Managing a Woodland for Wildlife


I’ve talked before about how a small portion of my property is wooded. It’s between 1/8-1/4 of an acre so very small–but in the heavily developed suburbs, that is the size of a building lot–and indeed, it is part of a second lot that we own.

Because it is wooded, we try to leave it in as natural state as possible. That means if a tree dies, and it’s not near enough to endanger our neighbor’s home, it stays.

What does this accomplish? Several nice things. Many birds nest in dead trees, which can be difficult to find, particularly in the suburbs. I have an abundance of woodpeckers on my property because I manage it in this way and woodpeckers are one of the birds that nest in dead trees.


It also brings insects that digest such materials–and keeps them where they belong, in the woods and not in our home.

One drawback is that I am constantly scouting for invasives. I had just about gotten rid of garlic mustard out of here–after a decade of hand pulling–and I now see it’s in all my neighbors yards so it will be back here shortly.

Oriental Bittersweet is a constant issue. I try to find the seedlings when they are small. If all else fails, I cut the vines before they fruit–but of course, I will have twice as many vines the following year. At least, without the birds eating the berries, I won’t have multitudes more and I won’t have spread it to my neighbors.

But the fact that I do have a place for birds and wildlife is important to me. It makes the work worth it.

2 thoughts on “Managing a Woodland for Wildlife

  1. tonytomeo March 11, 2020 / 3:01 pm

    Invasive exotics are a serious problem. We can do nothing about all the English ivy, broom and Acacia dealbata that are already here, but we watch for new arrivals, and try to eradicate them before they get established. It was so frustrating that one of my former neighbors was actually protective of the Acacia dealbata that grew on his property up in a region of the Santa Cruz Mountains where they Acacia dealbata had not yet moved in. He believed that it deserved to live like everything else in the forest.

  2. gardendaze March 11, 2020 / 3:18 pm

    Yes, I have a neighbor growing purple loosestrife in a flower bed–I know exactly what you mean about people being protective about invasives! We can only hope that they live and learn–and quickly!


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