Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening

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-   -   Snags & how to create them (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/landscape-garden-design/8624-snags-how-create-them.html)

Teresa 06-18-2011 02:07 PM

Snags & how to create them
 
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.)

NEWisc 06-19-2011 12:22 AM

Very informative article on snags! It was also nice to see that snags were addressed in the sense of being a desirable landscape feature. You know, I think this natural landscaping thing might just catch on! ;)
.

GardenGirl99 06-19-2011 09:13 AM

Interesting! In a nearby wild bird sanctuary there are piles of branches and logs in areas. Are these providing shelter? food? for certain birds? are they as beneficial as the standing trees? I was surprised at how dense the area is, closed off, dark, cool inside. It is in a part of a much larger park with trees walking paths and picnic areas.

jack 06-19-2011 09:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Teresa (Post 92436)
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.

havalotta 06-19-2011 09:33 AM

Welcome to the site GardenGirl99
Quote:

Originally Posted by GardenGirl99 (Post 92483)
Interesting! In a nearby wild bird sanctuary there are piles of branches and logs in areas. Are these providing shelter? food? for certain birds? are they as beneficial as the standing trees? I was surprised at how dense the area is, closed off, dark, cool inside.

Oh most definitely ALL of the above!
You will be most abundantly enlightened in reading all about the "PILES" in this link: http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/for...ogram-pap.html

dapjwy 06-19-2011 01:13 PM

Great find, Teresa!

Thank you so much for sharing. I think I will link to that article and help spread the word. :)

dapjwy 06-19-2011 01:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GardenGirl99 (Post 92483)
Interesting! In a nearby wild bird sanctuary there are piles of branches and logs in areas. Are these providing shelter? food? for certain birds? are they as beneficial as the standing trees? I was surprised at how dense the area is, closed off, dark, cool inside. It is in a part of a much larger park with trees walking paths and picnic areas.

GardenGirl,

Welcome aboard. Explore. I think you will really love it here.

Looks like havalotta beat me to it--both in welcoming you and in providing a link for you to learn more about brush piles.

Between snags and brush piles, wildlife should be drawn more and more to our property. I'm trying to increase my brush piles both in size and number. I have a couple of naturally occurring snags and some that I plan to create.

I hope you will share more here...observations, experiences, planned projects, and pictures--lots of pictures if you have them. :)

dapjwy 06-19-2011 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jack (Post 92484)
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.



Quote:

Originally Posted by jack (Post 92484)
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.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jack (Post 92484)
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 (well...it 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!) ;)

dapjwy 06-19-2011 04:47 PM

As I'm reading about how to create snags (I took a break to be outside), CNN has a segment called Restoring Nature Build a backyard habitat!

The man interviewed mentioned creating a brush pile, how mowed grass is like a dessert to wildlife*, and the anchors mentioned doing research to see what is native to your area.


*I've used that analogy myself, but now I'm thinking that a dessert is a unique habitat that supports a lot of life...but to the general public, I bet it is still a good analogy.

dapjwy 06-19-2011 04:49 PM

I really love the jagged look done with a chainsaw in the one picture.

I didn't realize girdling the tree near the base was the least ideal way to create a snag--I did that with the small blue spruce. I'll probably attack the large one with a better method. :)

Thanks, again, Teresa for the great link!

havalotta 06-19-2011 05:25 PM

Weed wackers do a good job at cutting through the bark....
Believe me, our young grass cutter has done a wonderful job killing our....... wanted species!
Give it a try on what you REALLY want killed.

dapjwy 06-19-2011 07:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by havalotta (Post 92504)
Weed wackers do a good job at cutting through the bark....
Believe me, our young grass cutter has done a wonderful job killing our....... wanted species!
Give it a try on what you REALLY want killed.

LOL! Good point. (...and sorry you lost so many that you wanted.)

dapjwy 09-11-2011 04:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 92502)
*I've used that analogy myself, but now I'm thinking that a dessert is a unique habitat that supports a lot of life...but to the general public, I bet it is still a good analogy.


