Eucalyptus Stump Remediation (Phase 2)

Early October is within our six month window to continue to track the growth of eucalyptus sprouting and possible decomposition of the inoculated stumps. The California dry season also falls within this six month window and we did not expect to see much mycelial growth, but we did notice some. Both Laetiporus gilbersonii and Trametes versicolor plus an, as yet, unidentified polypore are found growing in the immediate vicinity and in two cases on inoculated stumps. We also found mycelia growing in the inoculations.

At Redwood and Tilden Parks we weighed the removed material, at Gateway we did not. There was a surprising bit of variation in the amount of sprouting that the individual stumps produced. While an average weight of 4 pounds was typical we did find stumps that produced as much as sixteen pounds and also some that had no growth at all. This will provide us with a baseline to chart future changes.

We took GPS coordinates for future researchers to locate our site and those will be available in the near future.

Sprouting on stump
Sprouting on stump
Mycelia on stump
Mycelia on stump
Sulphur Shelf on tree
Sulphur Shelf on tree
Sulphur Shelf on stump
Sulphur Shelf on stump (2)
Turkey Tails on log
Turkey Tails on log
Unidentified polypore on stump
Unidentified polypore on stump

Eucalyptus Stump Remediation (Phase 1)

‘Better Living Through Mycology’

BAAM had an eventful April, 2016. We began initial testing of our approach to decomposing Eucalyptus stumps at three locations in the East Bay hills. We were able to partner with the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) on one of them and with the East Bay Regional Park (EBRP) system on two others. We inoculated sixty nine recently cut stumps at the three locations.

Why this is important is because the chosen method for the decomposition of eucalyptus stumps is the application of ‘Garlon’ a specialty herbicide that’s quite controversial to local communities downstream of the applied area. We hope that a successful inoculation of two locally sourced saprophytic fungi, Laetiporus gilbertsonii (Sulphur Shelf) and Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail) will shorten the decomposition time of the Eucalyptus stumps and forestall the future application of herbicide. Eucalyptus, love it or hate it, is a very successful propagator. Not only can it regenerate from cut stumps but the downed logs and even the chips have a substantially long decomposition time. Public agencies like EBMUD and EBRP feel the need to quickly reduce fuel as a means of fire suppression and also to lessen the labor load of frequent site visits to remove new sprouts originating from the stumps. A ‘natural’ method sometimes lags behind in terms of time as beneficial fungi are not always in the immediate vicinity of the cut area. If our inoculation can shorten this period than perhaps the use of Garlon type products will be used as a last resort instead of a default practice. Our goal is to move from ‘better living through chemistry’ to ‘better living through mycology’.

Our basic technique is for the cut end of the stumps to be prepared by cross-hatching grooves into them to serve as an anchoring surface for the prepared spawn to be pressed into. The spawn was prepared for us by Far West Fungi in Moss Landing who took local specimens, cultured them and grew them out on oak sawdust. The Laetiporus gilbertsonii is a cellulose decomposer and the Trametes versicolor a lignin one so we felt we could grow both together on certain stumps but we also spread our experiment around to include both single specie inoculations and controlled ‘no inoculation’ samples. In some cases we prepared eucalyptus dowels grown in myceliated spawn and plugged directly into non cut end horizontal surfaces. Afterwards we covered the working area in burlap to retain additional moisture and we tagged the stumps for data entry.

Our continued responsibility is to return every six months to monitor the sites, cut and weigh any new sprouts and keep an accurate journal of observations and conclusions we can take from this research. Hopefully, the mycelia will compare well and entities like our Park system will make it a permanent feature in their ‘best practice’ toolbox.

redwood

Bringing material to Redwood Park, Oakland site.
We also inoculated in Tilden Park, Berkeley and at the Gateway in Orinda.

tools

Some tools of the trade.

ranger

EBRP Ranger Justin Neville preparing stump.

stump

Prepared stump.

site

On site.

spawn

Breaking up spawn.

maxalan

Alan and Max pressing in spawn.

sean

Sean pounding in myceliated dowels.

Orinda Willow Planting Feb 24th

This morning a small group of us volunteered to help EBMUD with a creek restoration project in Orinda. The current landscape in Orinda has been heavily shaped and degraded by roughly a hundred years of cattle grazing. Over grazing has striped the riparian corridors of the native trees plants and shrubs which originally grew there and has left the streams prone to erosion.
We planted live willow stakes, live branch bundles and a few buckeye starts. We estimate that about 200 feet of creek bed/banks were heavily planted to jump start the regeneration of this seasonal creek. Some of the willows you see in the background were planted there fifteen years ago by the same Ranger and methods used today. This creek feeds into a larger stream that is known habitat of the steelhead trout.

We enjoyed the camaraderie and had plenty of time to speculate about new projects that we can instigate in the watershed. Thanks to Ranger Virginia of EBMUD for making it all happen. Thanks to BAAM members Mino, Ken, Ariel, Enrique, Claire, Sarah, Sean, both Michaels and both Maxs.

BAAM Crew gathering at the site
BAAM Crew gathering at the site
Ranger Virginia explaining the process
Ranger Virginia explaining the process
Willow Steaks
Willow Steaks
Buckeyes
Buckeyes
Hard at work!
Hard at work!

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