Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fallen Tree Brush Piles

Not all of the brush piles I construct are the result of cedar clearing.  Occasionally a tree will fall or lose a large load of branches and I will gather them up into a small pile on the site where they fell.  I usually do this when the branches have fallen into an area that I am managing as an open field.

The result is a small pile that has a rather short life span.  While it exists, the combination of large loosely arranged branches attracts a variety of wildlife species.

Many bird species hang around the piles and leave behind the seeds contained within fruits upon which they’ve been feeding.  An eater of Multiflora Rose fruits obviously spent time here.  A shallow pile of brush provides an ideal environment for the germination of seeds and the growth of young plants.  Some very healthy rose bushes sprout from these piles.

I keep finding more roses with fresh growth.  I hope this out-of-season growth is putting some stress on the rose plant.

The roses have been removed and their remains added to the top of the pile.

Many other woody plants have taken advantage of the exceptional growing conditions within the boundaries of the brush pile.  Winged Sumac, Fragrant Sumac, Sassafras and Wild Black Cherry are sharing this pile.  These are all species that are readily spread by birds.

The Fragrant Sumac is heavily loaded with flower buds, so it should be a prime source of early spring nectar.  This will be a good place to search for some of the rarer early season butterflies.

The pile was built from the branches of this dead tree.  Woodpeckers and other cavity nesting birds made good use of the tree before it fell.  Unless there’s a safety issue involved, I’ll leave dead trees to fall naturally.  I also like to leave the trees to decompose where they fall.  While it grew, the tree took its needs from the soil on that site and I think it’s proper for the soil to receive back what it earlier gave up.

No comments:

Post a Comment