I was searching for this tread, came across a comment I'd posted earlier, and cringed when I saw my spelling error. Too late to edit the post--that button is long gone...but I'm so anal, I had to at least comment that I know how to spell desert...I was probably just craving dessert at the time of posting! ;)

dapjwy 09-11-2011 05:11 PM

Urgent (well, time sensitive anyway)
 
Anyway, the reason I was searching for this thread is that I have an opportunity to turn what will be left of a huge tree into a small, yet thick snag. Although I hate cutting down trees, this one *has to go*. It is much too close to the house, is damaging our roof, and sending suckers up all over the yard...here's hoping it hasn't reached the septic drainage field yet.

We are in the process of getting a new roof put on (seven days straight of rain did nothing to speed up the process). In addition to that, we are having this enormous tree cut down... unfortunately, my car decided to die on me during this same week...and while looking for a replacement, Jeff's car overheated and is now in the shop. ~sigh~ We are carless, but luckily have good friends who are helping us out a LOT (even lending us one of their vehicles for now). ...But, as so often happens with me, I digress.

...The final stage of the tree's removal is supposed to happen tomorrow (this was a 3-day process that spanned more than a weeks time). Originally, I'd asked the tree service guy to leave about 8-12 feet of the trunk standing so that I could carve it into a more attractive shape. (I've no experience carving and have never touched a chainsaw in my life--however, I do have an artistic background...I also have a mild fear of heights...maybe "mild +". I'd *LOVE* to carve this into something attractive that will benefit wildlife. The problem is I am not sure that I will be able to achieve the dream, and I may end up with an eyesore. :( The guy would have to cut it off at around 15 ft...or as flush to the ground as he can. I'm concerned that I can't be up that high--wielding a chainsaw no less.

My neighbor says that if the guy drops the tree, then I carve it on terra firma, he'll get his backhoe in to help me set it upright--once he gets it fixed. I'm so unsure what to do with this...any advice would be appreciated. I've got to let him know for sure by tomorrow morning...so this is kind of time sensitive.
I'd hate to lose an opportunity to create something beautiful and useful, but I'd also hate to have an eyesore that close to the house. (the height can't be any higher without risking it falling onto the house.

jack 09-11-2011 05:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 99269)
Anyway, the reason I was searching for this thread is that I have an opportunity to turn what will be left of a huge tree into a small, yet thick snag. Although I hate cutting down trees, this one *has to go*. It is much too close to the house, is damaging our roof, and sending suckers up all over the yard...here's hoping it hasn't reached the septic drainage field yet.

We are in the process of getting a new roof put on (seven days straight of rain did nothing to speed up the process). In addition to that, we are having this enormous tree cut down... unfortunately, my car decided to die on me during this same week...and while looking for a replacement, Jeff's car overheated and is now in the shop. ~sigh~ We are carless, but luckily have good friends who are helping us out a LOT (even lending us one of their vehicles for now). ...But, as so often happens with me, I digress.

...The final stage of the tree's removal is supposed to happen tomorrow (this was a 3-day process that spanned more than a weeks time). Originally, I'd asked the tree service guy to leave about 8-12 feet of the trunk standing so that I could carve it into a more attractive shape. (I've no experience carving and have never touched a chainsaw in my life--however, I do have an artistic background...I also have a mild fear of heights...maybe "mild +". I'd *LOVE* to carve this into something attractive that will benefit wildlife. The problem is I am not sure that I will be able to achieve the dream, and I may end up with an eyesore. :( The guy would have to cut it off at around 15 ft...or as flush to the ground as he can. I'm concerned that I can't be up that high--wielding a chainsaw no less.

My neighbor says that if the guy drops the tree, then I carve it on terra firma, he'll get his backhoe in to help me set it upright--once he gets it fixed. I'm so unsure what to do with this...any advice would be appreciated. I've got to let him know for sure by tomorrow morning...so this is kind of time sensitive.
I'd hate to lose an opportunity to create something beautiful and useful, but I'd also hate to have an eyesore that close to the house. (the height can't be any higher without risking it falling onto the house.

Leaving the fifteen feet rooted will leave a nice snag. The rest you can cut into long sections and use them to border your flower gardens. Wood like that lying on the ground is also of great value to wildlife.

