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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 12,089

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Better Living Through Permaculture: Inviting Fungus Among Us... Or At Least Among Our Trees

In the last post, we looked briefly at how coppicing and pollarding can be used to encourage a sustainable wood harvest. I coppiced a large black walnut tree in my yard last year, and had new shoots in the past spring. Just this weekend I coppiced a rather sick tree in my front yard with the hopes that by cutting it back I could give it a new lease on life, and pollarded another that had been damaged by our freak Halloween snowstorm. For my efforts this weekend, I netted a modest amount of firewood, some decent straight poles that can be used either for outdoor building projects or firewood, and a couple of good-sized piles of brush.

Here’s a pic of those piles of brush again. A “typical” landscaping operation would look upon these piles as a waste product to be discarded, or at best as fuel for a chipper to turn into wood chips. But I’m interested in permaculture, in “closing the loop,” and generally in doing as little work as possible in the long run. So, I came up with some different uses for my brush piles.

I took the brush from the walnut tree downed last year, broke it up into manageable pieces, and stored it under an overhang behind my shed. After several months of drying out, it now serves as useful tinder for starting fires in my woodstove.

This brush had a different use in store for it....

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