We have been building large scale sheet mulch beds for our community farm out of Horse manure and wood chips. Both are abundant in the area, can be delivered in large loads, and I can figure out if the manure is contaminated or not.
However, now with the presence of Emerald ash borer, I am not sure if I can import wood chips any more.
Gilbert, can you tell me more about why you cannot use the mulch?
Seems like the bugs are only a problem in living trees.
From an info website.
Quote..What is the life cycle of this borer?
Recent research shows that the beetle can have a one- or two-year life cycle. Adults begin emerging in mid to late May with peak emergence in late June. Females usually begin laying eggs about 2 weeks after emergence. Eggs hatch in 1-2 weeks, and the tiny larvae bore through the bark and into the cambium - the area between the bark and wood where nutrient levels are high. The larvae feed under the bark for several weeks, usually from late July or early August through October. The larvae typically pass through four stages, eventually reaching a size of roughly 1 to 1.25 inches long. Most EAB larvae overwinter in a small chamber in the outer bark or in the outer inch of wood. Pupation occurs in spring and the new generation of adults will emerge in May or early June, to begin the cycle again. View the EAB life cycle
Is it you CAN'T (.gov dept of make you sad rule) or you WON'T (due to fear of your own trees)?
I would think a hot compost pile with chickens scratching through it would be as good of remediation as you could get.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
The reason I don't want to bring in wood chips is because EAB can survive the chipping process, emerge from the chips, and infect more trees. The land has some nice ash trees which the owners don't want to endanger. So it is a matter of won't, not can't at present, though it might get that way.
Unfortunately, we can't have chickens on site right now.
I am currently thinking that we might get mulch delivered, cover it with a clear plastic sheet, bury the edges deeply, and leave it for several months. The EAB should have all emerged after June/ July, and have died under the cover. Then we will mulch around our plants.
But I would rather have the sheet mulch set up ahead of time.
If you were shipping these wood chips from far away then I could see a potential problem. But since they are local you are fine. Also, the ash borer prefer sick trees. So really it's not that places have an ash borer problem, it's that they have a soil problem which causes sick trees.
Check out the drying kilns people use for firewood. If you have a good source of wood chips and need to assure locals they are safe, that is probably the easiest way to go about it. It's still a lot of trouble, but should work. Of course, when the ash borer does infect a local tree, you might get blamed anyway.
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association