Permaculture Concept: Keeping Material On Site

An important self-sufficiency measure used in permaculture is using materials available on site. This can be applied to many aspects of permaculture, but at the moment we are aiming to try and keep  as much organic material on site as possible. As we moved forward with our permaculture property, we realised that there are many trees on the property that we can use for organic matter rather than importing materials from outside of the property.

We have been using a chipper to chip the material mulch so we can return carbon and nutrients to the soil. The soil is a beautiful red volcanic soil, but has a high clay content. Adding more organic matter will not go astray.

Since we bought our property we have cut down a number of small trees and a particularly large one. We cut down a large leopard tree near our back deck as it had 5 or more trunks and one fell down because it was rotten right through. To prevent the tree from falling onto our house it had to go.


As a result of cutting down the tree, it has let more morning sunlight, which passively heats our loungeroom in the winter resulting in less firewood required to keep our house warm. We decided to keep the logs to use for hugelkultur or slope stabilisation. I saw a photo recently where logs were used to build a swale and soil put on top, as giant hugelkultur. We have a large sloped area so we may incorporate it into our design.

This is the pile resulting from all of the clearing we have done so far:

At the moment we are not ready to start building soils for vegetables or fruit trees, so the mulch will be used to suppress weeds where we have cleared, and to keep the soil healthy.

There is lots of small to medium weed trees on our property, which includes Chinese Elm, Privet, Camphor Laurel and Umbrella trees. There are also 4 or 5 very large Cadaghi trees. By removing the weed trees we will prevent them being spread by birds along the creek. By the time we cut them all down and mulch them up we will have plenty of organic matter to help build our permaculture paradise.


  1. Hi Katrina,

    It looks as though you have a lot of work to do but it's going to be well worth it in the end. Looks like a lovely location.

    1. Thanks Shazza! It is a really nice place to be. We can see the potential and it will be wonderful when we are finished.

  2. It takes such a lot of work to rehabilitate blocks of land that have been left to grow wildly. Starting that cycle where natural resources are broken down to nourish the soil so you don't have to bring in fertilisers is a wise move. I will be interesting seeing what you do with your land in the coming months.

    1. Luckily for us we got in before it got too crazy! Another 5 years or so and it might have been a different story. A lot of the trees we can cut down ourselves but we will need some help with the larger ones. Its nice and cool now so we are ready to really get into it.

  3. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts Katrina and find you both very motivating. Love your blog layout.

  4. What great ideas of dealing with the pest trees! We too have a few to get rid of, however our cuttings end up on a burn heap, it never occurred to me to chip it all. My soil needs all the help it can get too!

  5. Glad I could help! We initially wanted to burn, but we have so many trees we have nowhere to burn it! Haha! So we decided chipping is the way to go.


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