                                    >
                                    > Concern: Wood chip mulches will tie up nitrogen and cause deficiencies in
                                    > plants.
                                    > Evidence: Actually, many studies have demonstrated that woody mulch
                                    > materials increase nutrient levels in soils and/or associated plant
                                    > foliage.
                                    > My hypothesis is that a zone of nitrogen deficiency exists at the
                                    > mulch/soil
                                    > interface, inhibiting weed seed germination while having no influence upon
                                    > established plant roots below the soil surface. For this reason, it is
                                    > inadvisable to use high C:N mulches in annual beds or vegetable gardens
                                    > where the plants of interest do not have deep, extensive root systems.
                                    > From: http://www.sustainable-gardening.com/WoodChips.php
                                    > <http://www.sustainable-gardening.com/WoodChips.php> and an interesting
                                    > discussion on
                                    > http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2008/09/the-hort-guru-a.html
                                    > <http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2008/09/the-hort-guru-a.html>
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Cheers, Linda
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > From: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                                    > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    > [mailto:fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                                    > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf Of Jeff
                                    > Sent: Sunday, 1 March 2009 1:17 PM
                                    > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                                    > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Wood chips as mulch: Re forest soils
                                    > and more
                                    > soil science
                                    >
                                    > This email is an attempt to clear up the misunderstanding that have
                                    > arrisen as of late about wood mulch
                                    > -and of course how this relates to forest soils and
                                    > how separately it relates to natural farming
                                    >
                                    > I will start with the sciency part,., then get more common speak as
                                    > the post goes on
                                    >
                                    > > It would seem to me that the fact that many forests have super
                                    > fertile top soils that are many feet deep could possibly be that
                                    > multitudes of > leaves, sticks, branches, trunks, etc., have fallen
                                    > undisturbed over > millenia.
                                    >
                                    > when you say fertile soil you must have a basis of comparison..
                                    > ok so old prairie soils have deep dark A horizons.. the rotting roots
                                    > of the grasses are responsible for this .. this is the theory behind
                                    > 'rhizodeposition' that Bob Monie toughts..
                                    > this works because of several factors..
                                    > a) grass roots go deep instead of spread out like forests
                                    > b) grass roots are upto 75% of the primary production as opposed to
                                    > around 18% for trees (mostly goes into 'wood')
                                    > c) roots actually are somewhat resistant to decomposition due to
                                    > content of anti-microbles and higher percentages of lignin
                                    > so the result is somewhat decayed organic matter with high nutrient
                                    > value mixed deeply in the soils lll this is for prairie soils
                                    >
                                    > in forest soils the majority of the organic matter is above the soil...
                                    > the leaf and stick litter is called the o-horizon...
                                    > in frigid climates like boreal forests this can over eons become
                                    > several feet thick, also in bog/peat situations this can likewise
                                    > become thick- this is due to slow decomposition because of cold or water..
                                    >
                                    > in temperate climates it is at most inches thick...
                                    > in tropical climates it is even less (usually less than 1")
                                    >
                                    > immediately below the O-horizon is an E horizon... this is where all
                                    > the acids from the leaf litter remove the nutrients and send them
                                    > packing.. ending up in the stream or deeper in the soil profile...
                                    >
                                    > the nutrients then are bound mostly in the living matter and the
                                    > O-horizons..... (recently dead stuff)
                                    >
                                    > but the soils are often 'deep' because the acids do break down bedrock
                                    > and roots crack it to increase weathering of the soil...
                                    > so the actual soil profile might be deep but the nutrients are still
                                    > mostly shallow...
                                    >
                                    > I fail to see how adding wood chips to soils could possibly
                                    > > decrease the fertility of soils, unless one has been adding chemical
                                    > > fertilizers for quite some time, resulting in dead soils. Perhaps
                                    > I'm mistaken?
                                    > >
                                    > It doesn't decrease the fertility... it temporarily sequesters
                                    > them.... this has to do with the natural balance of the carbon to
                                    > nitrogen ratio.... this topic has been covered several times in the
                                    > archievs....
                                    > basically bacteria have a low carbon to nitrogen ration relative to
                                    > the wood chips this means the bacteria suck up all the nitrogen so
                                    > they can break down the wood chips... the bacteria being tiny and
                                    > numerous are much better at getting the nitrogen then the plants are.
                                    > so for 1-3 years you have low 'available' nitrogen until the bateria
                                    > catch up with the wood chips...
