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Old 01-10-2009, 12:04 PM   #1
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Default More on brush piles .

I found myself doing some more research on the topic of brush piles , reviewing some of the posts on Thelorax's thread at ;

Habitat Brush Piles

It seemed that there were people who lived in towns HOA's etc. where brush piles as were being discussed might not be allowed due to thier being unsightly or fire hazards , various reasons . For my part I was investigating the idea of attempting to make a exclusionary brush pile . Some websites made hints at designing brush piles that were customized somehow as to what it might attract .

Midwesternerr posted some pics at the above thread Of brush piles done by the Missouri Department of Conservation That illustrated vary well how the density of materials would favor as to wheter a fox or a snake would be inclined toward a brush pile .

I was curious if anyone had ever put chain link fencing into the layering of building a brush pile . Here on my own property , I have observed most of the birds here are capable of passing through the openings of chain link . If this were done , it would exclude a lot of possible predators of bird nests after eggs and young . Keeping out the likes of racoons , fox, skunks and the like . Rabbits are for me a nuisance here so I would desire to keep these out . I built bins for my firewood so as to keep rabbits from living there so creating habitat for them is something I wish to avoid . So would putting chain link in a brush pile make sense to others of you ?

Passing on some other things of interest I read of much of which I found of interest was making " piles " out of decorative block such as is used to make birms . Here is a number of sites that talked of " alternative " piles such as rock piles , living brush piles which were smaller trees that were partially cut through then bent down to the ground so as to be a non-flamable brush pile . Various underground dens , read through and see what you all think is viable . I think a lot of it was .

http://fw.ky.gov/pdf/brushpiles.pdf

http://extension.umd.edu/publications/PDFs/FS599.pdf

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wildlife/publ/rabitat.pdf

http://www.loudounwildlife.org/HHBrush_Pile.htm

http://www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/biology/645%20Wildlife%20Brushpile%20Jobsheet.doc
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:57 PM   #2
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Way to go lonediver! We have rock piles for snakes. I haven't added any chain link fencing to the layering of a brush pile but it looks like a sound idea depending on which critters are using the brush pile. One of my brush piles does have some chicken wire in it for added support.

I have used chain link. A pair of Mallard ducks made a nest a few feet away from one of my brush piles. The eggs in that nest would have lasted all of a few days with the raccoons in the area and cats will kill ducks just like coyotes will kill them. We put a chain link dog fence around the entire area and trained motion detection flood lights on the enclosure. We had to contain the ducks to ensure their survival by placing sheet piling over the top of the enclosure. We were lucky in that no snakes took any eggs. The eggs all hatched and one day they wanted out. We let them out and they took off for the water where their chances of survival were best. We followed behind at a distance to make sure nothing interfered with them on their way to the water.
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Old 01-10-2009, 04:05 PM   #3
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In some of the reading I did ( a LOT of sites I visited , a lot of links I did not provide above . The links above were provided because they had ideas other than the " traditional ' brush pile ) at one site , some fellow in Texas I think was removing , burning off his brush piles because of undesireables that had taken up in them . In his case I think it was racoons that were bothering him . In any case some of the earlier reading I was doing it was hinted at that it was possible to customize piles . Arizona Native Plant Society and the Tucson Herpetological Society had gotten together some time ago and made a brochure called " Where do lizards lounge ? " For some reason there site is down at the moment there is a link for that , I will get it later . But they describe building rock piles in only passing terms , briefly mentioning inserting either clay or PVC pipe into the piles . I called someone at one of the Herp chapters to get recommendations on size of pipe desired and have not gotten a good answer yet . It seemed desired sizes depending on size of reptile . I suppose that could be so .

I know that rabbits are capable of going into four inch pipe and even three inch pipe so if one is looking to exclude those something smaller than three inch would be desired . That should eliminate most mammals other than rodents ( squirels ) . Some sizes of chicken wire pose threats for some snakes , I have personally had some snakes die in chicken wire . Hung up in it and could not get out of it . So in some cases that could be good or bad .

I will be building one or two more brush piles aiming at creating habitat primarily to ground birds , quail and the like and where I failed to find anyone incorporating chain link into a structure it makes sense to me . I have seen quail go through my fence so it stands to reason that they could pass through the fabric if it is buried in the pile . Where I live there is no one to complain of what I do .

In some of the reading I did in the links above the writing of underground dens made out of buckets such as I did with the owl habitat . Not limited to buckets , utility boxes crates most anything that would provide a cavity for a critter to explore . I thought that there were sound building techniques contained within . Suggestion of some sand placed at the base of rock piles etc to accomadate drainage in wet climes . There should be something of a habitat design to fit most anyones heres requirments . I thought the living brush pile idea interesting . Any here want to discuss pros and cons of some of the ideas at those links ?
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:34 PM   #4
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One of my favorite topics. Whatdoyawant to talk about? Which link do you want to start at first?
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
One of my favorite topics. Whatdoyawant to talk about? Which link do you want to start at first?
OK Equil ,

In my case I am trying to design habitat for birds primarily (later I will look at tortises, turtles and possibly bats though it does not look encouraging for those here ) . I have read at a few sites where brush piles were eliminated because it drew "undesireables" such as skunks , racoons and the like . Not likely those would bother me here in the low desert . Rabbits have been a problem for me and I have done what I can to limit nesting places for them . I was bothered a bit when I spied some rabbits entering my burrowing owl habitat which has 4" tubing . The owl recue people assure that if/when the owls want those nests that the owls will kick them out .

