Online PDC Fall 2020

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  • Jonah Langelotz
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    Not sure if this is the right place to post this question, but figured I’d give it a go.

    The yard I live on has a long standing stick pile. For decades sticks breaking from trees and shrubs around the yard (12 acres) have been dragged to one spot and piled.

    When I moved onto the yard (sharing it with my in-laws) I suggested cleaning sticks up by breaking them down slightly (if necessary) and or moving them into tree lines and brush off of the lawn. Maintain the desired aesthetic, while returning carbon to lie under the source it came from.

    The pile is about 90ft. long by 30 ft. wide, and 8 ft. tall at its peak. It is loosely stacked, so gets air, but only the bottom is in contact with the soil and its microorganisms.
    I see it as and traditional outhouse – a concentration of resource that poorly managed has become waste…of sorts. It’s not really in the way, but it shades out shrubs and limits one paddock where I rotate pigs through.
    My thought is hire an arborist company to come chip it, and we have years worth of wood chips for paths, compost, animal bedding, mulch etc. By doing so you accelerate the carbon cycle and decomposition and make it more usable.

    Would a pile like this decompose on its own over time? I assume yes. Is chipping it just accelerating decomposition?
    Is either being patient (letting the pile decompose on its own time) or accelerating the process (chipping) more efficient in the yield of carbon left in the soil by microorganism?

    I understand that as the wood decomposes, depending on the fungi or bacteria involved in the process there are different amounts of carbon consumed and also released into the atmosphere as a result of this interaction. E.g. fungi are better wood decomposers than bacteria, who do it inefficiently and require more nitrogen.

    • Kalista Pruden (Verge TA)
      Kalista Pruden (Verge TA)
      Reply

      Hi Jonah, It’s hard to make a good recommendation without understanding all the components in your system, your needs, and your higher goals. Have you considered doing a needs and yields analysis to help clear things up a bit? From my perspective, I would suggest utilizing this resource for Hugelkulture. It sounds perfect for this application. No chipping required!

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