                                    >
                                    > the nitrogen fertility of forest soils is usually built up during the
                                    > early successional phase of the forest.. that is in the meadow and
                                    > shrub stage.. there are many meadow and shrubs that fix nitrogen and
                                    > very few trees that do so.. typically the nitrogen is maxed as a young
                                    > forest and slowly declines as some is washed out...
                                    > it is the bacteria and fungi's ability to hold onto the nitrogen so
                                    > well that enables the forest to be so productive without fertilize..
                                    > when you cut down a forest you do away with their food supply and the
                                    > bateria and fungi die, and the nutrients get leached.
                                    >
                                    > > > Dear Jeremy,
                                    > > >
                                    > > > I think woody material contains high amount of cellulose. It
                                    > > decomposes very> > slowly and after decomposition that releases
                                    > toxic acids that can be problematic to the plants.. I dont know the
                                    > specific names of these acids.
                                    >
                                    > this is only true of certain trees .. not all trees have these
                                    > compounds..... trees that are noted for their resinous oils (Eucalpyt,
                                    > leaurals) and conifers (pines, spruces etc) are likely to result in
                                    > these acids..
                                    > there are many many specific ones, and plant biologist and soil
                                    > scientist have different terms for them.. the
                                    > term I'm familiar with is phenolitic...
                                    > pheno- refering to the benzene right structure of these acids...
                                    > and litic refering to lysis.. or the breakdown of the orginal organic
                                    > matter
                                    > There may be other compounds that contribute to this but they are less
                                    > known.. and don't occur in large families like the previously
                                    > mentioned plants
                                    >
                                    > this is one of the reasons conifers are not highly recommended as
                                    > mulch for gardening.....and braodleaved trees are prefered...
                                    > I would think a moderate amount of conifers once or twice would have a
                                    > minimal effect...
                                    > generally when these things are measure and disscuessed it is in the
                                    > terms of geologic time development of soils...
                                    >
                                    > I would think that after once or twice adding the conifers, and
                                    > regular mulching of other organic matter, you would no longer need the
                                    > conifer mulch to effectively garden and restore fertility
                                    >
                                    > > > > If I recall correctly, woody material has such a high carbon
                                    > > content that it ties up nitrogen unless broken down by fungi. As
                                    > already mentioned, you can bury the material to help it decompose. You
                                    > could also spread the chips out and innoculate with fungi spores. You
                                    > may want to try Stropharia rugoso-annulata or Pleurotus species.
                                    > > > >
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    > this is exactly correct...
                                    > interestingly enough research pointed to by Stamets in Mycellium
                                    > Running indicated increased yeild for certain vegetables when grown in
                                    > combination with the above mentioned fungi...
                                    > and even more interesting was that fact that the best yeild increases
                                    > were for the brasicas ... which don't form VAM or AM mycorhizal
                                    > assocaions like most other plants.
                                    >
                                    > ugh..
                                    > just say so you have any questions or need anything clarified..
                                    > I'm fighting a cold and might have skipped over something important
                                    > jeff
                                    >
                                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    >
                                    >
                                  • Jeff
                                    HMM YES, on further consideration I was the one confused... mulch wouldn t pull nutrients for the soil more than 1mm or so (less than 1/8 inch).. UNLESS
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Mar 1, 2009
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      HMM YES, on further consideration I was the one confused...
                                      mulch wouldn't pull nutrients for the soil more than 1mm or so (less
                                      than 1/8 inch).. UNLESS incorporated.. and by the time it is shredded
                                      enough for frost or earthworms to do this... it would already be well
                                      on its way to decay...




                                      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, La Clarine Farm
                                      <laclarinefarm@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Linda, I am sure the increase in water retention provides a better
                                      > microclimate for the soil microbes and that's why they are seeing
                                      > increases in growth on the mulched plots. Happy microbes = happy
                                      > plants, right? I agree with you that the mulch layer impacts the
                                      > nutrient levels very little directly.
                                      > My experience is that this layer eventually gets pulled into the
                                      soil by
                                      > earthworm and frost actions, where it slowly gets broken down and
                                      > releases various nutrients. But its greatest use is for soil moisture
                                      > retention.
