Can I use forest humus as compost?

November 29, 2012

Hello, first time poster here. Anyways, I just bought 2 acres and 1 acre is wooded. We are going to be planting a garden on about .25 acre that is very sandy. I was wondering if I could just take a few wheel barrows full of the humus lining the wooded forest floor and use it like compost to improve the soil of the garden area.

Also, is the humus in the forest the same thing as compost?


Comments (75)

  • nc_crn

    If you're burying it, then less losses happen...it composts slower, though.

    Most direct composters top apply...some top apply then cover/mulch.

  • toxcrusadr

    I can hardly afford to put honey on my toast these days. :-p

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  • GreeneGarden

    On a temperate climate self sufficient farm, if you keep bees, honey is the best source of concentrated sugars. But any cheap sugar will do. One tablespoon per gallon is all you need. It speeds up the bacterial activity so you can plant quickly after working in large amounts of organic matter. The advantages of direct composting are that it encourages a broader variety of micro-organisms, prevents nitrogen evaporation, and reduces labor. The disadvantage is that it can take longer to decompose unless a stimulant such as sugar is added. Deep tilling also disrupts fungal networks unless you can speed up decomposition so you can plant more quickly and provide the roots that feed mycorrhizal fungus. I am also planting crop varieties that are more tolerant of a high residue environment.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Garden For Nutrition

    This post was edited by GreeneGarden on Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 11:18

  • chickencoupe

    I don't want to get into the debate. I will add that I have some "wilder" sections of my "yard" where I pulled in what I knew was some well-aged leaf mold running along the fence line.

    I was very selective. I knew I was disturbing the area's plant life. I enjoy the wild flowers blooming in this area.

    You know the saying, "What goes around comes around?"

    Think: bugs.

    Whatever's in that soil will go right into your garden. Time is required for beneficial bugs to arrive.

    I had TONS of ... climbing grubs to content. I planted them right in. Good plot, though. Great amendment except for the bugs.

  • the_virginian

    Yes, go ahead and use it and forget these tree hugger PC alarmists. It is not like you are going to strip the forest bare and turn it into a strip mine moonscape or that new fall leaves will start the process over again. Use the humus and enjoy the results.

  • nc_crn

    Why is it some people have to make this political?

    Is it really that threatening that now 2 people have chosen to come at this subject breaking it down to "they're hippie PC liberal scum thug tree hugger alarmist sub-humans."

    If one reads this thread then you'll see some of the experienced, learned, scientific, and EXPLAINED reasons to approach this method with caution rather than saying "MUH FREEDOMS!" and turning it into class warfare while ignoring generations of soil and forest ecology research.

    This is not about "stripping the forest bare."

    ....check my post from "Tue, Sep 10, 13 at 2:42" for further information on the matter...as well as what others have explained, from grub concerns to roles that returned "litter" play in soils. In the case of the original poster, we're talking about what sounds like a very new growth forest stand.

    My post from 9/10/13 doesn't advise not doing it...it advises not doing it in some areas, picking your area of collection wisely, and the possible results of doing it if done unwisely.

    This post was edited by nc-crn on Tue, Sep 24, 13 at 3:00

  • blue_skink

    If you are near a large forest and you have an itty bitty 20 X 40 garden (just by way of example) I can't see how maybe scraping forest soil off of uprooted large tree roots would do a lot of damage. Yes the forest is a complex ecosystem, and I love nature esp. trees. But every last one of us is living on a piece of land that was once primeval forest or grassland and I see no rending of garments over that.

    Those natural fertilizers we buy - they all come from somewhere. Everything we eat, everything we use in our gardens, can be traced back to destruction of the environment of one kind or another. There is no karma free food or living space as far as I can see.

    I am not trying to gore anyone's ox.

    Maybe there are just too many people on this earth.

