I'm wondering what you guys do with small branches etc left over after harvesting trees for firewood? Right now, I'm mainly harvesting standing dead trees for firewood and there is always branches too small for firewood. I'm wondering the best thing to do with them. Here are some ideas:
1) pile them up and leave them out in the area where I took down the tree. Decompose and provide nutrients to the area I took the tree from.
2) Take them to our garden area (garden out of season) and burn them. Provides nutrients for the soil after being burned.
3) Use a wood chipper to chip them up into mulch. I would have to buy a chipper or rent one. Use the mulch in the garden and around trees.
I was not sure about using them for mulch. I'm wondering if a tree died because it had a disease or some kind of infestation if I would be transporting it if I used it as mulch.
I recently read a study on logging methods, and while I always knew obviously just harvesting the bole, (trunk and main branches) and leaving the rest, returned for nutrients. Instinct told me it was quite a bit and that chipper operations were not good for the forest, but while I forget the amount exactly (I think it was 80%) it was staggering. I understand why landowners whole tree chip as it is more money, but my word they are losing a lot for future generations.
Myself I leave the brush where it lies after felling the tree. A forester told me the 2 rule of forestry. Anything under 2 inches in diameter, less than 2 feet off the ground, in 2 years time will decompose. This applies to New England, but he is indeed correct.
BTW: If you do buy a chipper, be sure it is of fairly good size. A small one is a lesson in frustration. While they give "sizes" they can handle, that is straight wood so a 5 inch chipper can really only take a 3 inch limb if it Y's out into another branch. Also the smaller the chipper, the smaller the chip so you are forever waiting for it to hog through that limb. Bigger is better. And finally always chip green wood, it is so much easier on the knives.
Many of you probably know about this site, but for those that do not, it allows you to measure distances and areas in conjunction with Google Maps.
I have been laying out my main logging trails for my woodlot and plotting my stream crossings for my Forest Management Plan; and it has been a dream. I can plot my way through the woods and get real world distances, not to mention measuring acreages and what not. It really is a dream planning tool because if I plan on fencing in one of my fields, I can plot its points and come up with how many rolls of wire and how many fence posts it will take. On main logging trails I can jockey around problem areas and put my trails where I can get to the most out of each linear foot of road so I am not using up good forest by having it be a wasteful trail. I have even tossed in acreage measurements to see what we would have if we cleared this section of forest back into field, or this one, or that. I am not saying I will do all of that, but it allows for real data on different scenarios; in other words a real good planning tool.
I guess I was thinking that this would be good biomass to add to the orchard/garden. I realize that you don't want to take all of this out of the area as it would eventually deplete that area of the nutrients. But, I figured there was still plenty and if anything I would want extra nutrients going to the places I was growing food.
Clay Rogers wrote:I guess I was thinking that this would be good biomass to add to the orchard/garden. I realize that you don't want to take all of this out of the area as it would eventually deplete that area of the nutrients. But, I figured there was still plenty and if anything I would want extra nutrients going to the places I was growing food.
I think it's ok to move things around a little. I've collected forest materials for my kitchen garden, but not on an annual basis and not where the material seemed in short supply. I don't need to collect them anymore because now the garden is producing its own mulch and compost materials.
Use them to build weirs across erosion gullies. Stair step the weirs in the gully down the slope and in a few years the gully will be completely gone, filled up with the leaves, soil, and other debris captured by the weirs.