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Why make a log pile?
As we had acquired a pile of sawn off tree stumps and branches on site, we decided to create a log pile under a large evergreen shrub where hopefully the wood will stay fairly shady and damp. If constructed in the open the wood will dry out too quickly in the summer sunshine. In the damp conditions various fungi may also colonise the log pile.
Log piles need to be made up of substantial sized pieces of logs as small branches and twigs will rot too quickly.
Being home to a multitude of invertebrates, log piles also provide good scavenging areas for birds such as robins and wrens. The log pile will also provide a winter retreat for the numerous frogs, newts and toads found on the plot. Even larger wildlife such as hedgehogs may choose to use it as a winter nesting area. If you are lucky it may even encourage a stoat or weasel.
It will provide a habitat for varieties of beetles and centipedes who like our amphibious and prickly friends will hopefully feed on the abundant slugs and slugs eggs next year.
The log pile needs to be a long-term project. As the logs rot, new logs should be piled on top leaving the old rotting wood in situ. Stag beetles choose to lay their eggs underground near to rotting wood so that when hatched the larvae have a nearby food supply. The larvae make their home in the rotting wood where they stay for several years. As stag beetles are a threatened species providing habitats for them is vitally important. I haven’t seen a stag beetle on the plot yet but I live in hope.