The branches at the top I would recommend using cleavers on. They, of course, go onto your brush pile. Hence, you'll have a fifteen foot snag, wildlife and fungus friendly borders for your path thru your meadow, and additions for your brush pile at an important time, as the harsh weather it will provide shelter from is soon to be here.

Alas, when I read the first few words of your post, I though you were going to be talking about another tree... :tease

dapjwy 09-11-2011 05:41 PM

Many branches will be chipped and used to smother the crownvetch that is taking over a section of the future meadow. Other branches, I've pulled out to use in another brush pile.

I plan to use some larger longs in the woodland, and perhaps I could add some to the meadow as well. My concern is that I can actually make it look like something attractive. I *think* I have the skill...but not sure I have the nerve to be up that high. I've I *can't* then, we'll have not only an eyesore, but also one that is resprouting to wreak more havoc.

dapjwy 09-11-2011 05:47 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Perhaps understanding the sheer size of this would help:

jack 09-11-2011 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 99275)
Perhaps understanding the sheer size of this would help:

That's going to make an interestingly shaped snag just as it is at fifteen feet. It has all that can interest the observer, and it will be a delight with all of those nooks and crannies for the wildlife. Nature has already artistically shaped that soon to be snag!

If you're concerned about it sending up sprouts, girdle it at about seven inches from the earth line.

You will have a lot of wood to decay through the years. That will be great for the fungus population of your property. Fungus rules what happens in the world of flora.

dapjwy 09-11-2011 06:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jack (Post 99278)
That's going to make an interestingly shaped snag just as it is at fifteen feet.


With it being cut flush on top, it will not look very natural. I plan to remedy that *if* I can get up that high with a chainsaw.

dapjwy 09-11-2011 06:52 PM

Thanks...I had gone up a ways (not too far) on a ladder and began having second thoughts. The tree guy would've like to leave it up even higher--but there is no way I'd get up that high...and if it fell it would surely hit the house. I had second thoughts and finally told him to take it down to the ground and I'd do my best to carve what was left into something--almost immediately I began to regret it and decided that I want to give my original idea a chance. Thanks to you and that article, I just called him back and told him to leave it as originally planned.

I mentioned that leaving it jagged would be better for me than a flush cut...but I'm not sure he'll be able to do that...oh well. I'd rather err on the side of a big snag than regret not having it there. $#!+! I really better be able to do this!

dapjwy 09-11-2011 06:56 PM

Do me a favor, Jack...no pressure on this one, okay?

I never planned on mentioning it until *after* I did it, but needed someone to reassure me that this was the way to go.

(I'm pretty stressed out with everything that is going on right now. I'm not even sure how I'm getting to work tomorrow.)

jack 09-11-2011 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 99284)
Do me a favor, Jack...no pressure on this one, okay?

I never planned on mentioning it until *after* I did it, but needed someone to reassure me that this was the way to go.

(I'm pretty stressed out with everything that is going on right now. I'm not even sure how I'm getting to work tomorrow.)

I was just rereading my posts on the thread and can't see any sign of pressure coming from this direction - only answering your query with suggestions. Good luck with your project.

dapjwy 09-11-2011 07:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jack (Post 99285)
I was just rereading my posts on the thread and can't see any sign of pressure coming from this direction - only answering your query with suggestions. Good luck with your project.


...No, that's not what I meant. There was no pressure coming from your posts. I am just thinking about the pond and the J. maple...I don't want you to add "Did you carve that snag yet?" kind of comments! :) (I'm rather stressed out at the moment and kind of concerned that I won't be able to do it--I don't even own a chainsaw...and I don't know how I'm gonna handle using one 15 ft. up.)

Thank you for the wish of luck.

Teresa 09-12-2011 06:37 AM

At 15 feet, you're going to have a great view of what's happening there from the upstairs windows!

Don't worry about it being cut level at the top--rain water will pool up there and soften the wood and eventually nature will take care of those flat edges.

All those side branches that have been cut will provide abundant places for interesting things to happen!

Another thing you could always do is grow a nice native vine up the tree, though I happen to like it as-is, or as-will-be. . .

