Trees live, they grow, and they eventually die. Throughout their life cycle, from seedling through their decay, trees play an important role for wildlife and plant life.
Once a tree has died, fallen, or been professionally removed, its journey is far from over. If the tree is free from disease and infestation, there are several ways it can be upcycled or used in your landscaping.
The following will offer a look into the life cycle of a tree and present ways to maximize their benefits, even after they have died.
My Tree Was Cut or Fell Over, How Can I Upcycle It?
Depending on the size of the tree and its branches, a fallen tree can offer several innovative ways to decorate your landscape, serve as pieces of furniture, or be made into decorative wall pieces:
- Stumps, smaller branches, and pieces of the trunk can be used or woven into seating fixtures along a path or in front of a garden.
- Trunks and larger branches can be cut into thick discs and in the place of stones or bricks to create pathways.
- Slabs can be cut from trunks and combined with ecopoxy to create stunning tables or wall art.
- Carved out sections of the trunk can be used as planters.
- Branches and stems can be used to create trellises and fencing.
- Cut and painted logs can become end-tables or coffee tables.
- Smaller branches and twigs can be woven into frames for wall pieces.
There are countless uses, and the more creative you are, the more you will be able to upcycle a fallen tree. In this video, see how resin is combined with wood.
Tree Logs for Landscaping
Tree logs and larger limbs may serve a greater purpose in your landscaping by slowing the effects of erosion by enabling you to create tiers along sloped areas. They also make incredibly effective garden barriers, or when stacked can make a raised flower bed for the garden.
When placed along cemented, paved, or block pathways, not only are they visually appealing, but they impede erosion and protect the pathway’s physical integrity.
Turning Trees Into Mulch and Fertilizer
Another use for a fallen tree in your landscaping is to have the tree chipped and turn it into mulch. Mulch is extremely valuable and beneficial when properly used around the base of trees. It will not only help the soil by retaining moisture, but also by delivering nutrients as the wood chips slowly decay.
However, note that this option is not viable when a tree falls as a result of or is removed due to disease or infestation. Otherwise, the pathogens and diseased matter get exposed to and infect your healthy trees and plants. Learn the signs and symptoms of a troubled tree here toddsmariettatreeservices.com/troubled-tree-signs-symptoms/
Leave a Fallen Tree Where It Lies
When a tree falls or it’s time to be cut down, consider preserving the ecosystem and leaving it as a part of the landscape. It has the potential to serve a greater purpose than if it’s removed. Here are some benefits of allowing a fallen tree to remain:
Light – When a tree comes down, its canopy comes with it. Introducing direct sunlight to the ground that was previously shaded will spark the growth of dormant seeds and other plant life.
Leaving the tree in the area its canopy once covered will help the soil to retain moisture and provide a sort of shelter for the new budding life.
Food and Shelter – Deer and other bark eating animals will have a lasting food source, while smaller animals like rabbits and squirrels can take advantage of the shelter the tree provides.
Natural Fertilizer – Perhaps the greatest benefit of all is that as the tree decays and breaks down, it is adding natural nutrients to the soil. This benefits all of the surrounding plant life, and is “nature’s” perfect ending to the life cycle of a tree.
Nothing is wasted when left to nature. Thus, learn the life cycle and benefits of allowing Mother nature to care for her trees.
A Tree’s Life Cycle Stages and Benefits
The life cycle of a tree begins as a seedling and ends after its last remnants have decayed or been eaten. Below are a few of the benefits a tree offers during each stage of its life cycle:
Living Trees – While living, trees are able to offer support to large wildlife. Providing shelter, food, nesting sites, and locations to hunt from.
The benefits to your landscape are as follows: they shade and keep property cool, they can serve as landmarks or property line markers, they help soil remain fertile, they filter water and air to reduce soil erosion, and provide a barrier from cold winter winds.
Dying and Dead Trees – It’s common that a tree sporadically falls when not cut or removed in time (learn what to look for and when is the right time here toddsmariettatreeservicesga.blogspot.com/2017/07/right-time-cutting-pruning-emergency-tree-removal.html).
Often referred to as “snags”, these trees draw the attention of birds and smaller animals during their nesting periods; likewise, they provide a haven for food storage, and as nurseries for the animal’s young.
In forests and larger landscapes, “snags” will often fall into waterways. When this occurs, they help to purify the water, regulate water temperatures, delay floodwater, and even control erosion.
Decaying Trees – The moisture and nutrients retained by a decaying tree provides food for plant growth and greatly benefits the soil.
Sometimes referred to as a nurse log, a fallen tree or limb may have young trees growing from or through it. This is a result of the dead tree providing ground cover which slows erosion and keeps wildlife away from the seedlings.
The wood eventually softens, breaks down, and decomposes as wood-boring insects eat through it. Once ripe for invasion, bacteria or fungi further advance the trees’ decomposition, and it returns to the soil as part of natures perfect plan.
This video shows how fungal decomposition benefits an ecosystem.
Before Tree Removal and Hauling Away, Consider Your Alternatives
So, your tree fell or was cut down. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have it removed. Have the tree professionally evaluated, and if it poses no threat to people or structures, consider leaving it. Birds and smaller animals will thrive from the shelter and storage it provides.
If the tree has fallen or is threatening to fall, the prudent choice is to have it brought down. In this case, consider repurposing the tree or finding a location for it to quietly decompose while enriching the soil, plant life, and wildlife.
In the case of infestations or disease, the tree should indeed be removed and professionally disposed of. Repurposing these trees will only serve to further propagate the infestation or disease.