  • the_virginian

    Blue Skink: Well said and I could not agree more. I am constantly reminded of how extreme some of the environmentalist PC tree hugger extremists can be. The fact is there are more trees growing and planted in the ground than when Columbus landed in the Bahamas 500+ years ago. Lots of wasteland that was strip mined has been reclaimed too using biosolids/compost in VA, WV, KY and TN with native tree plantings. The forest that results is very healthy. So, go ahead, use the forest compost, the impact will be like a mouse fart in the Superdome. Nature will renew the humus as it has for centuries as in after a flood or landslide NOT caused by humans.

  • nc_crn

    "I am constantly reminded of how extreme some of the environmentalist PC tree hugger extremists can be."

    Yes, let's just ignore the actual known science of the situation and make it a political issue.

    I've seen harvesting from field edges and bottom slopes turn a normal rainfall into 10x+ the removal of soil outside of the initial soil removal after a rain event because of incorrect harvesting...and furthering the process with following rainfall. Water is a powerful thing...especially when it meets a new opportunity to pool and/or create new places to flow.

    Let's totally ignore the points of being able to do it, yet doing it smartly.

    Let's ignore how doing it incorrectly can cause a huge tree to weaken itself over time and cause a $500+ removal fee or the sudden dumping of a huge amount of soil into your property because of improper removal.

    Let's pretend soil rills creating channeled waters cutting into your land and moving water through previously unavailable channels cannot happen if you believe in politics over science.

    Just do what you want as long as you're not a "environmentalist PC tree hugger extremist" and you'll be immune from 100+ years of scientific knowledge about how to properly remove things from existing ecosystems with minimum impact in and outside that environment.

    I mean...really? C'mon...

    You can do it, but you need to do it right.

  • klem1

    I spect the op is long gone and i can't blame them.
    As I understand,we are talking about 1 acre which was previously logged or otherwise cut over.
    Let's talk about the mouse fart in the Superdome.
    During the VC war,USA tax payers paid to kill millions of trees and everything on or under them by spraying herbicides onto the forest.
    For decades,USA taxpayers have been paying for and/or helping pay for millions of acres of forest land to be destroyed with herbicides and bull dozers then burned. After spending billions to destroy Mesquite across Southwestern states,it was decided tax payers would spend billions more,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,to replant Mesquite trees on the same millions of acres they had been eraticated from. I personaly witnessed while several thousands of those acres were destroyed. Let me see if I can paint you a vision of an actual single tree that I saw meet it's demise at tax payer's expense. This oak was easily hundereds of years old. Two men could not incircle the trunk with their arms. Aproximatly 50 acres surounding the tree had been cleared several years earlier. I would guess the land owner at the time felt the tree would furnish welcome shade for cattle or it was simply so large they decided it wasn't worth the effort required to take it down. The new owner was about 80 years old and worth a fortune. The D-8 Cat operator told the owner more than once while pushing timber on the place that the tree was too large to push over. The owner wasn't having it,he wanted that tree gone. The contractor rented another big Cat and proceeded to dig around the tree,cutting roots and built a earthen ramp going up one side. 2 Cats and 7 hours later the Cats lined up one behind the other and began pushing.
    I love the land. I was born on a farm and relied on the earth for a living for years. I have done all I can to protect it and to convince those that can make the most difference to do the same.
    Friends,don't you think you could pick more important battles than a man wanting to move soil around on one acre?
    If you take nothing else away from what I say,just don't alow people to use shiny objects to divert your attention from things that realy matter.

  • nc_crn

    The problem I'm talking about isn't even harvesting the forest...it's doing it with some consideration about future impact. This isn't star-sign astrology, mother Earth, crystals and meditation stuff...it's "oh, i don't need my land torn up, trees falling, or new water management issues" stuff.

    What I'm mainly going on about is how incorrect harvesting...especially on forest/clearing breaks and slopes (especially slope bottoms) can end up removing many times more multiples of soil than the harvested amount...mostly due to water channeling.

