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What kind of wood to use for hugelkultur bed?

Todd Hoff


Joined: Mar 14, 2011
Posts: 62
It seems like most of the wood we have access to you aren't supposed to use: pine, redwood, doug fir, bay. We have oak too, but that's going into the fire.

Any thoughts on how much the kind of wood really matters? Since Sepp Holzer lived in the middle of a pine dessert, wouldn't it make sense he built his out of pine?
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Personally I think you can use any kind of wood.  If you're worried about resins that might inhibit rotting or plant growth, use aged wood.  I use aged juniper in my beds (as well as oak and other trees) and so far no problems.



Idle dreamer

Todd Hoff


Joined: Mar 14, 2011
Posts: 62
Thanks Ludi, I won't worry then and I'll be happy I like the idea of already decomposing wood. I was staying away from that but it makes sense.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Hooray!  I like it when people are happy. 
                    


Joined: Aug 24, 2009
Posts: 106
you use what you have. Of course nothing that has been treated.  I am working on a big Huegelbeet right now and it is mostly poplar, because we had lots of it. It will rot down faster than wood like oaks. Sepp Holzer uses a lot of fir. I am workiong on a second one and I can not tell you what all I have in it.  Chopped up brush and prunings and leaves. I wish I could get wood shavings to top it off.
Jack Shawburn


Joined: Jan 18, 2011
Posts: 230
Any old or established Hugels around? anyone?
                    


Joined: Aug 15, 2011
Posts: 14
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Hey Elfriede, or anyone else for that matter.  I am in the city attempting a bit of Hugel for the first time this year. My neighbors poplar is constantly losing huge limbs into my yard, I am just wondering how well poplar does for Hugel?  I'm not positioned deep in the woods so I'm trying to work with what I have.

Hopefully a big enough branch will tumble down one day to earn me enough of that sweet insurance money to escape all this concrete   But I dream.
josh brill


Joined: Sep 06, 2010
Posts: 86
    
    1
We have put ash, red maple, paper birch, poplar, elm in our beds and so far we havn't seen any difference in the beds.  We are just one season in though so there is still plenty of time for change im sure.  We built 7 45ft long beds last fall and a lot more this spring/summer.  I have a feeling that any wood will work well.  We are going to do some fur/cedar beds as tests in the next few weeks.


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Joined: Jul 20, 2011
Posts: 5
I use old pine tree stumps that have been rotting, up here in North Idaho you can find old rotting stumps just about everywhere. I use a sledge hammer to bust them up then collect my 'stump dust', I'll sometimes mix in some fresh horse manure with it.

I've use this mix many times as a filler material, while I just recently learned the term hugelkultur it seems my technique is quite similar. Works great as fill when building raised beds...
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6578
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
I would think that the choice of woods to be used should follow the same principles as "what to plant".  As an example, I think we all agree that a polyculture of crops is superior to a monoculture crop.  Likewise, using as many families of woods as are readily available, would have the same benefit.

A hugel bed made with nothing but pine would provide a single set of fungi, bacteria, and microbes.  If the pines were not native, they could drastically put the natural. native  organisms at risk for survival.

A hugel bed with a dozen families of woods would introduce a much larger assortment of 'critters' to your soils.

If somebody were to offer me a free dump truck full of redwood bark, I would certainly  not turn it down.  But, I would have to make choices how I would utilize it.  I might build one bed with it to exclusively grow plants that only thrive in a redwood forest.  The remainder would be spread thinly over a large area so as to not upset the balance of my native soils.
 
 
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