When we bought the property, which would eventually become our home and the base for Designing Eden, we had quite a bit of woods on the 10 acres. The woods were composed of both hardwoods and Red Pines. Within a couple of years of purchasing the property, the Red Pine began to fall. Over the last decade we’ve had hundreds of tall pines fall. The dilemma becomes what to do with all this wood. By the time these trees fall they are water logged and usually rotten. They can’t be burned, they can’t be milled into lumber, they can’t be split and these logs can’t be chipped. About 10 years ago, I spent a winter cutting, stacking and piling up the logs to clear the land. When all was said and done, I ended up with a pile about 6′ high, 20′ wide and over 120′ long. I ended up hiring a tub grinder which made short work of the pile that took me months to build. After a day and a half of grinding, I was left with a huge pile of chips.
That pile of pine chips needed 8 years before it broke down enough so I could start using it as a soil amendment for new gardens. Since then I’ve been collecting and piling more pine. This time around I decided a different approach was needed. I rented a 30 yard dumpster, filled it and it was brought to a recycling center. I wish I could say that one dumpster was all that was needed. I’m thinking two more dumpsters will be needed to remove the remaining logs.
Keeping the forest floor clean has allowed me to turn a once impenetrable piece of property into a positive space. This is how the area looks currently. A mix of hardwoods with a fern understory. This native planting was created with the fast spreading Hayscented fern. Yes, Red Pines still exist, but every year a couple more come crashing to the ground. At some point, all the Red Pines will be gone, all the hard work will be done and I’ll have a beautiful, low maintenance, deer resistant, and sustainable garden to enjoy.