    My rant about "if you're going to do it, do it right" can turn into a hurricane in the Superdome rather than a mouse fart in the Superdome if you do it in some areas incorrectly...even if you're just taking a little bit. If you take it in the right area spread out over a wide spread of space you can lessen the impact to minimal-to-practically-nothing...if you take it in the wrong area and compound the issue by taking it out incorrectly, you can lose many times more volume of soil than you took out to move. You really should scrape the rough stuff on top of the soil to the side before harvesting, then spread it back around covering the area when done. That rough stuff helps a lot with keeping runoff and splash from eroding soil or creating rill channels.

    Water movement is an extremely powerful force. I've seen surface soil removal on forest edges of farm land (trying to eradicate plant pest overwintering/breeding areas) turn the adjacent farmland into multiple 20+ foot long water rill channels. I've seen soil removal at the base of slopes and on slopes (even shallow slopes) create more erosion in/around the area than any of the soil that was actually removed in the first place.

    The point is...do it right if you're going to do it...not, them eco-terrorist commie nazis muh freedoms do what i want get off my lawn. A lot of people have learned a lot of hard lessons over the years in order to give us insight on how to do this in the least invasive manner...to provide us with what we need without creating unintended problems.

    You can drive a screw into a wall with a hammer...it's generally a good idea to use a screwdriver, though.

  • Lloyd

    "than a man wanting to move soil around on one acre? "

    A point some are making is that this 'it's only one man' concept probably means thousands are doing the same thing. What harm could it do if I poured a measly couple of litres of used motor oil down the drain. After all, we're talking an inconsequential amount when considering the billions of litres of waste water that gets discarded daily. Imagine if only one person in ten thousand do this in a large city. How many litres of oil gets dumped?

    IOW, it's the attitude, not necessarily the specific action mentioned in this thread.


  • blue_skink

    Yes, how it's done is everything. And how much. And why you are taking it in the first place. People will order a truckload of soil for their flower beds, not asking precisely where it came from Usually some desperate farmer selling his top soil. How do we undo this?

    Too many people on this godforsaken planet.

  • poaky1

    I gathered many plastic bags of fall leaves last fall. I only used some. Last week I picked up many unused leaf bags and discovered compost a half foot thick under most bags. So I would say to the OP or anyone, if you dump some fall leaves over an area of your yard and can wait a year in between plantings, just adding some fall leaves and covering it with a porous cover or if plastic check on the moisture now and then. There may be a way that after covering with fall leaves in the fall of course and adding some nitrogen source and some sugar as mentioned by someone else, that you can plant sooner. The bags I moved were opened by bugs. They punctured the bags from underneath. I would imagine if you just gave them the leaves without bags to rip through, they would process the leaves sooner and make compost sooner.

  • greenthumbzdude

    forest floor humus is basically leaf mold............I would just make your own when the leaves drop.....the problem is that if you remove too much you may cause erosion.....then you have all sorts of problems.

  • annpat

    Shoreside soil disruption is the leading cause of lake pollution here in Maine. Soil scientists advise us to leave our leaves, brush, duff in place to help protect against erosion. No one does, of course; most people are too appalled by natural processes in their yards to go along with that, or they're uneducated about natural processes, or they don't care because they want what they want.

    None of us is taking issue with the OP who, it turns out, was basically robbing an already robbed area. His removal was equivalent to us raking leaves off our coiffed lawns.

    The issue is that soil disruption does alter the landscape whether by affecting the plants growing there or by subsequent erosion, and to equate science with political correctness is ridiculous.

    Not that I have any problem, mind you, with political correctness---I'm hugely in favor of it.

    This post was edited by annpat on Fri, Oct 18, 13 at 11:29

  • Claude

    When a person removes forest duff from the forest and puts it into a garden, I think the overall quality of the Eco system improves greatly because you are taking from a land of plenty and improving a land off little. The land of plenty isn't permanently harmed but the land of little is permanently improved. I rest my case.