                                      >
                                      > -Hank
                                      >
                                      > Linda Shewan wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > > I could argue with this but I am not as scientifically based as
                                      Jeff so I
                                      > > would certainly say things wrong BUT my understanding is that the
                                      wood
                                      > > chips
                                      > > lock up nitrogen ONLY if they are dug into the soil. Left on top they
                                      > > do not
                                      > > 'pull' nitrogen out of the soil. I believe there are studies
                                      > > supporting and
                                      > > dissenting this view but a couple of supporting sites are below:
                                      > >
                                      > > A 2004-2006 Washington study showed that applying a 5-foot wide,
                                      6-inch
                                      > > thick layer of wood chips provided the best weed control in all three
                                      > > years,
                                      > > although it needed reapplication in year three. This treatment also
                                      > > produced
                                      > > the greatest tree growth and fruit size.
                                      > > In a related trial, a Gala apple block was used to compare a
                                      4-inch wood
                                      > > chip mulch in the tree row with a herbicide strip. In the first year,
                                      > > mulched plots consistently had 15 percent to 20 percent higher soil
                                      > > moisture
                                      > > at the end of each irrigation cycle than the bare ground plots. In the
                                      > > second year, the two treatments were watered independently
                                      according to
                                      > > need, and mulching reduced cumulative irrigation application by 20
                                      percent
                                      > > to 30 percent.
                                      > > -----
                                      > >
                                      > > Concern: Wood chip mulches will tie up nitrogen and cause
                                      deficiencies in
                                      > > plants.
                                      > > Evidence: Actually, many studies have demonstrated that woody mulch
                                      > > materials increase nutrient levels in soils and/or associated plant
                                      > > foliage.
                                      > > My hypothesis is that a zone of nitrogen deficiency exists at the
                                      > > mulch/soil
                                      > > interface, inhibiting weed seed germination while having no
                                      influence upon
                                      > > established plant roots below the soil surface. For this reason, it is
                                      > > inadvisable to use high C:N mulches in annual beds or vegetable
                                      gardens
                                      > > where the plants of interest do not have deep, extensive root systems.
                                      > > From: http://www.sustainable-gardening.com/WoodChips.php
                                      > > <http://www.sustainable-gardening.com/WoodChips.php> and an
                                      interesting
                                      > > discussion on
                                      > > http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2008/09/the-hort-guru-a.html
                                      > > <http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2008/09/the-hort-guru-a.html>
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > Cheers, Linda
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > From: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                                      > > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                                      > > [mailto:fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                                      > > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf Of Jeff
                                      > > Sent: Sunday, 1 March 2009 1:17 PM
                                      > > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                                      > > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                                      > > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Wood chips as mulch: Re forest soils
                                      > > and more
                                      > > soil science
                                      > >
                                      > > This email is an attempt to clear up the misunderstanding that have
                                      > > arrisen as of late about wood mulch
                                      > > -and of course how this relates to forest soils and
                                      > > how separately it relates to natural farming
                                      > >
                                      > > I will start with the sciency part,., then get more common speak as
                                      > > the post goes on
                                      > >
                                      > > > It would seem to me that the fact that many forests have super
                                      > > fertile top soils that are many feet deep could possibly be that
                                      > > multitudes of > leaves, sticks, branches, trunks, etc., have fallen
                                      > > undisturbed over > millenia.
                                      > >
                                      > > when you say fertile soil you must have a basis of comparison..
                                      > > ok so old prairie soils have deep dark A horizons.. the rotting roots
                                      > > of the grasses are responsible for this .. this is the theory behind
                                      > > 'rhizodeposition' that Bob Monie toughts..
                                      > > this works because of several factors..
                                      > > a) grass roots go deep instead of spread out like forests
                                      > > b) grass roots are upto 75% of the primary production as opposed to
                                      > > around 18% for trees (mostly goes into 'wood')
                                      > > c) roots actually are somewhat resistant to decomposition due to
                                      > > content of anti-microbles and higher percentages of lignin
                                      > > so the result is somewhat decayed organic matter with high nutrient
                                      > > value mixed deeply in the soils lll this is for prairie soils
                                      > >
                                      > > in forest soils the majority of the organic matter is above the
                                      soil...
                                      > > the leaf and stick litter is called the o-horizon...
                                      > > in frigid climates like boreal forests this can over eons become
                                      > > several feet thick, also in bog/peat situations this can likewise
                                      > > become thick- this is due to slow decomposition because of cold or
                                      water..
                                      > >
                                      > > in temperate climates it is at most inches thick...
                                      > > in tropical climates it is even less (usually less than 1")
                                      > >
                                      > > immediately below the O-horizon is an E horizon... this is where all
                                      > > the acids from the leaf litter remove the nutrients and send them
                                      > > packing.. ending up in the stream or deeper in the soil profile...
