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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Looking for advice - clearing invasive shrubs - biomass

Looking for advice - clearing invasive shrubs - biomass

Derek L.
user 14490127
Portland, ME
Post #: 25
My property is covered with invasive wild rose (thorns ouch!) and honeysuckle. Thanks to Jon Hogue we have a fantastic permaculture design for the property and are amped up to implement it!!

Part of reclaiming this land is taking out the invasive shrubs - but there is a huge amount of biomass that I don't want to burn or otherwise take out of the nutrient cycle.

Does anyone have any suggestion s about how to best recycle this biomass? Both honeysuckle and wild rose are difficult to run through and small chipper - does anyone here have a commercial size chipper for rent?

Thanks in advance for any input

Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 580
I don't know how much space and time you have to get rid of these, but I'd let them dry out (to ensure they're dead) in a pile the footprint of a future planting bed, then try to weight them down with tree limbs like hemlock and added leaves to try and retain moisture to speed decomposition. After a winter or two (and jumping on it with good thorn-proof boots) the whole pile will collapse down to a much flatter layer. Then you can cover with soil to make a nice raised planting bed.
I'm guessing that you pulled all the crowns of the plants as well? Otherwise this will be practice for when they re-sprout and you get to do it all againconfused
Aaron P.
user 6845673
Falmouth, ME
Post #: 194
I totally agree with what Greg said. You can speed the process and make it easier to get the brush piles completely covered by cutting across the pile every 12"-18" with a chain saw, you can shrink a 6x10'x6' pile by ~75% in just a few mins.
Derek L.
user 14490127
Portland, ME
Post #: 26
Thanks guys,

Yeah maybe half an acre - pretty thick - but I do have a large future garden area to haul the brush. I guess there is no fairy dust that will make it effortlesscool
A former member
Post #: 45
First, you purchase a 27 Hp Kubota...
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 976
Having recently removed Rosa virginiana from my zone 1 landscape picture, I can tell you they are not easy to eradicate. All left over roots sprout. Chances are whatever you chip would sprout too. Roots can easily run 20 ft. They don't come out easily either. Your choices are limited. A tractor with serious tools, herbacide, or maybe the best bet would be goats.

David Spahr
A former member
Post #: 46
What if the chips were contained, yet were converted into biochar?
user 42149742
Dover, NH
Post #: 4
My experience with honeysuckle is that ANY piece of stem (not sure about leaves) will sprout given time if not destroyed. For invasive plants you really do want to burn them, especially the woody variety. If you have herbaceous invasives you can pull, cut and bag them then allow them to sit in the hot sun till they turn to "soup"---this only works if you get sufficient sun. Save the "turn back to soil" efforts for non-invasive plants.
Tyler O.
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 18
Because of what seems to be a strong potential for both the rose and honeysuckle to sprout from the smallest chunk of viable tissue, I think your best bet is to enlist the help of the animal kingdom with goats, pigs, and chickens(your own, borrowed, or rented) to take down and root up as much as possible and convert much of the nutrients to milk, meat, eggs and manure. Then perhaps control burn the area to kill any remaining roots, burn any larger biomass in piles, before complete burn of the piles smoother with green spruce and/or hemlock branches and spray the burn pile down with water to fracture the coals to make biochar which can then be distributed to your garden areas (after "charging" with nutrients and beneficial biology such as soaking in a high kelp brew biodynamic aerated compost tea), after the burn disperse remaining coals/ash, apply any recommended soil amendments (no lime required, use gypsum, greensand, collodial phosphate, granite dust, seaweed, azomite, humates, crustacean shell meal, fish meal, manure, etc), spray with aerated compost tea (brewed with biodynamic inputs if possible), then cover with a deep sheet mulch layer (cardboard with 6"++ of hay on top) over the entire area and left for one season, for enhanced nutrient cycling here would be a good chance to inoculate the mulch with Garden Oyster (Hypsizygus ulmarius), the Garden Giant (Stropharia rugoso-annulata) and the Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus) to get edible mushrooms, in 6-12 months. If you choose to inoculate the mulch put down half the mulch then broadcast the spores then put the other half on top. Then the following season, after the first major mushroom flushes, I would run chickens and pigs through the area (this will disturb/ destroy the edible mushroom mycelium but will convert those nutrients to meat, eggs, and soil fertility) then cover crop the area with at least a peas/vetch/oats mix (the more diversity in this mix the better, this past summer I used a mix on my lawn I put together with great success: peas, vetch, oats, crimson clover, aislike clover, purple prairie clover, buckwheat, daikon radish, and rutabega, and all but the buckwheat are still alive and thriving even after we have had numerous nights with temps in the low 20's) then use chickens and/or pigs to turn in the cover crop at "boot" stage of growth on the oats. "Boot" stage is the stage of plant growth where the plant itself begins to concentrate on seed head development as opposed to the leaf tissue. Quality remains in leaf tissue as long as nutrients are being supplied to the plant. This means high quality forage for the animals, maximum nitrogen and nutrient fixation, and maximum root die back for building deeper soils. Then spray biodynamic aerated compost tea, (then broadfork the area if u want a great workout and even deeper soils, or if possible keyline or subsoil plow the area, on keyline pattern or on contour) form your paths, swales, and garden beds etc, then sheet mulch again with cardboard and 3"+ inoculated mulch (clover hay with seeds if possible), if there is still enough growing season left wait two weeks then plug your transplants through the sheet mulch, otherwise plant the following spring into the amazing, deep, nutrient dense soil you have actively built alongside nature.
Derek L.
user 14490127
Portland, ME
Post #: 27
Wow! Thanks for all the information! I think that a good measure of patience is going to help me in this endeavor. Tyler - I am so impressed with all the information you provide- I wish I had the time to implement it! I will definitely use as much as possible. So far I have discovered that my neighbors are not that psyched about pigs - especially when they get to > 400 lbs and escape and prevent a person from getting out of the car!!!! The Freeport Police were also interested in my pigs when they crossed the busy road and were in the ditch munching away!! Goats are escape artists too, right? Work in progress. I have found that just cutting the bramble down and allowing it to dry for a season both reduces volume and makes the likelihood of spread much lower. I want to create a dead bramble tangle train that I can put one end in a commercial chipper and it will chew up and drag in the whole mess!!!! Maybe then a controlled burn will be an insurance policy against sprouting and I can distribute the soil amendment pile as needed - vigilant of new sprouting?

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