  • poaky1

    I would say that the only plants I myself would take some forest duff for are native ferns, some native shade "forest" plants like "rhododendron Maximum" native to Pa and surrounding states. There are some forest plants like "trillium" mentioned above, etc. And some other shade/forest plants I would be tempted to pilfer some forest humus/duff for. But, a BIG GUESS, on my part, for a veggie garden with sandy soil, is something commercially known as " soil conditioner" and is sold in bags some places for 3-4 Bucks a bag. It is just pulverized wood and bark, in pretty small sized pieces. And if you know where your local leaf dump is, it is free for the taking, usually in a gigantic pile. It is sometimes pulverized leaves, branches and wood with bark also mixed in. Basically, your local areas township crew that get rid of scrap wood and leaves grind this stuff up and the trees they decapitate in summer with those strange bladed machines they use to badly trim trees near wires up on a pole. I don't think that trimming is right, but, none-the-less, these wood trimmings are made, so you may as well try and get them for free at the local leaf dump, and condition your soil using them as mulch on top of your soil, or mix them in, and use the beds at a later time once the wood has broken down in the soil and made it better for veggies to grow in. Of course you will need to check that PH before growing veggies. I think that depending on the wood chips/dust source, you would need to add limestone (ph too low) or sulfur, cottonseed dust, (ph too high). You would likely want to send a soil sample to your local agricultural testing facility for food gardening, and separate for woodland plants. As far as "amonium sulfate" to add some acidity to high PH soils, I think that some plants are highly sensitive to "amonium sulfate". I would use "cottonseed mill" instead, but then, it is not usually "totally" organic, because many cotton plants are "genetically modified" to resist disease and pests. And peat moss, is acidic, and would help for changing alkaline soil to a more balanced neutral soil, because it is said to be acidic, but, it is a non- renewable substance, depending on who you believe. Some folks say it is farmed from ancient bogs that will not be renewed, some say it is from Canadian bogs that are still growing the stuff continuously. I have a bale of the stuff I already bought, so will surely use the stuff up. But, wood chips and wood dust, if you can find your local leaf dump, you can help your soil for free. Or steal the neighbors leaves in fall. My town is small and boring etc. but if my town has a leaf dump, surely ya'll, I should say "yinz guys" (near Pittsburgh) surely have one. Or ask a tree trimming survice etc. Poaky1

  • kimmq

    If you own the property you may do with it as you wish, to a certain extent. However, if you do not own that property even the removal of the "duff" could be considered theft. You do not have a right to go onto property you do not own and remove anything.

    kimmq is kimmsr

  • poaky1

    OP if you can find a local leaf dump, the stuff is always free, that is usually, wood chipped up and leaves in fall. Some may be composted already, well, usually is. Good luck

  • toxcrusadr

    This is a 2.5 year old thread.

  • poaky1

    Well, Claude must've wanted more info. Sometimes an inquiry online results in showing this forum quoting info on the websearch, and thats how people find out about this site. I am figuring that more answers were hoped for, I guess.

  • Claude

    I used some forest floor duff on part of my garden when I ran out of my own home made compost (leaves, crab meal, table scraps grass clippings etc,) The part of my garden with the forest duff was much greener. It looked so healthy, so I am going to get more this summer and mix it with my compost. And since it is already composted material it won't shrink is size to much.

  • Claude

    Where I live they are continually clear cutting the wooded area to put in residential housing. All the land is going to be residential where I live so stealing a bit of forest duff is sort of like saving a drowning man.

  • toxcrusadr

    I hear you Claude. I harvested a lot of firewood and logs for the sawmill during the building boom of the 90s and 00s in my neighborhood. I would much rather those trees were left standing, but it was better than seeing them burned in a pile.

