I live in Italy where everybody seems to like to burn their biomass. In particular we see lots of people burning their cuttings from Olive trees. Has anyone here used cuttings from Olive Trees in their Hugelbeets?
I read your post a couple of days ago and could not formulate why people burn their biomass.
And I have noticed that many burn all their olive tree prunings.
I asked my uncle, who has an olive grove and has been doing this twice as long as I have been alive.
He stated wilt may form on the cuttings and one would want it to be buried very far from olive trees as not to spread back to the trees.
He reasoning is to just burn them and eliminate the chance.
When people depend on such things to survive, they don't take chances. Innovation is risky.
It is my understanding that olive trees have allelopathic qualities -- ie can inhibit the growth of other plants. I have no idea to what extent or if that breaks down or if it's only certain varieties or what. But I would be inclined to experiment on a small scale first.
We have 10ha under olives (frantoio, leccino and coratina plus a few kalamata olives). 4500 trees in total. We planted these trees as saplings in May 1999. Every year since then we have pruned the olives. We drop the prunings into the middle of the row then drive over them with a mulcher that chips the prunings and spews them back into the tree row. We then spray these cuttings with a probiotic liquid containing powerful microbes and their metabolites. This has worked really well for us, building up the soil in the tree rows. Having recently discovered permaculture,we are embarking an a project to convert our orchard into a food forest.
We ended up doing in Arcidosso and Frascati. No problems at all. We just built first Hugelbeet in Firenze, buried walnut, fig, and olive. We'll see how it does, will post pics in a few months, built 45 meters of swale gardens too all by hand but labor of love. I don't care why anybody burns their biomass, it doesn't bode well for state of relationship with Mother Earth. Desertification is a big problem in Portugal, and Spain and beginning to rear it's ugly head here in Italy as well. There are days when smog is so bad that they do alternate license plate driving yet burning your prunings and yard waste is legal and an accepted practice? It's crazy. They spent all this money on Expo which was a big freakin joke sponsored by some of the most deatructive companies on the planet like Coca Cola and Nestles, maybe even Bayer. Nobody seems to have water filters and most families go through a dozen plastic bottles of water a week. The hydrology here is very challenged in particular because runoff water is wasted, not much rainwater capture and old school building technologies have been abandoned in favor of crappy asphalt and cement. I've been doing my beat to set a good example here.
We have 2.5 hectares of olives here in Spain, and the prunings do not rot down. Lack of moisture i guess. I have prunings from 12 years ago that are brittle and dry and in no way are they breaking down,so I would humbly suggest that they would be of no use on a hugel.
We have had success with carob prunings however, and pines, but olives no.
I wanted to comment on why many people burn. I'm embarrassed to say we just don't know any better. We have always thrown all of our yard waist in the burn pile. I thought it was to big to go into a compost pile, and what else could I do with it. This spring I was doing some research for my garden, and happened upon hugelkultur, then permies. Now I have a hugel, the burn pile is all but gone, because it was used in my hugel, and the new stuff goes into a compost pile. Some times good people do the wrong thing because it just never occurred to them to do it differently. This is why Permies is so important! I think most of us want to do the right thing, and just need to be shown the way. We all need to talk to people and share our knowledge. I have talked to many people about hugelkultur and not one knew what it was, but all where interested. So please don't be too harsh on those of us who just don't know any better.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln