Garden trees and wildlife
Think before you cut or prune a tree - an animal may rely on that tree for food or shelter.
Do I need to remove the tree?
- If the tree is unsafe or poses a threat to people or structures, and no cost-effective remedy is possible, then remove the tree.
- Are you just taking the tree out for aesthetic reasons? Find out if the tree is a native to your area and whether you have seen any wildlife using it. Just pruning the tree may make it more appealing.
How many trees should I remove?
If a tree has to go, keep the impact to a minimum. The more trees you take out, the greater the impact on wildlife. Your trees may be the entire range and habitat of an animal.
- Remove the minimum amount of vegetation.
- Cut down only one or two trees a year, if possible.
- Stagger the removal of groups of trees.
What is the best time of year?
Food is in short supply in late autumn or winter for most animals; reptiles will be hibernating. Birds are nesting in spring and may have eggs or young in the tree you are going to fell.
- Cut down trees in mid- to late summer or early autumn.
How do I take the tree out safely?
Animals such as possums may be badly injured or killed when you cut down backyard trees.
- Make sure no animals are living in the tree when you cut it down. Hit the trunk with a heavy object for several days beforehand. This encourages animals to leave the tree.
- Inspect the tree before it is cut to make sure that no wildlife still lives there.
- If using a tradesperson, tell them that no animals are to be harmed during removal.
How can I replace the tree?
- Plant a selection of replacement trees, some that grow quickly and others that grow slower for longer-term use by wildlife.
- Replace shelter trees in the short term by installing nestboxes. WPSQ has details of nestbox suppliers or can provide plans for you to build your own.
- Plant appropriate native trees that wildlife can feed on.