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Tumbleweed covered tree line

 
pollinator
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All the trees and bushes in the area have tumbleweeds stuck to them but these ones are the worst. Likely because they are densely packed and obviously designed to catch every tumbleweed in the entire world. joking, but doesn't feel like it. These trees have already been struggling with broken limbs due to snow loads the last few years. So I'm debating what to do with all these. I can leave them and they will eventually break down, takes ages but does happen. Or is that too much for the trees? Should I remove them? Opinions appreciated.
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making-a-path-through-the-tumbles.jpg
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tumbleweed-tree.jpg
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steward
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That is some serious amount of tumbleweeds.

Where I live we would not want those as they might be something to attract snakes, especially rattlesnakes.

It is probably too windy to burn so I would suggest making a pile and putting a tarp or something over them, if not they might blow up against the trees again and damage them more.

This will be interesting to see other folks thoughts on these.
 
master pollinator
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If it weren't for the snake issue and the visuals, I'd leave them to shade and protect the soil and eventually break down. Maybe you could drive something heavy over them to speed up the process. That's a fair bit of carbon that would do the trees a lot of good if it got into the soil.
 
elle sagenev
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We don't really have snake issues. I suppose my main concern is weight of the tumbleweeds damaging the trees in the wind.
 
gardener
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Phil gets my vote here! I have an incredibly healthy row of Arizona Cypress that caught tumbleweed (TW) like this about 15 years ago. The mulch from the TW kept moisture in the ground under the trees moist. The mesh-like filter of the trees plus the TW caught other mulch in the wind. Once the sunlight was blocked by the shady tree canopy, the worms moved in and ate up the TW mulch (horse manure helped). This shady tree hedge row is now the source of my most fertile soil. Using some old plywood boards, we tossed the flat sheets on the TW then jumped on the flat surface to crush the TW flat. TW smashing is especially fun for kids. If there is no light, the TW won't sprout and you're on your way to beautiful soil and magnificent trees.
 
pollinator
Posts: 252
Location: Sedona Az Zone 8b
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Just some thought off the top of my head....
Pros and Cons-

Are they harming or helping the trees right now. They're providing shade. Will your trees benefit from having shade right now or would it be better to have plenty of sunlight now to warm them up? When trees in your area get shade do they develop molds, mildews, bug habitats that cause harm? How about this summer? As Amy mentioned, will lots of other stuff blow up against them create more shade and/or more weight on the lower tree limbs? Or will they benefit the trees right now and dry up more during the summer and disintegrate? Don't create work if you don't have to.

As Anne alluded to.... it creates a habitat for creatures. In my neck of the woods I seldom see a poisonous snake and snakes are a good thing, a great thing. In the spring I see a lot of gopher snakes which eat gophers, mice and rats and other stuff. Snakes are my friend. (I'm just careful not to step on one or reach down and grab one by accident) I only occasionally get a gopher or rat in my yard. But the tumbleweeds create habitat for all kinds of creatures like rabbits, rats, quail, groundhogs, etc. Didn't you mention recently that you have lots of animals helping themselves to your garden. In that case it's best to keep the ground-level clear of stuff so they don't have any place to hide.  Of course birds love that kind of habitat if you're into them.

If it were me I would consider all the pros and cons I could think of. Then decide... are they a good benefit to the trees right now or not. If they are good now can I wait until fall to see what happens. (A new experiment) If they are not so beneficial now then I would think.....I have been given a gift! Free stuff! How can I put this gift to good use. Boy I never toss anything away. How can I reuse, recycle or re-purpose this! As Phil and Amy mentioned they can be a great source of free mulch. Make a pile and throw a tarp or some cardboard over them and roll around on it to crush them down, something the kids can help with. Mulch the trees or make a path. Do you have a bare spot where nothing much grows? Sprinkle them all around and by this fall you will see weeds and grasses growing there. Conditioning the soil.

At least, that's what I would do. But I know some of my crazy neighbors here in Sedona would probably spray paint them all kinds of crazy colors and make a huge pile of them in their front yard and call it art! And then some other crazy person would probably come along and give them big bucks for it! Well, each to his own! Happy gardening.
 
pollinator
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Just a loose idea from someone without any tumbleweed-related experience whatsoever (on account of living on a continent where we don't have them): How about using it for feedstock for biochar? That way it could elevate soil carbon and help with water retention without giving those garden-eating critters another place to hide (unless you think it's better at providing habitat for predators than for the garden-eaters...) How's your soil pH? If it's low, that might be an extra benefit of charring.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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So I did a beautiful paint drawing for ya'll. Our tree line is 5 rows of plants. The trees collecting all the tumble weeds are, in my belief as I didn't plant this tree line but bought it already in tact, supposed to be the main trees for the future. They grow slower but they will last longer and block the most wind.

I wouldn't be overly concerned but as I stated, snow loads lately have damaged the trees. So my worry is that excessive tumbleweed load might do the same. Perhaps that is foolish. I don't know. We have some tumbleweeds on the other trees/shrubs but not nearly as many as the cedar trees have been collecting. Attaching pic of son walking down the path to show.

I am lazy by nature, so if they aren't going to harm anything, I will leave them. I'm tired of pulling them off my fences anyway.
Treeline.jpg
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tree-path.jpg
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pollinator
Posts: 138
Location: Oklahoma Panhandle
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As far as I know the only way to kill a cedar tree is to cut it off below the lowest branch or burn it.  You could mow along the edges or pull them out with a fork and grind them if they bother you.  
Our big winter for tumbleweeds was last winter-the worst I've seen.  Congratulations on getting enough rain last year to grow them--it didn't happen down here for us!  I'm guessing if you get rid of them now you'll probably have more in a few days.  Personally I'd want them out of there after it starts greening up in your country.
Good luck!  I always enjoy your posts!
 
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