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Perennial back to eden question

 
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So I have some perennials currently in my unamended earth: pawpaw, raspberries, currants, blueberries, tree collards, asparagus, chilean guava, hardy kiwi, yarrow, downy woodmint, a wild mint, and pitcher sage, do I need to dig them up this winter and replant after applying 1.5 inches of compost and 6.5 inches of wood chips (from an arborist, with leaves etc)?

Will burying 6 inches of trunk kill all of them?
 
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I shouldn't think so. If you're concerned, put a collar around the trees so the woodchips won't touch the trunk itself. I used milk bottles and soda bottles for this, but once the trees were established I took them off. Raspberries, currants, asparagus, yarrow, mint and sage should have no problem. I have no experience with the others. As long as the roots are well established, most plants can take a lot of abuse without dying.
 
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The compost shouldn't be an issue. I do this a couple times a year to many of my plants. I would make sure not to bring the wood chips up to the trunks of the plants, and instead create a bowl shape sloping the sides and leaving a few inches around the trunk clear of chips.  Otherwise you may be inviting rot, pests and disease to the main trucks or stems of the plants.  From everything I've read and heard and experienced, you pretty much need to respect the root collar on the plant if you want to keep it healthy.  The only exception I know to that is tomatoes.
 
Lauren Ritz
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Anything that will root from the stem should thrive, which includes many nightshades. Raspberries, currants, and everything in that family will also root from the stem. Mint as well. Anything that returns from underground in the spring should have no problem with it, such as asparagus. I covered yarrow and sage like this and they came back in the spring without a problem. I think it would be more of an issue in the spring or summer, when the plants are actively growing.
 
Adam LeCroy
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So pawpaw, blueberry, kiwi, tree collards, pitcher sage and my wild mint yes, rest no. Sweet
 
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In my opinion, this is not a good idea in general. Think about nature. How often do trees and plants get pulled out and replanted?  The idea on back to eden and mulching in general, is not to reset the soil height frequently.  It's to mimic nature.  Nature drops tree leaves, animal dung, dead roots, partially eaten fruit and other organic material frequently and it naturally replenishes the soil.  That is a great goal. Replenish the soil like nature does.  We started here with terrible, compacted, pesticide infested clay soil.  Over the years, we've turned it into good soil. We have added wood chips most years, but now that the food forest has grown in, the trees drop their leaves, birds poop, insects die, flowers fall off and life replenishes itself.  Pawpaw is a tap rooted tree. Replanting it is an extremely risky proposition.  Blueberries don't like to be replanted either.  Kiwi is probably the single plant that I know of that would most hate to be replanted.  Try to keep it at the same depth throughout it's life.
John S
PDX OR
 
Adam LeCroy
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So trunk smothering is not as much of a concern as the internet would lead me to believe? The 6 inches of added depth won't affect these plants more than digging up their newly planted rootballs this fall after leafdrop to raise them up to the new surface level?
 
John Suavecito
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Don't put 6 inches near the trunk. Put it 6-15 inches away. Other posters are right.  Voles will live in there, cozy, and girdle your tree until it dies.

THe goal of the organic material is so that it is absorbed into the soil and improves it's structure.  You're not trying to build up and up.
Put some in, let it decompose into the soil, and then the next year, add more.  6 inches is a lot in one year.

John S
PDX OR
 
Adam LeCroy
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The 6 inches is less than the 10-2ft suggested in initial year back to eden integrations.  My fear in keeping the mulch pulled back from the trees is that the gaps around them will be filled in every time it rains if the rest of the area is 6 inches higher.
 
John Suavecito
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How terrible is your soil to begin with? I don't remember him planting trees at the beginning.  For annual vegetables, it doesn't matter.  You might want to wait on planting trees if you're going to mulch that deep every year.  Later on, you won't need to mulch that deep.
JOhn S
PDX OR
 
Adam LeCroy
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Hard alabama clay that was covered with bermuda, marble chunks, and rubber mulch. He didn't but we wanted our fruit bearing asap while the kids were still young. The plan is 6 inches year one then one or two each subsequent. Thanks for all the inputs this far.
 
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I doubt there would be a bowl effect from leaving the 6" by the trunk open.
I started with hard clay weeds and rubble and the rain would roll off if it in sheets.
After I added woodchips and autumn leaves rain soaks right in, even where there is no ground cover.

Now,  I would say that most amendments are better off piled high rather than spread out.
After years of doing both,  I prefer filling a two foot deep raised bed with woodchips over spreading the same amount of woodchips 6" deep across the soil.
It's not about conserving woodchips,  it's about conserving labor.
This doesn't really apply to trees, though I think a tree can really benefit from such raised bed nearby, seeing on it as a reservoir for nutrients soil and moisture.

 
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I like the milk container suggestion from Lauren above. It's easy and I don't see a down side.
 
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