                                      > >
                                      > > the nutrients then are bound mostly in the living matter and the
                                      > > O-horizons..... (recently dead stuff)
                                      > >
                                      > > but the soils are often 'deep' because the acids do break down bedrock
                                      > > and roots crack it to increase weathering of the soil...
                                      > > so the actual soil profile might be deep but the nutrients are still
                                      > > mostly shallow...
                                      > >
                                      > > I fail to see how adding wood chips to soils could possibly
                                      > > > decrease the fertility of soils, unless one has been adding chemical
                                      > > > fertilizers for quite some time, resulting in dead soils. Perhaps
                                      > > I'm mistaken?
                                      > > >
                                      > > It doesn't decrease the fertility... it temporarily sequesters
                                      > > them.... this has to do with the natural balance of the carbon to
                                      > > nitrogen ratio.... this topic has been covered several times in the
                                      > > archievs....
                                      > > basically bacteria have a low carbon to nitrogen ration relative to
                                      > > the wood chips this means the bacteria suck up all the nitrogen so
                                      > > they can break down the wood chips... the bacteria being tiny and
                                      > > numerous are much better at getting the nitrogen then the plants are.
                                      > > so for 1-3 years you have low 'available' nitrogen until the bateria
                                      > > catch up with the wood chips...
                                      > >
                                      > > the nitrogen fertility of forest soils is usually built up during the
                                      > > early successional phase of the forest.. that is in the meadow and
                                      > > shrub stage.. there are many meadow and shrubs that fix nitrogen and
                                      > > very few trees that do so.. typically the nitrogen is maxed as a young
                                      > > forest and slowly declines as some is washed out...
                                      > > it is the bacteria and fungi's ability to hold onto the nitrogen so
                                      > > well that enables the forest to be so productive without fertilize..
                                      > > when you cut down a forest you do away with their food supply and the
                                      > > bateria and fungi die, and the nutrients get leached.
                                      > >
                                      > > > > Dear Jeremy,
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > I think woody material contains high amount of cellulose. It
                                      > > > decomposes very> > slowly and after decomposition that releases
                                      > > toxic acids that can be problematic to the plants.. I dont know the
                                      > > specific names of these acids.
                                      > >
                                      > > this is only true of certain trees .. not all trees have these
                                      > > compounds..... trees that are noted for their resinous oils (Eucalpyt,
                                      > > leaurals) and conifers (pines, spruces etc) are likely to result in
                                      > > these acids..
                                      > > there are many many specific ones, and plant biologist and soil
                                      > > scientist have different terms for them.. the
                                      > > term I'm familiar with is phenolitic...
                                      > > pheno- refering to the benzene right structure of these acids...
                                      > > and litic refering to lysis.. or the breakdown of the orginal organic
                                      > > matter
                                      > > There may be other compounds that contribute to this but they are less
                                      > > known.. and don't occur in large families like the previously
                                      > > mentioned plants
                                      > >
                                      > > this is one of the reasons conifers are not highly recommended as
                                      > > mulch for gardening.....and braodleaved trees are prefered...
                                      > > I would think a moderate amount of conifers once or twice would have a
                                      > > minimal effect...
                                      > > generally when these things are measure and disscuessed it is in the
                                      > > terms of geologic time development of soils...
                                      > >
                                      > > I would think that after once or twice adding the conifers, and
                                      > > regular mulching of other organic matter, you would no longer need the
                                      > > conifer mulch to effectively garden and restore fertility
                                      > >
                                      > > > > > If I recall correctly, woody material has such a high carbon
                                      > > > content that it ties up nitrogen unless broken down by fungi. As
                                      > > already mentioned, you can bury the material to help it decompose. You
                                      > > could also spread the chips out and innoculate with fungi spores. You
                                      > > may want to try Stropharia rugoso-annulata or Pleurotus species.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > >
                                      > > this is exactly correct...
                                      > > interestingly enough research pointed to by Stamets in Mycellium
                                      > > Running indicated increased yeild for certain vegetables when grown in
                                      > > combination with the above mentioned fungi...
                                      > > and even more interesting was that fact that the best yeild increases
                                      > > were for the brasicas ... which don't form VAM or AM mycorhizal
                                      > > assocaions like most other plants.
                                      > >
                                      > > ugh..
                                      > > just say so you have any questions or need anything clarified..
                                      > > I'm fighting a cold and might have skipped over something important
                                      > > jeff
                                      > >
                                      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      >
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