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Author Topic: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..  (Read 1383 times)

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Offline realzed

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Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« on: April 10, 2018, 11:43:47 AM »
Possibly not the correct forum section for this but..  can anyone give me an idea of whether the chainsaw chips or the 'saw cuttings' created when bucking up piles of logs, has any real value or benefit if spread around a property or woodlot in the way of fertilizing?
I like most of you who cut firewood have a spot where I have already accumulated quite a collection of woodchips from doing all of this, and wondered if there is a value spread around, in the way of helping regeneration at all.
I realize downed trees rot in the forest and all other plants do so as well to contribute to the soil to create thicker loam - but are certain types of cuttings counterproductive for the soil if there are put there before they start to decay sufficiently?
I've seen on YouTube many homesteading 'farmers' tilling tons of wood chips into spots where they intend to make into gardens to grow vegetables etc.. and I've also seem people dump piles of chips around the base of small trees occasionally in their yards - but I've never noticed in woodlots much in the way of any greenery sprouting in areas where chips seem to lie - so maybe it's the type of cuttings (tree species) or possibly the thickness of the cover of the cuttings that snuffs out the growth of many plants..
Any ideas or thoughts?
Thx - Randy

Offline realzed

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 11:46:51 AM »
..

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 11:49:41 AM »
Eventually, Yes!

But at the beginning it will substantially increase the need for nitrogen and tends to make the soil acidic.   
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Offline ESFted

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 11:53:16 AM »
Woody material takes a while to break down and, in the process uses a lot of nitrogen.  I've always been told not to use fresh woody material in the garden for that reason....it depletes nitrogen from the soil.  I guess you can compensate by adding nitrogen, but why bother.  Composted woody material is a great garden additive.  The best garden I ever had was one where I tilled in sawdust that had been sitting at an old mill for over fifty years.  That stuff was beautiful.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 01:29:21 PM »
Hot compost it, takes 3 weeks if you do it just right.  You need "greens" (grass clippings) and "browns" (sawdust) layered like lasagna as tall as you can go vertically to store the heat and activate the microbes doing the work.  At 170f they will die so you have to turn before that temp.  It needs oxygen so dont do this in a bag.  A 5 gallon bucket with some holes can work.  If you have enough material, an ibc tote is common. 

When you see a manure pile steaming, thats the turd and the straw hot composting.

This will make the finest garden soil you ever saw.  Keep it damp but not sopping and if it isnt cooking good, Pee on it and cover to store some heat.  The microbes will take off. 
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 03:39:24 PM »
Like has been said, wood will initially use nitrogen from the soil. This is used by the fungus and bacteria that are breaking down the wood. But once this process is done, the nitrogen and carbon are available in the soil again. So the long term effect is positive. 

Making compost gets this process started before you add it to the soil, so that's a good idea for a vegetarian garden.

Other option is to add nitrogen along with the wood. Chicken poop etc mixed in with the wood chips is one option.
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Offline TKehl

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 03:48:23 PM »
Look up "sheet mulching".

Yes it will tie up Nitrogen, but then gives it back later.  

The three best things about it are:
1.  Great weed barrier.
2.  Great at retaining moisture in the soil.
3.  Great at attracting earthworms and improving the tilth of the soil.

An area of my garden that had a pile of woodchips dumped on it 4 years ago has my VERY best soil.  Thought something broke as my tiller dropped down to the depth stops and the governor on the tractor let up a bit.  Nope!  Just the nicest black soil a person could ask for.  ;D  Otherwise most of our ground has a lot of clay.   :(  
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Offline Don P

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 07:25:50 PM »
We put it in the pathways on top of scrap cardboard to keep the weeds and mud down, much more fun to kneel on, then it goes into the beds later and new goes down.

Offline realzed

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 08:10:39 PM »
So basically this has nothing at all to do with the actual type of wood the chips or sawdust have been created from, rather it has everything to do with being 'too green' for a lack of a better way to put it?!
I have noticed that anywhere I've cut and got some of the chips spread around, when trying to rake them up off of bare gravel or sandy driveways or roads that they seemed to cure any dust situation pretty good as well - maybe because the moisture in the chips helps dampen surrounding soil and sand somewhat or that it's somewhat hydroscopic to a point..
Thanks everyone - much of my woodlot such as it is, and much of the surrounding countryside here has pretty acidic soil already mainly from years of being in the vicinity of large mining and smelting operations, and if I decide to fling any chips around in there somewhat, I'll do it thinly if at all considering it'll only make that situation worse for some time going forward.