Please post some 'after' pictures.

havalotta 09-12-2011 10:14 AM

I'd leave it...Give carving a try as high as you feel comfortable with (practicing on the less viewable side first) and if you think it an eyesore.... whack and hack the design away vertically to create areas of interest for the critters. Grooves and pockets facing the house would be nice and provide interesting areas for the critters to use and you to view.

dapjwy 09-12-2011 08:09 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Teresa (Post 99307)
At 15 feet, you're going to have a great view of what's happening there from the upstairs windows!

Thanks, Teresa! I am so glad you posted this thread in the first place.

I agree completely...that was part of the plan...not only great views, but hopefully I'll get some great photos as well--especially if I can make it look more like a natural snag (I like my pictures to look natural without man made things intruding.).

(I guess I'd better start washing the windows more often if I plan to get some good pictures! ;) )


Quote:

Originally Posted by Teresa (Post 99307)

Don't worry about it being cut level at the top--rain water will pool up there and soften the wood and eventually nature will take care of those flat edges.


All those side branches that have been cut will provide abundant places for interesting things to happen!

I hope I can speed up the process to make it look better without the wait.

Yup, I hope to make something nice with with the nubs of the branches...and use the branches themselves to make one hell of a brushpile!



Quote:

Originally Posted by Teresa (Post 99307)

Another thing you could always do is grow a nice native vine up the tree, though I happen to like it as-is, or as-will-be. . .

Please post some 'after' pictures.

Yes, I'm thinking of keeping it "as-will-be" without a vine probably...unless I find I end up having to cover up an eyesore!

As for pictures, it is too dark to take them...LUCKILY, Jeff took a shot or two with his cell phone. (I'll post one here.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by havalotta (Post 99311)
I'd leave it...Give carving a try as high as you feel comfortable with (practicing on the less viewable side first) and if you think it an eyesore.... whack and hack the design away vertically to create areas of interest for the critters. Grooves and pockets facing the house would be nice and provide interesting areas for the critters to use and you to view.

I think I'll try practicing on some of the huge chunks of the trunk that are on ground level...then, when I feel comfortable, confident I'll do the front--perhaps leaving the back less finished if necessary. (I'm *hoping* to create some roosting spots for bats (and perhaps a brown creeper that I saw on the trunk last year). The article explains how to make it most enticing to them.

I am SO glad that I called the man back and went with my original plan. I'd have been kicking myself if I had to try to put it upright with the help of the neighbors backhoe!

I hope I can create those interesting areas for the critters and get some photos of them to boot.

havalotta 09-13-2011 04:52 PM

I like the chunk you?re standing upon.
I'd stand that one up in the ground alongside the original one too!

dapjwy 09-13-2011 07:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by havalotta (Post 99367)
I like the chunk you?re standing upon.
I'd stand that one up in the ground alongside the original one too!


Yes, that is me. ~blush~

I like it too...but I want it cut into something more manageable. Then I'd like to create/carve something out of it to sit at the base of the other one...not so tall and no need to bury it. We'll see.

Also, I'd like to put a big chunk in the woods and maybe something in the meadow. Some logs in the woods would be great as well. That would make them feel more like a real woodland, provide some nurse logs, and provide for wildlife...and fungi.

scarecrowsdrm 09-13-2011 09:45 PM

A drought snag
 
1 Attachment(s)
Snags have been one of my favorite things in our habitat and are great for the red-bellied woodpeckers. I have even seen a pileated a few times, usually more common east of here where there are more pines and hardwoods. In the past we have had plenty of room for snags, but now I have a bunch more than I need, caused by the drought. The habitat now is, as my neighbor succinctly put it, a "fire hazard". We are doing the best we can, with areas kept open on our place, plus some new firebreaks I hope to have put in as soon as possible. It's a real tinderbox, but fortunately we are surrounded by open pastureland.

NEWisc 09-14-2011 10:06 AM

Just a quick note to ease your mind about carving with a chainsaw 15' up. I've spent a lot of time behind a chainsaw (with the scars to prove it) and I wouldn't want to try carving off of a ladder either. Think scaffolding. It gives you a solid flat surface to stand on. You can usually rent scaffolding for a reasonable price from hardware or building supply stores; or if you know a contractor you might even be able to borrow some at no cost.

