Make dead wood wildlife habitats
We’ve lost lots of mature trees and dead wood from our environment. Even when they’re dead, trees are really valuable to many bug and fungi species which rely on them for food and shelter.
Bigger creatures like to hide among them, too. By creating a log-pile in your garden, you can help nature hang on. Stack up dead wood anywhere in your garden and you’ll be doing something really easy that’s great for wildlife.
Ask you gardener or tree surgeon to create dead wood piles, it will save money transporting tree waste to be processed off site. Not to mention the obvious reduction in the carbon footprint for the job!
Smaller branches can be wood-chipped and spread on beds and borders.
Logs can be used as features all over the garden, as stumperies, pot stands, pathways etc.
Here is some advice from BugLife on making your own dead wood wildlife habitat.
Get a few logs and pile them up horizontally. Wait a few weeks and turn some over. Wow, what a lot of bugs! If you put some log piles in the shade (e.g. under a bush) and some in the sun, you will get different creatures living in the different log piles.
Dig a hole in the ground. ‘Plant’ your logs in it, orientated vertically, so that half the log is in the hole. Pack soil in the gaps of the hole to bury the bases of the logs. This will support species like Stag beetle that like damp submerged dead wood. Stumperies are strongly recommended if you live in Stag beetle hotspots such as the New Forest, Home Counties and East Suffolk.
It is easy to buy off-the-peg bee hotels, but some of the best examples have been DIY jobs and they can look really interesting too. Find a sunny bit of your garden and set some taller logs or wooden posts of perhaps 2 metres length into the ground in an upright position. Find a drill with lots of drill bits and drill away! Make sure you concentrate of the sunny side, because that is where the bees prefer to nest. Smaller sorts of bees such as yellow-faced bees will use holes 2-3mm across, and larger ones such as leafcutters, masons, and wool-carders will use the larger holes of 8-10mm diameter. The challenge is then to provide the flowers that these bees like.
Need to fell a garden tree?
If you do, consider leaving a section of the trunk or the root system in situ to replicate some of the above. Use sections of trunk or branch to create those log piles and stumperies.