Little did we know when we started doing the fire mitigation on the homestead that it would produce so many branches to get rid of!
So we came up with a few uses for them. Mostly chipped.
The chipping process involves someone else's machine to dispose of them.
With fire a real danger, we didn't want to just pile the chips to be dealt with later. A pile of wood chippings can get so hot, it will burst into flames. Not something you want when you live in the bush (or anywhere else, for that matter).
These are different from the wood chips you can get from a sawmill, because they have the green parts still attached. This is the part that gets hot.
Chipping the branches gives us a great material to work with; it can be spread in a thin layer on the roadways and hillside to prevent the soil from washing away, and at the same time conserve a bit of moisture.
They can also be used in a pit for the start of a hugelkultur bed. The bigger the pieces, the longer they take to break down.
Other ways to prevent the soil from washing away is to stick willow cuttings on the side of a stream, or somewhere that water tends to run in a rainstorm. The roots will hold the soil in place, and prevent it eroding.
Mulching prevents the soil from washing away in your vegetable garden. This is important if you live in a wet climate, with heavy rainfall. There are lots of mulches to choose from.
In the fall, after you've harvested the vegetable garden, plant some cover crops to keep the soil from eroding. You can plant many cover crops or green manures between crops too, both to protect the soil and to add fertility to it.