As we all know, winter is the only time to prune some of our most beloved trees, namely, the oaks and elms.
But winter is also the best time to remove unwanted trees and brush — native or non-native — to “tidy up” our woodlands. This is the time when plants are dormant so there is less disturbance to the soil.
I think we all know why we need to remove invasive non-native trees and shrubs, but why should we remove non-invasive trees and brush? Reference my recent post on Daylighting. It’s important to get light through the canopy down to the ground where the flowers and other groundcover live. The only way to do that is to remove unwanted trees and brush and their seedlings.
You’ll be amazed by how quickly wildflowers will return once dense shade is removed. Or how struggling saplings will thrive from the increase in sunlight. As we’ve learned from the “circle of life,” sunlight powers the plants, plants feed the pollinators, pollinators feed the bird babies, and on and on.
Removing Unwanted Trees and Shrubs
Before setting about haphazardly pulling or cutting and painting (with herbicide) unwanted trees and brush, consider the ecology of the woodland. Then begin thinning to enhance the remaining vegetation and create the biodiversified community you hope to achieve.
See also Can Your Woods be Too Tidy? It’s a great little article on woodscaping.