View Full Version : sheet mulching - manure
Hi, I'm planting some trees for timber in an area with cattle. Soil has a lot of clay and due to the cows I can't fully work it out with a tractor.
I'm starting to mulch the trees in small enclosures (where cattle can't get in) about 5x5 meters. My idea is that muching will provide a good place for the trees to grow and also, the mulch will hold water better (no irrigation and summers are very dry).
I've got tons of cattle manure, old and new, free. I began putting around 10cm of old manure (not by the trees). I did place 1cm + newpapper + 1 cm around the trees to control weeds.
Would using manure, newspaper/cardboard + more manure work well?
Do I really need to add other things? How much can I put?
11-04-2006, 12:09 AM
Hello Ilex and welcome to the forum.
Whilst we have Permaculture in mind. It so often seems that the choices we make are about 'opportunity now' and 'what can be achieved in the short term'. I cannot in any way influence your selection.
It is important to remember that Permaculture is an encompassing concept. So would work just fine on a north facing cliff in NY state if you were happy with what a north-facing cliff could produce for you. Bill's message is for those that cant always buy the 'ideal property'.
I actually have not read Bill Mollison ever say 'dont buy it'. Bill has commented about sites the world over. Generally his advice is restricted to your situation and how you can maximise it. I have no doubts you can permaculture your opportunity but you can also maximise your food security on a balcony in germany, or a bit of desert in arizona or a farm in El Salvador. a carpark in Johannesburg, etc etc etc..
The message is that it is possible, sustainable and well worth doing.
Good luck on your choices.
thanks. I'm sure it can be done.
My questions go more in line with the N and C proportions and if this old manure would be equivalent to compost, which doesn't require anything added, or if it would work better if something it's missing is added.
12-04-2006, 07:21 AM
Apols there, that was a cross posting.
The combination of paper & cardboard and cow manure is an excellent combination for compost.
A couple of things to consider, you havent mentioned what type of trees you are planting. Some aussie natives would appreciate being weed-free and mulched but wont thank-you for new cow manure.
In your situation I would still use mulch and aged cow manure as a mulch but would [hope you are using a post hole digger or similar] interspace the trees with extra holes and create vertical underground compost heaps for the plants to access as well.
Just mix the manure, paper, weeds and anything else. Add some gypsum as a clay breaker and fill the holes. This will also allow water ingress into the soil well down the profile. Dont worry about packing it in too much. Just add more to the top as it settles..
Don't worry about the crosspost.
I'm planting English walnuts (juglans regia) trees. They love nitrogen so I think they'll apreciate the manure. It's one of the trees that responds better to growing next to nitrogen fixing plants.
I'll give a try to the vertical mulching idea.
I'll think about adding gypsum. I'm just not sure I should add any more Calcium to the soil. It's ph 8.4 with 34% carbonates, 14.3% active. More calcyum and trees could have problems taking iron.
19-04-2006, 01:27 PM
I sometimes think that we think too much.....
In some cases the time spent worrying about how/why/whether it is right,can slow us down to an extent that nothing happens,and then its too late.....
As an ExampleWaiting and waiting to say decide on sowing tree seeds inspaces that are Zone 5 some people spend so much time wasting,wondering on how to rip.how to sow,who to sow,when to sow,etc etc etc ad nauseam...
Nature has this tree growing stuff down pat, it has for a billion or so years...
As bill would say..." does it work"? Plant a seed and see......
I dont think any real harm can be done planting just bout anything on land
My answer is just do it,It does work ,i can prove it,with or without help from Permies or anyone.
I wish i was young enough to plant a walnut crop for my later years as an investment....In 40 yrs when there ok to cut for timber,theyll probly be just another tree in a Photo in some mueseam stating This tree used to live world wide but became extinct..
I think I'm doing a good job as wild pigs really liked the area. Guess worms were coming. Now I must protect the trees from the pigs, project is interesting.
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