Willows are often the only large trees left in the landscape . Often full of hollows which are full of native animals .
Think deeply about removing an adult tree full of hollows to replace it with a few chopsticks in milk cartons . Because you will wipe out huge communities in the process .
In UK old , pollarded willows are regarded as ‘ Old Growth ‘ and protected for their landscape and ecological values .
Its often a whole lot cheaper and easier to pollard than destroy a big tree . Thereby keeping those communities alive till the understudies are big enough to offer homes to gliders , bats , lizards , birds , insects etc.
One wonders the point of piling destroyed willow on the stream bank , creating cover for all the animals who are then burnt to death some months later . Seen it happen too many times .
We prefer to tie down structures of the useful logs and restart nutrient cycles , habitat and seedling beds . Free materials , hooray .
Making Hollows for Wildlife Homes
1 / Plant Eucalypts .
Wait two hundred years for branches with faulty forks to grow , get heavy and fall off the trunk ( Hopefully not when your great great granchildren are picnicking underneath ) . Then another twenty or thirty years for hollow to rot out .
Cost approx one million dollars per hollow in historically adjusted terms .
2 / Pollard a big willow every six years for three or four cycles . Chop around where coppice rods are getting crowded and wait another six years for hollow to rot out .
3 / Select a good big willow branch set at some angle to the horizontal .
Auger parallel 40 mm holes through the branch . Insert half plugs of gelignite . Tamp with clay and fire .
Wait a few years for hollow to rot out .
– Check all types of hollows often for European wasps , starlings etc .
– Teach these skills widely . Multiply hollows by the thousands .
– Have a sausage sizzle and give out certificates .
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