• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • r ranson
  • James Freyr
  • Burra Maluca
master gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
  • Ash Jackson
  • thomas rubino
  • Carla Burke

Cedar wood, wood chips, and sawdust for composting and soil building

Posts: 44
Location: Western Washington
homeschooling kids forest garden trees books solar woodworking homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know that everything I've seen says not to use cedar for garden building due to the chemicals it exudes to stomp out the competition.

That being said, I live in the pacific north west and can get a virtually unlimited supply of western red cedar.

I understand that the living trees exude this chemical.. but I'm wondering if they actually exude them... OR if the wood itself contains said chemicals.

It seems to me, just looking in the forests where I live, that the wood/bark/leaves probably don't contain said chemicals as mushrooms, moss, and a variety of plants grow right on dead cedar trees.

So.. my question is if anyone here has actually tried using red cedar bark/wood/chips/sawdust in composting or soil building and if they have seen any adverse results?

I'm trying it on a small piece of the property currently just to see for myself but am hoping someone else here has tried it and could share their own experience.

Posts: 2011
Location: 4b
dog forest garden trees bee building
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the Back to Eden garden film, Paul talks about using large amounts of cedar wood chips and has seen no adverse effects.  His results are pretty amazing, so I personally would trust his conclusion.
Posts: 11777
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use Cedar (Ashe Juniper) all over the place as mulch, in buried wood beds, etc and have had no problems except when chips are mixed into the soil without adding extra nitrogen.  I let the chips and logs weather a long time ( a year or more) before putting in beds, though, to allow any toxins to dissipate.  Fresh chips make good pathways.

Posts: 6652
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It is the sap you have to be concerned with, this is found only in the cambium layer of the tree and the roots.
So, if the tree is not a fresh cut (has had time for the sap to congeal and or dry up completely) there isn't anything allopathic left.

The leaves (needles) will create a little acidity if they are fresh and water (rain or other) flushes through them.

If I'd had more time, I would have written a shorter letter. -T.S. Eliot such a short, tiny ad:
Learn Permaculture through a little hard work
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic