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Drought Killed Trees

 
Heidi Caswell
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Last summer's Texas drought was quit severe. Fortunately we had only smaller forest fires in our county, though the county south of us lost much. Normal rainfall is 49" a year in our area.

We have 4 acres, mostly woods with a spring fed creek on 2 sides. The uphill area has several trees which seem to have died, others which are only leafing on a few lower branches. Red oaks, dogwoods especially hit hard, white oaks, pin oaks, hickory, sweet gum, etc. The magnificent beech trees by the creek are doing fine.

We have plenty of firewood, from when my husband extended an open area for fruit trees. I told him no more tree cutting (wants to thin the woods) until we have a use for the trees.

The question is what do we do with the dead trees. I'm giving them more time to see if anything grows, as some have tiny signs of life. Most of my trees survived, so this is more like natural thinning.

Can these trees be used for mushroom logs? or would they not do so well since the trees seemed to have died?

Other uses?

Do we need to clear the dead trees in case of another drought? or can we leave them to let nature do her stuff?

 
Shawn Harper
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Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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Sounds like a great start to some hugel beds. I would link you the page but I'm not sure how, check out the main permies.com page and there is an article on hugel culture (i might have misspelled), it's a great use for dead trees.
 
Burra Maluca
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One word - hugelkultur! Click on it...
 
Heidi Caswell
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Plenty of wood for hugelculture beds yes. However I'd have to have dirt, etc hauled in to cover the logs. Limited space and no tractor. Lots of wood, lots to haul to were needed. Limit in how many hours I can spend in a week.

Would mushrooms grow on logs cut from these?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Unless they are cedars or pines I would leave them in place unless you want the wood for hugelkultur or mushrooms.

 
Burra Maluca
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You could try a modified hugelkultur where you dig a hole, put the wood in, and use the soil you dug out to cover the wood. It's even more labour, but you won't need to haul soil or compost in to cover.

As for growing mushrooms, I'd certainly give it a go. If any other fungi have already gotten a hold on the wood it's not likely to be successful, but the sooner you innoculate the better the chance of it working.
 
Heidi Caswell
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It would be better to bring in dirt than dig holes as the ground is full of roots from existing living trees.

Another thought, since much of the land is on a slope, as we fell dead trees to lay them on contour lines to collect debris from run off while they slowly rot naturally.
 
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more ...   2016 PDC and Appropriate Technology Course at Wheaton Labs http://richsoil.com/pdc
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