There are many different techniques a grower can use to add organic matter to improve soil. Using ramial wood chips and weeding in place are two simple ways that both work very well and are environmentally friendly.
WEEDING IN PLACE
Why throw weedy materials out when you can turn them into more biomass and nutrients for your orchard or garden? Weeding in place is when you pull a weed, and then leave it where you pulled it. Although all weedy materials can add organic matter and serve as a mulch, it may be advisable to avoid some very invasive weeds and weeds that have set seed when using this technique. In general, weeding in place can save you time and effort, reduce your waste stream, all while adding organic matter, improving microbial activity and nutrient availability in the soil.
RAMIAL WOOD CHIPS
Ramial wood chips are made from smaller diameter wood and the ends of branches. Technically, to be considered ‘ramial’, the chips need to originate from deciduous tree branches that are less than 7 centimeters in diameter. Because ramial material includes a much higher portion of leaves, inner bark, and living material, it is much higher in nutrient content than chips made from larger diameter carbon-heavy woody material.
This edition of POP TIPS prepared with assistance from POP Intern Nettie Baugher.
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