And don't worry about what it will look like; you can always whack it off later and turn it into a stand for a bird bath. Or if you really want to go crazy, by boring a few holes and some creative use of plumbing, you could use it for the water "source" of your pond/stream project. It could look like you were tapping a maple tree for maple syrup, except that the "maple sap" would be the water source for your water feature. ;)

havalotta 09-14-2011 10:13 AM

Great suggestion NEWisc!

NEWisc 09-14-2011 11:34 AM

One more thought on your snag project. The carving part does not need to be elaborate. Conceptually you could look at the carving part as a finishing touch instead of a major undertaking. Think of how a simple border or a small sign completes a rustic prairie planting in a formal landscape. A small carving or a simple phrase carved in the trunk could be all that you need. It could be the element that says 'this is done', 'this is what I intended' 'this is what I want'.

An example of a simple carving could be a woodpecker with a grub in it's beak. An example of a simple phrase could be 'Got Snag?' 'Got Habitat?' or 'Bringing Nature Home'. I'm sure you can think of some better examples, but hopefully those will give you some ideas to make your project feel more manageable.

dapjwy 09-14-2011 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scarecrowsdrm (Post 99382)
Snags have been one of my favorite things in our habitat and are great for the red-bellied woodpeckers.

I'd *love* to see some woodpeckers and other wildlife close up on the new snag...and get photos as well.

Quote:

Originally Posted by scarecrowsdrm (Post 99382)

In the past we have had plenty of room for snags, but now I have a bunch more than I need, caused by the drought. The habitat now is, as my neighbor succinctly put it, a "fire hazard". We are doing the best we can, with areas kept open on our place, plus some new firebreaks I hope to have put in as soon as possible. It's a real tinderbox, but fortunately we are surrounded by open pastureland.

I'm so sorry to hear that you are losing so many trees. Sorry about the "fire hazard", but glad to know you are doing what you can to remedy that and still keep the wildlife value.

dapjwy 09-14-2011 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NEWisc (Post 99405)
Just a quick note to ease your mind about carving with a chainsaw 15' up. I've spent a lot of time behind a chainsaw (with the scars to prove it) and I wouldn't want to try carving off of a ladder either. Think scaffolding. It gives you a solid flat surface to stand on. You can usually rent scaffolding for a reasonable price from hardware or building supply stores; or if you know a contractor you might even be able to borrow some at no cost.

I was thinking of building a platform that I could attach directly to the tree so I'd feel secure. Thanks for the suggestion of *renting* scaffolding...I may end up trying that...although a friend made a suggestion to me during a phone conversation tonight: Perhaps I could barter with a chainsaw carver by offering him a huge chunk of the fallen trunk for a project he could sell in exchange for carving my design for me. (not sure I want to do that, but it is an option.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by NEWisc (Post 99405)
... if you really want to go crazy, by boring a few holes and some creative use of plumbing, you could use it for the water "source" of your pond/stream project. It could look like you were tapping a maple tree for maple syrup, except that the "maple sap" would be the water source for your water feature. ;)

LOL! That brings an amusing image to my mind. :)

dapjwy 09-14-2011 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NEWisc (Post 99417)
One more thought on your snag project. The carving part does not need to be elaborate. Conceptually you could look at the carving part as a finishing touch instead of a major undertaking. Think of how a simple border or a small sign completes a rustic prairie planting in a formal landscape. A small carving or a simple phrase carved in the trunk could be all that you need. It could be the element that says 'this is done', 'this is what I intended' 'this is what I want'.

I like how you think--I like the "this is what I intended" idea. If I can do even SOME of what I have pictured, it will look more intentional.

Quote:

Originally Posted by NEWisc (Post 99417)

An example of a simple carving could be a woodpecker with a grub in it's beak. An example of a simple phrase could be 'Got Snag?' 'Got Habitat?' or 'Bringing Nature Home'. I'm sure you can think of some better examples, but hopefully those will give you some ideas to make your project feel more manageable.