  • poaky1

    I do have to say that sometimes when a new home is built the good topsoil is removed. My best friends good topsoil disappeared, and she had clay soil on the top of most of the areas near her house. But, a distance of 15 ft from her house there was some good brown loamy soil. I experienced this on my older home in 1997. A doublewide manufactured home. They gave me crap fill consisting of glass fragments, and the ash and small stone fragments they likely got from scraping the sides of roads in winter, or whenever. The area where the home would be was surrounded with good soil, mixed with horse manure. There had been a horse pasture there for years before the double-wide was put there. WE had a full basement dug in and the masonry for the double-wide to just be put on the cement full basement. Well, anyhoo, This good soil just disappeared, I was working when the home was put upon the foundation. I must say that lots of crappy fill soil is used and good soil is likely carted away. I am very happy that my present home was built before this practice was used. If anyone thinks I am paranoid, I don't mind, but, I truly think that if you aren't there to watch things, this stuff happens. My present home is right next door to the double-wide I once lived in. So I must come to the conclusion that my good topsoil in the pasture close to my double-wide home, was moved and sold, and the crappy glass filled fill was put there. When I lived there, I tried to landscape, and I got cut by many little pieces of broken glass and pottery. I planted creeping phlox. It would bloom pink and purple in spring, and the new homeowner ripped it all out. I know it's there business, but my shredded fingertips from planting and weeding them made me want to scream. Sorry to overshare, but, anyhoo, I don't blame some people for wanting to try and get some good organic matter, especially if what they have seems to be a disappointing heap of rocky crap soil. I realize that not everyone has the good soil removed from their land, but, I am just mentioning that I know it does happen. So, if you can, watch what is being done on your property. Nobody would imagine that they would remove your good topsoil, but, they will. My current home was built in 1974, I would say that they did'nt steal good topsoil then. But, as silly as it sounds, they will scrape off good topsoil and sell it at a good price. BTW, my grandfather watched the builders like a hawk while they built my current home. Unfortunately he was killed at work, as a Penn Dot road worker. So he didn't get to oversee the whole homes construction. But, we appreciate what he had done. Sorry to make this all so sullen. But, anyhoo, if this area will soon be a concrete jungle, I say "yes" get all the humus and good stuff you can.

  • toxcrusadr

    Sorry to hear that poaky, geez if I had my nice soil replaced with crap fill full of broken glass, I would have been pretty mad too.

    If you have a contractor doing grading and foundation work, make sure that the contract specifies exactly what you want done with soil, and if you want no topsoil removed, it should probably say that. If fill or topsoil is going to come in, there should be specifications for quality, or an advance look at it.

    It's pretty common in my experience to see large subdivisions graded all at once to make lots and streets, and they pile up a mountain of topsoil. This is doled out stingily to the yards when the homes are built, but a lot of it must be hauled off and sold by the developers because what the houses get back is not nearly as thick as the native topsoil. Plus they don't have to cover the footprint of the streets and homes and driveways. So they're ripping off maybe half of it or more.

  • poaky1

    At the time I hadn't a clue to worry about that, live and learn. I am not likely to need to worry about that again. But at least mentioning it may give somebody else reading this a heads up. In my situation they didn't take any from the outter yard, but near the house is where they did it. Right where I wanted to plant things a bit out from the foundation.

  • Claude

    Common sense is all you need. The forest can share it's forest duff to improve your garden. It's like the rich sharing with the poor. The forest will recover quickly and you garden soil will be greatly improved. I don't think the forest will deteriorate in any noticeable way unless instead of "sharing" you take everything is has...then you are stealing. I say it is good for the earth as a whole to take from the forest to improve the whole planet.

  • creekhouse cache

    If you're going to compost in place use green yarrow leaves as compost booster rather than honey, which I've never heard or read of. Rather than even slightly tilling just plant then mulch to combat weeds. Easy peasy.

