Burning brush

kitaseiApril 5, 2014

I have masses of brush to deal with - branches and old vines. Rather than renting a chipper and making mulch of it, I'm thinking of hauling it all to the new vegetable garden I'm making and burning it there, then amending the acidic soil with the ash. Any reason why this is not a brilliant idea? Thanks.

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Air pollution. Burning that brush will generate tremendous amounts of particulate matter that will cause major breathing problems for people with respiratory diseases.
Then there are the permits you may need to burn that brush which depending on where you are may be difficult, if not impossible, to get.
Of course you could go ahead and burn without a permit but around here the fines start at $150.00 plus the cost of the fire department responding.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 6:28AM
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I wouldn't burn anything on the garden area. it will burn organic m. under the fire, and you waste organic m. from bush and vines.

I would let it dry enough to be safe to add into hugelkultur beds. And, if vines are thin, I'd use a mower to shred them. So, you don't need rent anything, and get too many benefits of burying it .

This post was edited by avgusta on Sat, Apr 5, 14 at 7:10

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 7:01AM
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I know a guy and a son who burned a brush pile, once. I guess they did not take into account the fact that poison ivy was within the pile. Of course smoke got into their eyes and they probably breathed in a little smoke. From what I understand, their eyes swelled shut, not to mention, imagine a case of poison ivy rash in your throat.
Furthermore, if you could chip it up, use the mulch as a top dress in your garden. Watch the free movie Back to Eden on Vimeo. This guy completely transforms his barren soil into black gold using wood chips as a mulch.

Here is a link that might be useful: Back to Eden

This post was edited by samdelok on Sat, Apr 5, 14 at 9:11

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:02AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

The laziest possible solution is to leave the brush pile in an out of the way corner and forget about it for a year or so. If you then go over it and remove the larger stuff to a new spot you will find a lot of lovely composty material underneath it which can go on the garden. Leave the pile again and repeat the process. If it is all organic material it will all rot eventually without any intervention.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 11:43AM
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I agree with leaving it in a pile. We get loads of tumble weeds around here of various types that move in and establish themselves where people have cleared brush but then not layered with compost or planted anything else. Even if I can remove every start from my place...they all blow in from miles away anyway! If I tried burning them all half the state would be breathing in a cloud of smoke.

Solution...I pile them up! I smash them down with the bucket of a tractor (when we can rent it, when we can't a put a pallet on top of the pile to protect myself and smash them down by stepping on the pallet).

Then I leave them! A year later the lowest layers are heavily composted. Then I start a pile right next to it. And on and on. Eventually that soil is going to be great!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 1:10PM
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david52 Zone 6

I have enough property that I just pile it all up, and the stuff on the bottom keeps getting flattened, and I add some more on top, and then now and again some guy with bucket smashes it all down, and thats been going on for 15 years.

I once made the mistake of lighting off a brush pile at 7:00 am, and everything was going fine until the wind picked up the next day, stirring up the ash and sending some burning cinders off into the dry grass, whoosh, and I had a lot of irate neighbors all trying to put out a grass fire in the wind.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 3:44PM
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OK, I have nixed the burning idea. What I've done is to use three tarps as I go to sort the branches, vines, and leaves. The leaves obviously go into the leaf-mold compost heap, which will go down quickly. The branches I will probably haul to the curb and take advantage of my town's chipping service. The vines (wisteria, ivy, bittersweet) will remain a big tumbled sculpture, I guess. They are too heavy to mow.I can use loppers to cut up enough to sink the pile somewhat.
How long will they remain flexible enough to make anything with? Is there any risk of them re-rooting and taking off again?

thanks everyone for your replies.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 12:14AM
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Why don't you just dig a trench in the garden and bury all branches and leaves there? It will decompose and feed a lot of worms and save moist right in needed place. I would be so greedy to give away any little twig to anywhere. :)))

I would wait till vines completely dry before burying them.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:12AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

Sounds like you have a great plan. My city chips yard waste too, and gives away free mulch. I never bothered buying a chipper. :-]

Not sure what to tell you on the vines. Poison Ivy will root itself but it has to be in contact with the ground. Turn that pile once or twice during the growing season, and after a few months they'll be dead as can be.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:25AM
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Yup,+1 on rotting it one way or other and if you can get free mulch from the city do as tox suggested. I would only add that tossing a few heavy limbs atop the vines will continue pressing them down until they will soon be flat on the ground.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 2:43AM
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Good suggestion about pressing down the pile with heavy limbs! i was wondering how to do that.. Now finally, what to do about massive upturned tree trunks??

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 5:12AM
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Do you have a pic of them?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 6:09AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

... what to do about massive upturned tree trunks??

Google 'stumpery' ;-)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 6:26AM
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