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Log Pile Habitat

Log Pile Habitat


A Log Pile is an important habitat for a host of creatures in the UK. Our country used to be covered in trees, and when branches fell, wildlife used them for both food and shelter. It is easy to recreate this habitat in your own garden, no matter how little space you have.

Planning All you need are some logs or thick branches cut into lengths (hard wood is best) - you could ask someone who is having a tree pruned or has a log burning stove. If you can find a few logs that are rotting already then all the better. Leaves in the Autumn may be used too. Find a place in the garden that is shady and damp (towards the North side). You may want to conceal the pile behind the shed or towards the back of a border.

Preparation Dig a shallow pit (about half the depth of a log), and place the first level of logs in the pit. Replace some of the soil around the sides, and throw a few leaves on top. Pile the remaining logs on top with leaves in between - not too high to make the pile dangerous to children. An optional step is to drill holes in the face of some of the logs to give insects - especially beetles, bees and wood wasps a head start in finding a place to live. Alternatively, you might consider a wildlife home from our collection. Leaf or bark mulch can be spread around the pile to complete the woodland effect and further enhance the environment. Plants that you may consider growing around your log pile habitat are ferns, bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa).

Who benefits? The answer is almost every wildlife species in the garden! Invertebrates such as beetles, woodlice, worms, bees, wood wasps and moths will use it as a place of shelter and some to raise families. Beetle grubs will eat the rotting wood and you may see tiny holes in the wood, that are burrows created by the wood wasps. Others such as centipedes and spiders will prey on some of the inhabitants of the logs. If you have a pond in your garden (or a neighbour has one) then it is likely that frogs, toads & newts will use the log pile in winter to keep warm, safe and damp. In the same way, hedgehogs & small mammals benefit from such a habitat - you may want to place your hedgehog home close to the log pile. Birds will feast on the insect life that pops out of the wood - wrens are especially keen on such a dining table! In addition, colourful fungi will spring up and contribute to the deterioration of the wood.

Maintenance Nothing much to do - just leave to rot and you can replace logs as they mulch down. Watch out for honey fungus - if you have old or damaged trees in the vicinity, then this particular fungus may kill a tree if it gets a foothold. Do not disturb the log pile too often, but lift a log for an instant view of the creatures in their natural home.

Here's one I built in my own garden with drilled tubes for bees:

My Log Pile Habitat My Log Pile Habitat