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Alternative to burning: environmentally sound disposal for wood chips
Date:9/29/2008

LAS CRUCES, NM Pecan and other hickory woods are the third most popular hardwood group in the United States, behind only black walnut and black cherry. Used in production of beautiful hardwood flooring and furniture, pecan is highly valued for its durability and strength.

The pruned wood of pecan, a byproduct of forested trees, is usually burned as an economical means of disposal. Increasingly though, pruned pecan is being chipped and incorporated into the soil as an environmentally viable method of handling the waste. Although more expensive than burning, chipping and soil incorporation avoid burning controls recently imposed by many states and the Environmental Protection Agency. To adhere to current EPA regulations, more producers are looking to chipping and incorporation of pruned wood as an alternative to burning. The practice has gained acceptance in many areas of the United States, including the San Joaquin Valley California, where strict environmental regulations have forced growers to adopt alternative ways to deal with waste.

Mohammed B. Tahboub, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University, William C. Lindemann, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University, and Leigh Murray, Department of Statistics, Kansas State University, recently published a research study they designed to determine how pecan wood incorporation into the soil would affect soil organic matter content, chemical and physical properties, and whether this practice might present an alternative to burning.

The research study involved incorporating pecan chips into silty clay soil at differing rates. Results indicated that incorporating pecan chips had little effect on soil moisture content, but the soil had an inherently high capacity to hold water. Pecan wood chip incorporation significantly increased soil organic matter content and aggregate stability, particularly at the higher application rates and with re
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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