Summer Tree Care Basics- Why Letting Some Tree Damage Stay Works
It’s a little counter intuitive to suggest that summer tree damage could be a good thing. For most people, summer tree damage results in property destruction, power outages, headaches, messes, and a general pile of drama that no one wants. But, this leads the mind to an alternative, if you can swing it or stomach it, and it’s an alternative rooted in pretty sound logic. If you have a tree or two that experience some damage, even total toppling, and if you have enough property and are willing to do so, why not just leave the damage? Crazy, right? Maybe not. Read on!
Trees are beacons for wildlife when alive. They provide shelter, food, a place to be, a place to stay cool, and a place to stay protected from predators. Trees alive are essential to large scale soil health- as live trees sometimes shed leaves or needles that improve soil, offer natural and beautiful mulch to smaller plants and shrubs below, have extensive root networks that provide soil stabilization and a place for underground fauna to thrive. They pull up trapped moisture from the ground and move it into the air as part of their photosynthetic system, moving the water cycle and moving air bound molecules throughout the environment. They provide oxygen for us to breathe and use our waste gas, carbon dioxide, to do so. Some trees make tasty treats like fruit, nuts, and sap for syrup. There isn’t a lot that trees don’t do that’s helpful when they’re alive.
Trees are also just as amazing when they’re dead.
Dead trees offer a myriad of resources to wildlife and therefore to people in their wakes. Trees that are dying or partially dead offer loads of food for birds and other wildlife. The cavities that form from dead standing wood provide priceless, rare nesting opportunities for not just rare birds, but other types of animals. Downed trees slowly decompose into the soil, and many soil bound organisms that are crucial to keeping soil healthy rely on dead trees for food- like fungi and bacteria. Wild insects use downed trees for nests, like valuable pollinating bees. Fallen trees over streams create new highways for crossings over these natural barriers. Downed trees that fall into rivers and streams change and deepen the flow of moving water as they acidify the water and break down, making healthy wetlands and streams for rare fish and other animals to thrive. The bodies of dead trees break down into soils and make food for new trees. The space opened up in a canopy of a fallen tree receives bright sunlight and opens the door for a new tree to take its place. In general, downed trees from summer storms are good and necessary things.
They might seem unsightly, but the good dead trees do in the long term can trump this societal consideration. In fact, people who leave downed trees when they can notice over time a remarkable increase in the health of the plants and soil in the area, and an increase in animal life. So, think twice before you remove your dead tree. You might need it where it landed more than you think.