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Taking out old trees.. Can I leave the roots in the ground?

hannah ransom


Joined: Jun 04, 2011
Posts: 80
Location: Los Angeles, CA
    
    1
I have some old dead orange trees and I'm going to remove them, but I'm wondering to what lengths. Will the tree grow back if I cut it to a stump (they still have a little foliage) and can I plant other things in that root zone and not worry about it trying to compete for nutrition or "getting in the way" of other roots?


I teach natural, effective birth control and hormonal balancing http://holistichormonalhealth.com
Michael Newby


Joined: Apr 06, 2011
Posts: 139
Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
    
    7
Depending on how vigorous they are, they might resprout.  If you want to avoid having to remove the stumps, you can just keep removing any shoots that sprout until the tree burns out it's store of nutrients kept in the roots.


Do you Hugel?

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.  ~Willa Cather, 1913

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods.  But he cannot save them from fools.  ~John Muir

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Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3739
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  79
I've wrapped stumps in black plastic when they refused to die.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
I'm not familiar with oranges here but I'd say if it is a tree that tends to resprout from roots you are best removing the roots, if they don't resprout go ahead and leave the roots to rot


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
hannah ransom


Joined: Jun 04, 2011
Posts: 80
Location: Los Angeles, CA
    
    1
So can I plant other trees next to it, in it's root zone, if I don't remove the roots?
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6498
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
When your new roots find an old (dieing) root, they will just go around it, picking up whatever it has to offer.  Eventually, all of the critters in the soil will have eaten the dead roots, and have plenty of goodies to share with their new neighbors.
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2168
Location: FL
    
  54
Seems to me leaving them in makes for instant hugelkulture.

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John Kitsteiner


Joined: May 25, 2011
Posts: 36
Location: Overseas
Ken Peavey wrote:
Seems to me leaving them in makes for instant hugelkulture.



This is exactly what Masanobu Fukuoka was doing.  He would plant fast growing trees and then chop them down after a certain height... just for hugelkulture.  Let nature do most of the work!

Doc K


"All the world's problems can be solved in a garden."   - Geoff Lawton

Check out my site at: www.tcpermaculture.com
nancy sutton
volunteer

Joined: Feb 22, 2010
Posts: 299
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
    
    9
What about red cedar stump/roots?  Just cut down a 90 footer, leaving 4 foot stump.  Looking forward to planting around the 'remains', which I don't expect to resprout.  I know red hucklberries grow right in rotting cedar, but this area is now in strong sunlight.  Do you think I should lime the soil, and plant fruit trees?  berries?  blueberries?  Would making berms above the root area, using humousy soil, be better?  Anyone with experience in snuggling plants next to cedar trunk/roots?


It's time to get positive about negative thinking    -Art Donnelly
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
Yes, leave the stumps in. There are a lot of nutrients in there. When we clear old fields of the grown up forest we leave the stumps. This saves the cost of bulldozing, preserves the soil layers, saves topsoil (what little we have), saves the nutrients to decay into the soil and aerates the soil. We then fence and to managed rotational grazing with sheep, pigs and chickens. Gradually the forest cut turns into lush pastures.

See:

http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/2009/08/field-clearing-grapple-skidder.html
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/2010/03/perimeter-walk.html
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/2010/05/fence-line-clearing.html
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/2010/09/view-of-sugar-mountain-farm.html
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/2010/06/sugar-mountain-farm-on-the-map.html
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/2010/10/sow-on-new-pasture.html
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit


Joined: Aug 08, 2010
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
Roots take decades to decay. You can drill holes in the stump to give funghi spores more space to attack. You can infect woody material with spores when you crumble already rotten wood in the holes.


Life that has a meaning wouldn't ask for its meaning. - Theodor W. Adorno
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
Dunkelheit wrote:
Roots take decades to decay. You can drill holes in the stump to give funghi spores more space to attack. You can infect woody material with spores when you crumble already rotten wood in the holes.


About ten years rotted out all the roots and stumps. We've done clearing multiple times leaving the stumps in, flush cut to the ground. The stumps naturally become infected with mushrooms in a short period of time. Grazing animals help to mow down the regen which kills the roots since they can't get new energy.

Our experience is with aspen/poplar, maple, ash, spruce, fir and white pine.

Results may vary with climate.
Irene Kightley
pollinator

Joined: Apr 13, 2009
Posts: 340
Location: South West France
    
  15
I prefer to leave to them too, they provide a bit of interest for planting and insect hide-outs as well as helping to retain the land on a slope.









We cut down a lot of diseased chestnut this winter and planted fruit trees between the roots. The regrowth helps to keep the area cooler and we use the whips to support plants. The new trees are doing well so far.



La Ferme de Sourrou : Nos projets avec PHOTOS
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6498
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
Irene:  I always love it when you post photos.  Your homestead looks so ideal.  By their clarity, I also assume you have a nice camera.  Please, keep posting pictures, as they are an inspiration to any serious homesteader. 
Thank you, John

Philip Freddolino


Joined: Jun 02, 2010
Posts: 53
I leave my stumps in place unless they have roots in a roadway. I've found that if I take a chainsaw and cut the stump low to the ground and then make several plunge cuts into the top, it speeds up the decomposition (especially if I pee on them) . If the stump is fresh, I like to drill 3/8" holes around the top perimeter and inoculate them with an appropriate mushroom plug spawn.
Irene Kightley
pollinator

Joined: Apr 13, 2009
Posts: 340
Location: South West France
    
  15
Thanks John. I have a little Canon Ixus which is not a great camera as cameras go but at least I can pop it in my pocket when I'm out without fear of leaving it down somewhere.

I wish more people would post photos, it helps a lot to see what people are doing.

Philip, I guess it depends on the size of your garden. I'm very lucky to have the space to work around root stumps but if I had a smaller garden I'd be tempted to pee on them too ! 
hannah ransom


Joined: Jun 04, 2011
Posts: 80
Location: Los Angeles, CA
    
    1
I will hopefully post many pictures, but right now there is nothing to see but dead trees and dry hard soil 
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6498
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
@ Hannah:  Get some photos now.  It would make a great Before/After series.
 
 
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