  • poaky1

    I've never heard about adding honey to compost either. I have collected fall leaves for several years to put in my compost tumbler as a brown and then I add fruit/veggie scraps and coffee grounds, bunny poo tea. I also add some bone/blood meal and other natural additions, BUT, I've heard that some blood/bone meals have "heavy metals" in them and other nasty things that the livestock ingests. If you listen to it all about what to do and not do it will drive you nuts. BUT, my fall leaves from MY yard I just leave in place and mow them, BUT, I am out in the sticks, so, I don't have to have a manicured lawn. I am chemical free now since I don't use Roundup anymore. I sure do HATE not being able to use it, it made life SO much easier.

    My trees leaves will NOT stay where they fall which I wish they would, BUT, too much wind that blows them away, even under the trees that aren't limbed up very far, just far enough for me to walk under them and bend over a bit, maybe 5 feet from the ground or a bit less. I wouldn't need Yarrow leaves, the bunny poo tea is high in nitrogen itself. I don't have Bunnies any more, but, I buy "bunny manure" from Ebay. When I had bunnies my compost was nice and matured quickly with the bedding added it was very nice and I had new batches within a few months, BUT, my batches were small, I used plastic giant barrels made into "tumblers'. So small batches BUT the ingredients were enough for me to get batches pretty quick. I now have those giant "Mantis" compost tumblers, and they take forever to fill up, and also without the bedding from bunnies it just doesn't get mature and usable very fast at all, I'm talking over a year. I have 2 of those giant tumblers. BUT, I add things as I get them, IF I had a giant amount of scraps etc. I could make compost MUCH faster. I would go to the "leaf dump" for my leaves. I will needs to go again this fall and get some, I wrecked my car this June, so, I will not be able to get too much leaves, my mom has to drive me around until I get another car, so, I will NOT be getting too much leaves this fall I guess. I miss my car, it was small but I could pack in just about anything I needed to. I'll be saving up my dough for another car. Fall 2020 I'll be back in business collecting plenty of leaves again.

    BTW, forest humus IS compost anyway, I think. I guess, as long as you don't go and remove a bunch of it, it should be fine. It seems that in MY experience anyway, as long as you leave the very underlying "duff" that stuff that is "lacy" or mostly decomposed, that very BOTTOM layer of fall leaf buildup, it SHOULD be fine for a reasonably small area. Maybe you can remove even that underlying layer, BUT, really I would just take the topmost layer. My 2 cents anyway.

  • Claude

    I have used forest floor residue on the garden as a mulch with great results. The apple trees loved it also. I think the forest can stand to share the wealth a little as long as you leave some behind. I am a true believer of spreading the wealth around.

  • kitasei

    I have firsthand experience culling a bit of duff from my woods to enrich my garden. The disturbance resulted in an invasion of stilt grass. Tread very carefully. Agree that some of the “do what you like” comments are depressing. Can’t we agree to work together on our number one problem to solve?

  • poaky1

    I am NOT sure what "stilt grass" is BUT, I think that nobody should take all of the fall debris buildup in the woods. Maybe just about the uppermost layer of fall leaves should be removed, as I had said before, really, IF you can find a "leaf dump" where you can collect fall leaves that would otherwise be burnt or thrown away, THAT is the best place to obtain fall leaves. Having animals like cattle, goats and even chickens and bunnies are great poop sources for great compost sources, the bedding is a great help to creating fast great compost.

  • Claude

    I agree. Moderation is the key. Forests can form anywhere if nature is left on it's own, so a little disturbance on the forest floor Is like a mosquito bite which quickly heals. Look what we've done since the white man arrived to north america. Nature has the power to heal. The forest is resilient enough.

  • kitasei

    Stilt grass is an alleopsthic invasive grass that grows in sun and shade. It deer resistant and is blanketing the floor of woodlands in the northeast WHEREVER SOIL HAS BEEN DISTURBED. So yes, carefully removing a top layer of uncomposted leaves may be harmless, but Claude Please don’t believe “mosquito bites” can’t wreak serious damage. “The forest is resilient enough” ?? Those of us on the front line of saving them - which includes gardeners who border woodlands- know better. It takes real care and knowledge to keep invasives out a forest edge. The more we know about how they work the more successful we are. For example It is tempting for new well-meaning gardeners to clear a woodland floor in anticipation of replacing it with an understory of natives, only to find that they can’t cover the bare soil fast enough to beat the new invasives. Lesson: mulch and plant as you go, even if that means s few feet a day. Example 2: well meaning gardener pilles brush and weeds in or next to woodland without taking care to first kill anything that might survive and tske off there. I beg you not to tske offense at these suggestions as being somehow political (and really how ridiculous is that) but listen to what we older gardeners have learned from experience. Let’s assume we share the same goals.

