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Old 06-19-2011, 01:57 PM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Pennsylvania

Originally Posted by jack View Post
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.

Originally Posted by jack View Post
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.
I girdled one of the blue spruce (a rather short one unfortunately), our first year here (or maybe the second). I plan to girdle the larger one beside it after the white pine(s) I've added get bigger to provide some privacy--and shelter for the birds. I think it will make a handsome snag, and if I have to wait a couple of years, that will just make it taller with a larger diameter.

Somehow a snag sticking out of a grove of white pines seems beautiful in my minds eye. I hope it turns out as well as I imagine.

Originally Posted by jack View Post
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.
My guess is that killing the main trunk will only send more energy into the shoots. I'm more familiar with the quaking aspen--which I know tend to form large colonies through suckering.

I planted my quaking aspen out in the second acre--hopefully far enough away from the house to cause any problems. There is one that planted itself near our barn/garage that is still a single trunk though it has only reached about 12 ft or so this year. I'm assuming the suckers are still to come. I'm okay with two groves...I figure I can mow down any shoots that get into the paths.

The one that came up on its own is underplanted with blueberries ( came up in the blueberry patch planted by a previous owner)...and I added a sassafras in the same vicinity. I think it is prone to suckering too. With a (currently tiny) blackgum as a backdrop, I'm expecting a rather attractive fall display. (Gee, I'm getting a bit away from the snag topic.)

At least aspen seem to create nesting sites/holes even while still alive. jack, maybe you can provide us with pictures--before and (eventually) after. You could even create a thread: "The Making of a Snag" show it from year to year and in different seasons...and pictures of what it supports...(boy, I'm making a lot of work for you!)
"If suburbia were landscaped with meadows, prairies, thickets or forests, or combinations of these, then the water would sparkle, fish would be good to eat again, birds would sing and human spirits would soar." ~ Lorrie Otto
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