Now it seems to me that a brush pile could be built/designed to keep "undesirables " out . Freal cats would possibly be another for me . I have seen the quail here go through chain link fence rather easily . So my idea is that if one were to build a brush pile as a lot of sites suggest , then taking chain link trenching it into the ground around the outside of the core stack , it would seem to me that this would be a pretty good exclusionary device .

If the core stack of alternating 4 and 6" inch logs/branches were used stacking alternating as suggested . If say the logs were cut to say a 6 foot length then stacked making a 6 foot square to a height of 3 foot . Then a piece of chain link fabric of 14 feet in length was laid over it . trenched to a foot depth on each side ( 2 feet ) the heigth of the 2 sides (3 +3 = 6 ) , the distance across the top ( 6 feet ) then 6 + 6 + 2 = 14 , then only two sides would be left remaining . Two more pieces of fabric of 3 x 6 would take care of that so a 20 foot piece of fabric would be necessary for a structure as I scaled it . These dimensions of course be changed to ones needs .

I am looking to make brush piles oriented mostly to attract ground birds such as quail . So would not my above suggested design be a sound exclusionary device as I think ?

Any other suggestions would be appreciated .
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:27 PM   #6
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Default Be careful of wild Grape on your brush pile...

Here in Ohio where hardwood forests used to dominate, things were different 150 yrs. ago. Huge native Chestnuts dwarfed the big Oaks and Ash that form the top of our mature forest today. After Chestnut blight destroyed the Chestnuts, and Dutch Elm disease the Elms, Maples proliferated wherever there was ample light, and the wild Grapes, that once grew only in natural clearings created when a great old tree fell, became rampant. The Grapes can't climb to the tops of the huge trees now absent, but they do reach the tops of all but the biggest Ash and Oak. Now, even after careful selective logging, the younger trees are covered, broken down and smothered by the mass of wild Grapes, whose seed is widely dispersed in the droppings of birds and other wildlife.

There are precious few acres left from which hardwoods are not harvested. Unless someone with a chain saw is ever vigilant, regrowth of this lower climax canopy of Oak, Ash, nut trees and Maple is stifled by the Grapes.

So I was very surprised to read a recommendation to adorn your artificial brush pile with native Grape.

Bad idea!
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:39 PM   #7
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I don't think native grape is a problem in every state, barba.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barbamaman View Post
Here in Ohio where hardwood forests used to dominate, things were different 150 yrs. ago. Huge native Chestnuts dwarfed the big Oaks and Ash that form the top of our mature forest today. After Chestnut blight destroyed the Chestnuts, and Dutch Elm disease the Elms, Maples proliferated wherever there was ample light, and the wild Grapes, that once grew only in natural clearings created when a great old tree fell, became rampant. The Grapes can't climb to the tops of the huge trees now absent, but they do reach the tops of all but the biggest Ash and Oak. Now, even after careful selective logging, the younger trees are covered, broken down and smothered by the mass of wild Grapes, whose seed is widely dispersed in the droppings of birds and other wildlife.

There are precious few acres left from which hardwoods are not harvested. Unless someone with a chain saw is ever vigilant, regrowth of this lower climax canopy of Oak, Ash, nut trees and Maple is stifled by the Grapes.

So I was very surprised to read a recommendation to adorn your artificial brush pile with native Grape.

Bad idea!
I have not put wild grape on any here , possibly one of the links I provided did . There is what is called grape ivy that is native to the southwest that I have put on one of my sagauro rib structures .

The grape ivy - cissus trifoliata accordind to the USDA is native throughout the southern US .

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CITR2

I am not familar with this wild grape you speak of in Ohio , likely would not grow here . As to anything taken from links that I posted , I was not responsible for the text in them .
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Old 01-30-2009, 03:54 PM   #9
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Oh, LDiver, I'm in no way suggesting that you are endorsing the content of your links.! Your links are very helpful, and different areas have very different circumstances. Thanks for posting them!

I onlywanted to say that while that a brushpile covered with any of the 6 species of wild grape found in Ohio (Vitis species) will be attractive and provide excellent wildlife food and cover, its seeds will be distributed widely by wildlife, and the vigorous vines do smother quite large trees. They slow natural reforestation in our area.

That's all.

Barb
From your link:
http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/for...Brush_Pile.htm

"You can also plant native vines such as trumpet vine, Virginia creeper, or wild grape to hold the pile together and make it more attractive to wildlife and more pleasing to the eye."

A Virginia link, which cites:

http://www.hsus.org/wildlife/urban_w...piles_101.html

as well as a (I think) 2 other sources, 1 based in MD.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:32 PM   #10
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Switching from terrestial habitats to marine . . Yesterday I was on an artificial reef in Puget Sound observing (not too close as they are VERY protective even small mommas) ling cod on their eggs. Underwater brush piles are a good thing as well.
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