ECO-Tours are conceived as tools to help our guests to develop a deeper understanding of themselves, their relationships and their “place” on planet earth. When we began to organize ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. our founders planned to make most of our tours tree planting events. We started by reforesting denuded acres in and around Northeast Wisconsin using native tree species. Wisconsin, as many other places around the planet, has had over 90% of the native forest removed. nearly any direction you turn your head are places that need trees. we have run hundreds of tree planting events over the years and there seems to be no end to the areas that still need basic recovery efforts. As we realize more and more,we don’t just need to add trees, we frequently need to do significant remediation of soils and then planting.
We are seeking to purchase some of our first major tools for soil remediation and if you have ever seen or used a good one, you can get some idea of how badly broadforks are needed. Our wish list includes five of these wonderful soil breaking tools. Total cost about $1,000. These five implements will allow us to begin the first step in soil remediation, breaking through the hard pan and compaction that most ruined land has had to endure. One of the most significant areas that we have been planting on has the terrible history of being compacted clay that had ceased to be able to support agriculture. the first three years that we tried planting, less than half of the trees we put in made it. The more we break the soil surface, allowing air and water in, the better the soil becomes and the more survival we have on our precious transplants.
By the time we get a seedling purchased, potted and placed in it’s ultimate home, we have spent over ten dollars to get it that far. Losing half immediately raises the “cost” of each tree to twenty dollars. with our limited budget and all volunteer staff, we seek to prepare our planting areas as best we can to assure survival of as many of our seedlings as possible.
We do have a local source for our broadforks, and would love for you to have a chance to experience them. As usual, we must buy a few to share the experience with others. Getting one for personal use is the fastest way to aerate and break virgin soil, compacted soil and loosen weedy material without harming roots of larger trees. Think caress the soil, not turn it. Like the first few passes when brushing a matted dog, or a tangled beard, the action is a gentle rocking, step, lean, pull, move forward, step, lean, pull, move forward. The step drives half a dozen nine inch tines into the soil, the lean is a leaning back motion that just breaks the soil and fractures it, then the device is pulled out and moved forward a foot or so and the process is repeated.
If you happen to be in Northeast Wisconsin, the best source for these tools that I have found is Gulland Forge and their products can be purchased through cobrahead.com Watch here to see how to use broadfork and cobrahead cultivator.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=moMH9uFP4Rg