Landscape and Urban Forestry: Dead Tree? Think Habitat Tree!
By City Landscape Staff
Habitat trees are beneficial to Beaverton’s Urban forest and the overall health of the urban canopy.
When a tree dies, most are cut down and removed. A habitat tree on the other hand is a dead tree but that has died and 90% percent removed leaving the trunk of the tree standing at a safe distance from homes and cars so no risk or hazard remains in leaving the trunk intact. The height can range 5 feet to 30 feet depending where the tree is located and what type of tree is being removed.
When creating a habitat tree, usually the tree will have notches and holes cut into it to start the decay process and provide initial habitat areas. Experts like Brian French of Arboriculture International have found that you can attract specific bird species by the size of holes that are left and Tall Habitat trees will attract Birds of Prey like Red Tail Hawks that like to perch atop dead snags to get the best view. Certain types of lateral slashing cuts can provide perfect habitat for bats.
As the trees begin the decay process many types of insects will start to inhabit the tree which in turn attracts the birds, woodpeckers, sap suckers and all kinds of local birds feeding on ants, beetles and multiple other species of insect.
All of this is beneficial to our eco system and urban forest. In a time that we are quick to remove dead and dying trees we sometimes forget the benefits of leaving a log or habitat tree in place for the birds, squirrels and insects that need a home.
So the next time you are faced with the removal of a tree think habitat tree and leave a home.
Brought to you by the City of Beaverton’s Landscape and Urban Forestry Department.