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oil/gas leak on lawn 3ft diameter, ideas?

 
Josh T-Hansen
Posts: 143
Location: Zone 5 Brimfield, MA
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Well, some work was done on our roof, and the roofers truck has left a 3ft dead spot on the lawn that smells like oil but I'm not sure what it is exactly. 
Is there any way to clean it up, should the topsoil be thrown away or into the woods, and would a normal sized raised bed be safe over it? thanks for your help
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Encourage fungi to live in the soil. Oyster mushrooms have a good track record of digesting petroleum.

Do any of your neighbors go mushroom hunting? You might go with them when they look for oyster mushrooms, and take a little rhizomorph (from just under the surface) to propagate into a woodchip mulch over the surface of your spill.

Scott Kellogg & Stacy Pettigrew wrote an interesting book on ecological/economic restoration. The method from that book is as follows:


1. Soak cardboard in non-chlorinated water for a few minutes
2. Tear the cardboard open to expose the corrugated curls. Place the rhizomorph on the open face of one piece of cardboard, and cover it with a second one.
3. Rewet, being careful not to damage or wash away the rhizomorph, and place the cardboard in a shady location. Keep damp.
4. Check once a week to see if the mycelia have colonized the cardboard.

...

After the mycelia have thoroughly colonized the cardboard, they can be mixed with more cardboard...Alternatively, a piece of colonized cardboard can be mixed with a bucket of coffee grounds


And from there, you have spawn that can be mixed in with woodchips (maybe with some  straw) and kept moist until mushrooms appear on top of the spill. Apparently, the mushrooms are not reliably safe to eat, but they should allow the lawn to return. You might need to bring the nitrogen level of that soil back up, perhaps by seeding the fungus-filled spot with clover.

Mushroom spawn is also available commercially, if you want to go about it a little quicker.
 
Josh T-Hansen
Posts: 143
Location: Zone 5 Brimfield, MA
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Thanks, I will try to remember to take some pictures of the process and write about how it went.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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I hope it goes well!
 
Josh T-Hansen
Posts: 143
Location: Zone 5 Brimfield, MA
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Over the winter I bought some oyster spawn and grew some indoor mushrooms on a bag of used coffee grounds.  I also used some of the spawn to colonize cardboard.  In early April I spread out the some cardboard mycelium face up over the dead grass, then a couple inches of woodchips mixed with a broken up bag of already fruited coffee grounds, and then another layer of cardboard with mycelium.  Because the spot is mostly sunny I covered it with leaves to help keep is moist.  This is at my parents house and I'm not living there now, so I can't see if the woodchips or the ground below has good mycelial growth.  Will report back this autumn, and may not know if the ground is clean until next years growth.
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josh apreading chips on dead spot 3.JPG
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2016 PDC and Appropriate Technology Course at Wheaton Labs http://permies.com/pdc
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