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Old 06-19-2011, 09:15 AM   #4
Great Horned Owl
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Northeastern MA

Originally Posted by Teresa View Post
After watching a couple Pileated woodpeckers this morning, thought I'd take a break from afternoon chores and see what I could find out about their nesting habits. In the process I found this great page about Snags, the wildlife benefits of them and how to create them from living trees!

Snags - The Wildlife Tree | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

I think my favorite is the photograph of the 'burned out' snag created by the homeowner that "adds an interesting and striking feature to the backyard landscape." (We had a dead poplar cut down last year and the tree people thought I was mad when I told them to just cut off enough of the top so that it wouldn't fall on the nearest outbuilding.)
I really enjoyed the article on the all=important snags. Out at the New England Wildflower Societies "Garden in the Woods," I was surprised at the grounds keepers diligence in totally eliminating the standing dead trees and questioned them about it. They claimed their number one concern was the safety of their visitors, which I could readily understand. I suggested then that perhaps they could just cut off the tree to about the ten foot level and leave a ten foot snag for wildlife and the various mosses and plant life that would call the snag their home. I got no commitment that they would begin to do it, but I planted the seed, at least.

In my own yard I corrected two mistakes from my planting past by girdling a couple of big "Heartnut" trees that I purchased from Oikos Nurseries many years ago. One of the two is now completely dead while the other managed to send up leaves again this year, as I missed a small area that the tree has been utilizing for a nutrient avenue to the soil. That has been recently corrected, and I'm confident that next year both will be standing dead wood.

This year I took a hatchet to the trunk of a big-leaved aspen that was insisting upon sending up young progeny all over my property. I just did it last week, but I made sure there would be standing dead aspen wood rather than a live tree there next year.

I love snags, and they make for fascinating objects of study.
"Know thyself."

Oracle at Delphi
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