Trees are a huge part of wildlife habitat. Choosing the best trees for wildlife in the first place is important, but how you manage the trees in your yard will also affect how useful they are to native species. So whether you love watching birds or just want your landscaping to be more at harmony with nature, here are some tips on wildlife-friendly tree maintenance.
Check for Wildlife Before Tree or Limb Removal
When having a dead tree or tree limb removed, be sure to check thoroughly for any wildlife nests in that portion of the tree. If you do find a nest, get in touch with a wildlife rescue organization to find out if the nest can be safely relocated or not. Take care when checking for wildlife, since some species can be dangerous when disturbed.
Install the Right Birdhouses
Some homeowners put up birdhouses with more of an eye towards their aesthetic value rather than carefully considering the needs of native bird species. If you plan to add birdhouses to your tree, stop to think about the habitat your native birds want to raise their young in. Different birds have different requirements for birdhouses, so try to provide a variety of sizes and styles.
Keep Trees Pruned Correctly
Any tree you have that’s actively providing shelter, food, and nesting areas is a valuable wildlife habitat. Therefore, it’s not only in your best interests to keep the tree healthy and structurally sound but in the best interests of local wildlife as well. Your local tree expert can help keep your tree healthy by removing weak branches, encouraging strong leaders, and so on.
If possible, schedule your yearly pruning sessions to avoid the following:
- Fruiting season
- Late winter (for spring bloomers; pruning them in late winter will remove buds)
- Spring (for summer bloomers; pruning them in spring will remove buds)
- Nesting seasons for your wildlife
Keep in mind that flowers and fruit can both be important food sources for wildlife even if not edible by humans. Wintertime, when wildlife is dormant, can be a good time to prune most trees other than early spring bloomers. Fall can also be a good time to prune, once any fruiting is over.
Plant Bushes and Groundcovers Around Trees
You shouldn’t have grass planted all the way up to your tree’s trunk, since this could invite trunk damage from lawn equipment. Some homeowners simply mulch around their trees for this reason. However, you could instead take the opportunity to plant a few native bushes and low-growing perennials to provide added habitat for wildlife at the base of your tree.
Watch for Invasive Species in Your Trees
As every homeowner who’s struggled with keeping squirrels out of the birdfeeder knows, the wildlife you’re trying to attract isn’t always the wildlife you end up with. Keep an eye out for any invasive species or pests who may be attracted to the habitats you’ve set up.
Invasive species can often cause problems for native wildlife, so if you see them taking up residence in your trees, be sure to report them to a local agency such as the FWC.
Landscape With Tree Limbs
If you have trees on your property, you’ll likely need a tree expert to come out and remove a damaged tree limb from time to time. However, after the limb is safely removed from the tree and chopped into manageable pieces, consider using it in your landscaping rather than having it hauled away.
You can use these tree limbs to build a brush pile in your backyard, which can provide nesting space for several types of birds.
These ideas and tips can help you develop tree maintenance plans with not only your tree’s health but also the health of local wildlife in mind. For more information on tree trimming and other tree care, contact Knuckleheads Tree Service today.