  • Claude

    I agree with your goals completely, but.... do you really think you can stop nature from making this stilt grass dominant a species and eventually taking over. It might be a lost cause and a fight that can't be won. In the end mother nature will decide, just like earth worms. They are here to stay. Nature decides what is best for this earth.

  • kitasei

    Yes, Claude, I have seen consequences of what I’ve done as a gardener both good and bad. I can say with confidence that knowledgeable prevention is far easier than restoration for a reason slightly different than your “nature knows best.” Id say that nature abhors a vacuum and will yield to the most aggressive opportunist. One of the first lessons gardeners learn is how to weed - timing is everything! Many many more lessons out to be learned are out there. I want to learn them all and hope you will too.

  • Claude

    I am too old to learn it all. But I love it when I can work with nature. I try to learn just from observing nature. I do have a lot to learn and have an open mind knowing that it is mostly trial and error.

  • Claude

    Nature does pretty good on it's own. It's probably the humans that became an invasive and destructive force on the planet...so I say try to use what nature has to give in moderation or we will be taken care of by nature.

  • toxcrusadr

    Interesting perspective in that link. I don't have stiltgrass problems but I do have bush honeysuckle which invades w/o any disturbance and takes over the entire understory near the edges of woods, shading out everything else. It's definitely a scourge on the landscape. That said, it's easy (perhaps too easy) to lump all invasive exotics in the same category. If what the article says is true, the stuff will fade away when the forest grows up, similar to the way our eastern redcedar colonizes abandoned pastures and disturbed ground but eventually gives way to oak and hickory forest.

    Not living with stiltgrass, I will refrain from giving any advice on this particular case, just thinking out loud about it.

  • poaky1

    I've seen a small amount of stiltgrass, after seeing the pic on the link provided. I had wondered IF Honeysuckles was an invasive or native. I don't mind the Honeysuckle that is at the property line near a wooded piece of property between ours and the neighbors property line. The neighbor has sheep now that he moves a rope fence around the property to eat weeds. I let him put the temporary fence so they could eat ,many of those weeds on the property line.

    Anyway, I wish I could get fall leaves to stay under my oaks. I had a few winters ago taken bags of collected leaves from the leaf dump and spread them under my Chestnut oak. it is limbed up to about 5 feet up and some hangs down to about 3 feet, BUT, the wind blows em all out from under the oak. I used to use Roundup extended that lasts 4 months to keep only the plants I wanted growing, BUT, NOW, I was told by the other family members to NEVER use Roundup again. When I had first started to grow my trees, I had thought that IF the trees are large enough and there is a great amount of shade cast by them, like my Chestnut oak, I would have NO weeds growing under them. You know, no sun, no weeds. Well, I see that is wrong.

    It sadly seems that since the white man settled in America, we have brought with us invasives as in wild boar, invasive plants and diseases. The Native Americans were great at many things that benefited the USA. They used controlled burns to avoid all the dry sticks etc that cause a GREAT out of control fire and they gardened using ways that were smart. I am pretty sure that they used their own waste to compost, BUT, I can't sight a source to prove that. They were great stewards of the land.

    I have a lot of barnyard grass, and grass that is tough, but thin leaved BUT has seedheads on it at about a foot tall and when I mow it with the tractor it takes sometimes me having to go over parts of it twice, and sometimes even if it is 6 inches tall I have to go over parts of it. My tractor can have a sharp blade just after being sharpened and still I will have to go over parts of it twice. I have places in my yard that grow super fast. I am out in the country and some is surely from barley or hay seeds blowing into my yard.