Offline Don P

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 09:36:08 PM »
The type of wood can make a difference, walnut and ailanthus for instance contain natural herbicides, I don't let any of that get into the garden. Locust is a nitrogen fixing legume but I don't saw enough to know if it matters.

Sawdust, well wood, is hygroscopic, absorbs moisture from air, or hydrophilic, mixes with water or water loving vs hydrophobic, water hating. Worst thing you can do is put it in a mudhole in a road thinking it will soak it up, it'll make it ten times worse. It does make an excellent mulch for helping retain moisture whether green or composted. We use it green under blueberries, they do prefer a bit of acid although I don't believe it is much... I've never made a tea and checked ph though.

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 09:54:24 PM »
Granpa used to make what he called peat piles out of horse manure, straw and sawdust/wood shavings/chips. Was mostly aspen/poplar/willow. and about a third horse crap/straw. Pretty much the way it came out of the horse barn when the stalls were cleaned. 

That stuff was awesome on the gardens left it set for about 3 winters before it got used on the gardens.
 
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 10:13:54 PM »
Before toilets, everyone put sawdust on the ol manure pile. 
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 10:38:43 PM »
Composting will also break down any natural herbicides in woods (Walnut etc) that contain it.

Grandpa's horse poo, straw and sawdust compost pile would have been great stuff after a couple of years.  ;D
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Offline starmac

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2018, 12:14:18 AM »
As far as it helping with the dust, there is a product made in Florida out of pine sap. It is liquid and you dilute it quite a bit with water, sprayed on dusty Arizona gravel roads, it last several years with nearly no dust. I have used it also to seal ponds, it works great, but I don't remember what it is called.
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Offline forgeblast

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2018, 11:21:05 AM »
Just wondering what will the oil that is mixed in with the sawdust do to your soil if its mixed in, or will the composting take care of that.

Our raised bed gardens utilize https://richsoil.com/hugelkultur/ hugelkultur, where we put logs and branches etc to fill up the bed and then top with compost.   

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2018, 12:07:58 PM »
Well, there is very little oil in the sawdust to start with.  Even coming off a chainsaw.  What is there is broken down by soil critters and fungi.

Paul Stamets even talks about hydrocarbons being a potential "food" source for certain fungi in Mycelium Running in the section discussing myco-remediation.

IE, it's something I've thought about, but not something I worry about.   ;)
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Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2018, 08:34:58 AM »
So basically this has nothing at all to do with the actual type of wood the chips or sawdust have been created from, rather it has everything to do with being 'too green' for a lack of a better way to put it?!

Actually it does matter what kind of tree and what part of the tree too.  The link below I found while trying to understand an area where I amended the soil and it's fertility was and still is beyond anything I have ever seen before.  For the last 10 yrs or more this area 'looks' like I apply heavy fertilizer to it.  I was dumbfounded to say the least.  I added power line crew chipped branches of mostly small diameter hardwood trees.  I left it in a pile for a couple of years and the mycelium was so heavy that the chips came apart in large chunks that held together.  I has been the most amazing thing I have witnesses in my 40 yrs in horticulture.

Scientific research of nutrients in trees.  Hardwood vs conifer, trunk vs branch.  Very well done.
Organic Research

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2018, 10:28:50 AM »
Wow thats an incredible document.  



Quote
Coniferous trees store nutrients in the trunk and eliminate competition by making the soil unsuitable to competitors. Deciduous trees store some nutrients in the soil and enhance diversity. This strategy allows deciduous trees to replace coniferous wherever climate conditions permit. Deciduous forests are much more stable and long-lasting, whereas coniferous forests follow cataclysm cycles. When all the nutrients are blocked, coniferous trees send olfactory messages to pests that come and destroy the stand, then fire takes over and cleans all, and nutrients are freed.


I guess maybe all the beetle killed pine is a message that its time for change?
Revelation 3:20

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Value of Cuttings/Chips for fertilizer..
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2018, 03:21:22 PM »
Ive finally gotten my compost game down.  My chainsaw sawdust is mixed in with grass, peels, eggshells, coffee grounds and a bunch of diluted urine to add extra nitrogen, plus being activated by the humus i pull out of doady rotten heartwood.  i am getting the first particles of dirt within 5 days or so. Temps around 140 on my small bin due to size.  

Last week the line maintenance crew dumped 2 truckloads of mixed pine and hardwood limb cuttings.  I pushed it into a dry pond about 5ft high.  The C/N ratios are terrible and its been dry as a bone until 5 minutes ago when the rain hit.  Yet the temp is already at 155F thanks to the green leaf content.   Im gonna use the pond as a mulch mixing tub when i get my backhoe down here.  








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