I actually did consider creating a sign hanging from a "branch" (that I'd have to carve out)...but I usually don't like anything man made. I love your *idea* and I bet a lot of people would jump at the idea, but I may scrap my sign idea and keep it totally natural looking.

scarecrowsdrm 09-14-2011 09:20 PM

Quote:

I'm so sorry to hear that you are losing so many trees. Sorry about the "fire hazard", but glad to know you are doing what you can to remedy that and still keep the wildlife value.
Thanks for your support, Dap,--means a lot to me! Looks like you have some interesting "snag as art" projects of your own. Hope to see some pics when you come up with something in your creative explorations! :spin

dapjwy 09-14-2011 09:24 PM

2 Attachment(s)
We finally got a car today...~whew~ ...the other car is still in the garage being fixed...but things are looking up.

I'm finally taking the time to upload a picture or two. The drawings are some rough ideas I sketched out while playing cards with friends two weeks ago.

havalotta 09-14-2011 09:42 PM

I'm going for it... You're going to get my first HO ever.
I'm liking the first drawing. The second one's a bit too busy. IMHO :)

papercarver 09-15-2011 11:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 99448)
We finally got a car today...~whew~ ...the other car is still in the garage being fixed...but things are looking up.

I'm finally taking the time to upload a picture or two. The drawings are some rough ideas I sketched out while playing cards with friends two weeks ago.

Congratulations on the car solution - I just went through this myself and I can ENTIRELY sympathize with how stressful it is to be figuring out how you're going to get to work, etc...

I think the idea of trading with a chainsaw artist is a TERRIFIC idea : although I have never carved with a chainsaw, I've done some carving and I seriously doubt that you will be able to get the detail that you would like (guessing from your sketches) unless you have a good deal of experience doing this kind of carving.

Also, what NEWisc said is absolutely dead on:

The carving part does not need to be elaborate. Conceptually you could look at the carving part as a finishing touch instead of a major undertaking...It could be the element that says 'this is done', 'this is what I intended' 'this is what I want'.

Rather than making your carving design as detailed as you have it, how about keeping the broader gestures and making it more abstract?

papercarver 09-15-2011 11:45 AM

garden sculpture inspired by snags
 
3 Attachment(s)
I just installed this piece in a sculpture show in Newburyport, MA. It is sized for a small garden site (about 7 feet tall) and was inspired by the use of snags in my yard by birds and dragonflies for perching...

havalotta 09-15-2011 01:23 PM

Cool! The middle photo almost looks deer like with lots of vertebrae.

BooBooBearBecky 09-15-2011 02:48 PM

Papercarver, OMG those artistic snags you made are so coooooool!!!! Wow! I love what you did with deadfall wood. Amazing!!!!
May I ask what is holding it all together? Is that rebar?

jack 09-15-2011 03:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by papercarver (Post 99476)
I just installed this piece in a sculpture show in Newburyport, MA. It is sized for a small garden site (about 7 feet tall) and was inspired by the use of snags in my yard by birds and dragonflies for perching...


Great artful perch!!! I can see one in front of my feeders, someplace close to the pond. Great for birds and dragonflies!!! Nice job, carver! :)

turttle 09-15-2011 05:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 99446)
I like how you think--I like the "this is what I intended" idea. If I can do even SOME of what I have pictured, it will look more intentional.



I actually did consider creating a sign hanging from a "branch" (that I'd have to carve out)...but I usually don't like anything man made. I love your *idea* and I bet a lot of people would jump at the idea, but I may scrap my sign idea and keep it totally natural looking.

dapjwy,

Chainsaws are dangerous tools. No amount of art is worth losing a finger, an arm or a foot or whatever, from trying to use one if you are not already skilled with it high up on a snag. The instructions on them specifically tell you not to use them over your head, because you can overbalance. They are heavy. Your back, shoulders and arms will be sore from heavy weight held at weird angles, then vibrating.

Let it weather awhile. Nature will take care of it and it will look much better than what you could achieve trying to make it look "natural". Be one with your snag. Meditate on it. Consider all the possiblities long enough that moss starts to grow, the birds start to peck at it, the carpenter bees start to nest, the vines start growing all on their own. Plant a few shrubs by the base, perhaps. By then, you'll be happy with how it looks and you will have saved yourself a great deal of stress and possibly an injury.