    I am going to only keep a tree or 2 that I will mulch under and try to keep weedfree. Without the Roundup it is a never ending battle.

  • toxcrusadr

    I try to minimize pesticide usage but sometimes it is a very good solution. When you consider the metric tonnage used in agriculture, a few spritzes here and there doesn't make a hill of beans difference. Under trees I'd be very careful to only use enough to wet the leaves of the weeds.

    You might try putting up a short chicken wire circle around a tree to see if it can keep the leaves in. They make 24" and 30" chicken wire. It would let the wind through but keep the leaves. Or, shred the leaves, and they don't blow as well.

  • poaky1

    Roundup is a herbicide, I use NO pesticides, never have. The Chestnut oak I mentioned has a mulch circle of ABOUT 15 feet by 15 feet, so IF I used fencing to cover that whole circumference MAYBE I could keep fall leaves from blowing away. I have a mulch circle around my Black oak, or my Quercus Velutina to be more accurate, since there IS a Southern Black oak Q. Nigra. I REALLY want to still use Roundup "extended" that lasts for 4 months with 1 application. The sprayer head is made so that it is far out from the user and I am pissed, quite frankly that my family has told me that IF they see me using Roundup again that they will dump salt all over the area that I had used Roundup on. THese family members are afraid that our pets mostly cats will get cancer from Roundup. I can see how they would get worried about it, BUT, soon after I would spray it, it will no longer be wet and able to be transferred to any animal or person. The REAL issue is that in the fields around us here grow crops that are "Roundup ready" meaning that guys come and spray the fields with Roundup on a big scale, THEN they plant their crops that will grow even IF Roundup was spread (and it was) in the feilds. It just makes it so that weeds will NOT grow. A young neighbor guy (early 30's) has Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He now has a lump in his armpit a tumor. I think that he also worked as a maintenance guy and had used Roundup on the job. He is currently suing Monsanto. I personally WOULD still use Roundup safely. I would use a mask and gloves and keep a small area weed free with the product. Using the 4 month long product, I think I could safely use it.

    Anyway, I have always collected fall leaves, BUT NOW I have no car of my own, I had a accident June 7th of this year, my little car was totaled, wrecked beyond fixing. Now I will have to ask my family to take me to the "leaf dump", I do have a couple of small bags from last fall, BUT, I am NOT expecting too much patience from the family of waiting for me to bag up leaves.

  • poaky1

    Is there a safer weed killer out there?

  • kitasei

    There’s vinegar. There’s mulch.

    Did you read today’s news about the 29% decline in birds in North America since the 1970s? Between your cats and Roundup you would seem a nice contributor. Please please wake up and think about whst you’re doing to all of us!

  • Claude

    I have used forest duff with great success. I think everyone should use it. In moderation it won't hurt a thing but it will help feed the people.

  • Claude

    humus from the forest has more variety in it than ordinary home made compost with the exception of something from the sea it is perfect for me. I add crab meal powder to the mix to make it a little better......almost perfect.

  • poaky1

    Sadly in an area close to me somebody has cut down many trees that certainly have been there for MANY years. Many White oaks (Querus Alba) and native Beech trees also some Hickory, Red oaks. I want to go and collect some of the soil there, BUT, I am now getting "rides" to places since I wrecked my car last June and can't get a car just yet, so, I am going to have to hope that I can get a ride to collect some of this soil. I have NO idea WHY these trees were cut down. This was one of the FEW places that had a group of these trees in it. Unless somebody is going to build a home on this plot, I have NO idea WHY it was cleared out, it is NOT a big plot and it is MOSTLY on a hill. It is a TINY slice of land. There are some mosses and rare plants on the hillside part of this plot of land, they will surely die IF too much sun hits them. It's kinda depressing.

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