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!!!!! Why you should have snags on your land

 
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Snags support so much wildlife that they could even be considered more alive than a living tree. Well at least in terms of the amount of living biomass that they support!

If you don’t know a snag is a dead tree that is still standing and hasn’t fallen over yet. Often people cut these down but let’s look at why you might want to leave them standing.

This week’s blog post—Why Snags are Awesome and How to Get Started—dives into snags and their role on the land.

If you want to work with nature then you should consider leaving snags on your land.

What Snags Do



What happens when a tree dies is that insects like wood-boring beetles (most aren’t dangerous to living trees) and other insects move in and start making little tunnels in the dead wood.

Overtime other critters like mason bees and other native bees move into these tunnels. And woodpeckers start making larger holes.

As water gets in these holes and fungi move in the holes steadily get bigger. As this happens songbirds and other small critters move in and eventually the holes get big enough in large snags to support owls and other similar sized critters.

The result of all of this is that despite being dead snags are filled with life.

Role of Small Snags on Your Land



Keeping snags on your land means that your land will support far more wildlife than it would without them.

Make sure to check out the blog post for more information about how to keep snags safely on your land.

And if you don’t have snags on your land you can install them! I’ve done this a ton on my own land. The blog post discusses this option but at the end of the day it really is as simple as digging a hole and sticking in a log (fresh or rotten) just like you would a fence post.

Just use soil to pack it in—no gravel or cement. You want the snag to rot overtime.

So what role do these small snags have on the land?

Well for one birds love to perch on them and I often see various small wildlife using them. But there is another role that these small snags have that can help support your fruit trees and other flowering plants.

That is the role of providing nesting habitat for native bees like mason bees!

If you install old rotten logs as snags then these will already have lots of little holes and cracks for native bees to use as nesting spots.

But for fresh logs you can just drill holes into them. Just like you would if you were making a mason bee box.

The advantage is that if you do this on lots of different snags you spread out the habitat across your landscape. This setup is more resilient to diseases and predators than a small number of mason bee boxes.

I’ve sat and watched various native bees visiting my snags going in and out of these holes. It’s really great to be able to support these native pollinators in such a simple way. Plus your also supporting lots of other wildlife at the same time!

Snags really are awesome. So please make sure to check out the blog post to learn more and while over there grab a free guide I made that walks you through the steps to use a snag to create nesting habitat for native bees.

And make sure to leave a comment sharing your thoughts about snags! While you are over on the blog most make sure to leave a comment! If you are the first to do so you will get a piece of pie! The pie will get you access to some special features on perimes, discounts at some vendors, and you ca`n use it to purchase some products on the permies digital marketplace.

If you leave a comment on the blog post make sure to leave a post here on permies too so I can easily give you the slice of pie.
 
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Location: Dayton, OH
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I commented over there! I wasn't the first but just wanted to say how much I appreciated the quick lesson. So helpful for me as we look for our future homestead.
 
Daron Williams
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Laura Swain wrote:I commented over there! I wasn't the first but just wanted to say how much I appreciated the quick lesson. So helpful for me as we look for our future homestead.



Thanks Laura! I'm glad you found it helpful. I've really loved seeing all the native bees that are using my snags. And just today there was a bunch of gold finches and later red wing blackbirds hanging out on the snags I put in. I honestly think snags along with wood debris, rock piles, etc. makes the wildlife feel more comfortable on my land--it makes it feel more natural to me and I don't see why it wouldn't be the same for wildlife too!

Thanks again!
 
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yep I make sure to leave enough snags of varied ages on my land
 
Daron Williams
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Devin Lavign wrote:yep I make sure to leave enough snags of varied ages on my land



Great to hear! What sort of wildlife have you seen using them?
 
Devin Lavign
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Daron Williams wrote:

Devin Lavign wrote:yep I make sure to leave enough snags of varied ages on my land



Great to hear! What sort of wildlife have you seen using them?



Lots of birds and bees. Ants, beetles, and flying squirrels.
 
pollinator
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I have some snags and some logs and stumps from when we had some pines and sweetgums taken down. I put one large-diameter slice of pine turned flat to serve as raised planter stand at a fence corner. This was from a huge dead pine we had felled in June, and the log itself is riddled with pine beetle holes.

So I had this very strange experience. I was digging a few shallow holes beside this pine slice to plant something in. I started hearing things as I dug. I'd stop to try to figure out where the sound was coming from, and the sound would stop. Dig again, sound back; stop, gone! Several more times, same thing. I seriously thought I was hallucinating.

At the time, I was reading Buhner's Sacred Plant Medicine, so I thought maybe some plant was trying to talk to me. I soft-focused to see if I could determine "who" it was, and I felt drawn to the wooden shovel handle. I put the shovel in the ground, put my ear to it, and it was just ringing with a sound like a hive of bees... quite perturbed bees.

I looked all around the pine slice, still thickly covered in bark, and I could see no signs of any insects. Could there be a hive in the ground under that pine slice? Or maybe some kind of solitary bees? But it was more than one bee, I know. And I see no signs of anything flying around there.

It was very, very weird.
 
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We used to have a large snag, which seemed to be a favorite hang out spot for all kinds of birds of prey.

I've noticed that we don't have as many of them around recently since it fell.
 
master pollinator
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I have many dead trees still standing.  One, in plain view of our back yard, is a favorite spot for a pileated woodpecker and all of its kids.  What a sound!  I had no idea you could identify a woodpecker by the sound of the pecking, but since these are huge compared to a downy or hairy, the sound is quite different.
 
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Our snags attract piliated woodpeckers.  Had a pair nest and raise a clutch last year.
 
Devin Lavign
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Heard a woodpecker tapping the other day, looked to the nearest snag, and there it was.

That is another reason to have snags, you know where to look.
 
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