Truly, speaking as someone who has worked emergency room shifts, it isn't worth the chance. If you insist on trying it, do it on scaffolding, wear your protective gear and absolutely have someone up there assisting you.

scarecrowsdrm 09-15-2011 07:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by papercarver (Post 99476)
I just installed this piece in a sculpture show in Newburyport, MA. It is sized for a small garden site (about 7 feet tall) and was inspired by the use of snags in my yard by birds and dragonflies for perching...

Wow, that is a unique piece! There is so much creativity in this group!

scarecrowsdrm 09-15-2011 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 99448)
I'm finally taking the time to upload a picture or two. The drawings are some rough ideas I sketched out while playing cards with friends two weeks ago.

I like the first drawing best, too, Dap--- though both have a lot of character and I am looking forward to whatever you come up with!

dapjwy 09-15-2011 07:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by papercarver (Post 99475)
Congratulations on the car solution - I just went through this myself and I can ENTIRELY sympathize with how stressful it is to be figuring out how you're going to get to work, etc...

Thank you.

It was more stressful than I thought it would be...glad it is nearly over. Thankfully, we had some kind and generous friends helping us out.

Quote:

Originally Posted by papercarver (Post 99475)
I think the idea of trading with a chainsaw artist is a TERRIFIC idea : although I have never carved with a chainsaw, I've done some carving and I seriously doubt that you will be able to get the detail that you would like (guessing from your sketches) unless you have a good deal of experience doing this kind of carving...

Rather than making your carving design as detailed as you have it, how about keeping the broader gestures and making it more abstract?

Although I'd like to do it myself, I think bartering would make more sense.

I agree that it would not have to be as detailed as I sketched...but I would want to make the top look more like a snag than a stump. As long as it looks more like a natural snag, I'll be happy.

dapjwy 09-15-2011 08:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scarecrowsdrm (Post 99532)
I like the first drawing best, too, Dap--- though both have a lot of character and I am looking forward to whatever you come up with!


Thanks, scarecrowsdrm! :) That is the first one I doodled, I like it best too, but I think I'd like to modify it a little to have a horizontal "branch" near the top.

I hope it will work out some how. Even it it looks a lot more natural than it does now, I should be happy.

dapjwy 09-15-2011 08:16 PM

I nearly missed several responses, but after switching modes and looking back, I think I read them all. Thank you all for the great comments.

I agree, havalotta the first seems best. Who knows what it will look like if it ever gets carved...but at least you know what I'm trying for.

Thanks again to everyone for your comments and input.

Quote:

Originally Posted by papercarver (Post 99476)
I just installed this piece in a sculpture show in Newburyport, MA. It is sized for a small garden site (about 7 feet tall) and was inspired by the use of snags in my yard by birds and dragonflies for perching...

WOW! That is pretty amazing looking. At first I thought it extended to the ground almost like a long winding fence. That is quite cool.

Great responses from everyone...I agree: *lots* of creativity here.

papercarver 09-16-2011 08:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BooBooBearBecky (Post 99488)
Papercarver, OMG those artistic snags you made are so coooooool!!!! Wow! I love what you did with deadfall wood. Amazing!!!!
May I ask what is holding it all together? Is that rebar?

Thanks BBBBecky and everyone else for your kind comments!

Here's how I made the piece (in case any of you want to try it at home):

The base is a 6' length of driftwood buried about 8" into the ground (but with a 5/8" diameter rod of aluminum pipe mounted into it and sticking another 12" into the ground to keep it sturdy).

Stuck into the top of the base is an 18" tall piece of pitch pine snag (the driftwood and pine are stuck together by a 5/8" dowel peg, so the top can come off).

There is a 1/4" hole drilled through the pitch pine, through which a 5/16" length of steel rod has been run.

I cut different lengths of downed branches (courtesy of Hurricane Irene) and drilled 5/16" holes through their centers and strung them like beads on the steel rod. The is a small piece of duct tape wrapped around the tips of the rod to keep the branches from sliding off.

Admittedly it is not as useful as a *real* snag (no shelter), but I think it suits a small garden space and because the branches are already on their way to rotten (and many covered in lichen), they should be harboring an insect snack or two...


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