woodland preservation

fnpflowersApril 17, 2012

A woodland is a vegetative community of tree shrubs and ground cover. Most woodland owners care deeply for their land and take pride in being good stewards.Today within Woodlands, areas that were once terraced for farming are returning to a more natural state. This type of garden is especially suitable for a garden or lot with established trees. These trees can cast a great deal of shade, making it difficult for plants to grow, and they generate leaf litter and fallen limbs.

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Some good points for any newcomers reading. Perhaps the best thing about woodland preservation is the benefit to the environment.

As for traditional "gardening" as you describe, woodland management takes a very different spin, encouraging a natural ecosystem rather than forcing an artificial arrangement of color and texture to please a human eye.

For example, leaf litter, as you point out, is seen as a nuisance by most people. But it's one of nature's most important components. It's difficult to have a healthy ecosystem in the long run without it. It naturally protects and replenishes the soil so things can grow there forever, it protects tree roots from heat, it maximizes moisture for roots and defends against soil erosion, it hosts beneficial bacteria, it provides a home for insects which are critical to the ecosystem, and it forms the incubator where new generations of flora begin.

Another aspect of woodlands that many people don't like is underbrush or understory. A lot of property owners and landscapers immediately look to clear this out, creating a park-like look where people can stroll in any direction under the shade of canopy trees. The problem with this is that the understory is also a critical component of any healthy ecosystem. The understory contains not only shrubs that provide homes and food for wildlife, but the next generations of canopy trees. If the understory is continually removed, it's only a matter of time before the forest loses its last tree and is gone.

For all you folks who are preserving and restoring woodlands on your properties, I salute you for doing something good for all of us and nature's creatures!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 4:53PM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

Another reason some people don't like understory shrubs is insects like ticks and flies. Deerflies are part of life here in Indiana, and you just get to know to stay out of damp, low woods from June to the middle of July. And, as to the ticks, I've never seen any in woodland understory - they always seem to be in tall, grassy meadows with a lot of young trees.

Every house I've been in, I try to "manage" the forests on the property - By that, I mean let the understory grow, make sure no invasives take root, and try to add a little diversity. I'll admit I'm a bit of a purist, in that I don't really care for exotics like hosta and japanese maple in a woodland (That doesn't mean the plants have to be scruffy - You can find nice-looking, appealing native plants, too!)

When I rake the leaves off the grass, I never bag them. I pile them in my woodland garden, where they rot down over time to create nice, woods soil. Sticks and branches get scattered across the ground, too.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Jimbobfeeny, you're a good man!

As for insects, they're plentiful in any healthy patch of woods, but they're also a staple food source for birds, anoles/geckos, and other wildlife creatures. The insects around here mostly come out when the sun goes down. Science also created screened-in porches, long-sleeved clothing, environmentally-sound bug spray, and citronella candles for us!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 7:03PM
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Thank you very much for posting this thread.
I bought a 2 acre plot on a sand hill 4 years ago.
180 roadfront, 480 back.
30 feet on both sides out front are wooded. I have privacy from neighbors. i don't touch it unless a tree dies, in which case I have the dead tree removed.
In the back, I have a smallish back yard.
I have a small area fenced off for my very small dogs.
The rest is all woods, the whole property.
I absolutely love it.
I took some pics a couple years back and posted onto this site for identification of a tree that I found out was blueberry. A poster started scolding me for not "maintaining" my woods.
They stated i should thin it out and cut off all dead branches and that it looked scruffy.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I love my woods and the fact that it is left alone.
I don't bother anything in the woods, I know there is wildlife in it, but I stay out of it as to not disturb them. I love the look of natural woods.
I wake up in the morning and love the multitude of birds and natural environment that I see out of my window.
I did plant 2 japanese maples at the woods edge, I love them.
I thought that is what having a woodland garden was all about. Preservation, feeling as though you are someplace very far removed from asphalt parking lots.
Does anyone understand me or am I crazy? LOL!
Well, if I am , I am happy anyway.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 5:25PM
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butterfly4u..I am with you all the way. When we moved on this farm 55 years ago the previous owner [a bachelor] left the place run over with everything up to front door of the house and we cleared it to be able to farm. All went well till about a year ago when we sold the place to our son and he cleared more and i made may husband tell him he hAS to leave the trees along the creek otherwise the landscape will start erosions and wildlfe will disappear. I really had a "fit"

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 2:01PM
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And I am more or less in the middle: save my wooded areas, but limb up and thin out some small trees so that I can walk in there...and plant some things, such as native ferns. I even added a few cheap hostas for deer snacking so that they avoid my good natives.

I think the main point is to follow Tallamy's lead: include natives to help create a corridor for insects, critters, etc.

As for esthetics, that is a personal choice. I love to walk and look and occasionally pull a weed or two, but my areas are not neat, more of a state park look, with paths lined with downed trees.

Enjoy plants in whatever form! Remember the food chain!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 9:40AM
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