Habitat creation

The destruction of natural habitat has affected the population of many endangered species in Australia. Urban development has required many old growth trees be removed for the safety of humans. These older trees have had time to develop the hollows and fungal growths that are important to the ecosystem of native animals.

Many more old hollow trees have been lost in recent bush fires. The hollows can form a chimney or ‘flue-effect’ that draws more air into the tree and makes the tree burn longer. We were asked help the C.F.A. contain a hollow tree fire still burning near Marysville some seven weeks after the Black Saturday fires. The tree could not be extinguished by the C.F.A. because of difficult access.

The loss of this habitat will take many years for nature to reproduce. We are working on a study in habitat creation to expedite that natural process.

Our habitat creation technique replicates and speeds up the natural process of hollow creation. We cause an injury to otherwise healthy trees to increase fungal activity that will facilitate partial decomposition of stem tissue. Injury to the trunk tissue will provide opportunity for fungal spores such as Ganoderma applanatum to propagate. This fungi will eventually turn the heartwood into a soft pulp that can be hollowed out by possums, parrots, and other forest animals.

GardenGlow Tree Care has several test cases in place around the city of Knox at present. We will monitor the progress of the hollows and report on the success rates of habitation.

Fire in natural hollows

This opening at the base of a hollow tree was supplying air for a fire further up the hollow trunk:
Fire in Natural Hollows
Smoke coming out of a second hollow:
Smoke coming out of a second hollow
This tree kept flaring up every couple of days for seven weeks after Black Saturday.

Natural hollow formation:

Bracket fungi like this will cause the heartwood to turn soft and sponge like so that invertebrates, insects, and fire can easily hollow the tree out.
Natural Hollow Formation

possum-300x225Possums are well equipped for the job of expanding a hollow to suit their needs.


Artificial hollow creation:

The aim of hollow creation is to make a durable habitat that looks like it occurred naturally.
The GardenGlow Tree Care preferred method is to utilize natural tree faults as a starting point for a hollow.

This dead stub has caused some callusing that will form a natural entry point. We expedite the hollowing process with a chisel, chainsaw or drill. The stub has already died back into the trunk making it easier for wildlife to expand our hollow.
The finished hollow is indistinguishable from a natural hollow until you look inside the tree.

Habitat creation from an old pruning cut:

An old pruning cut on an Oak tree provided an ideal opening for an artificial hollow. The Callus was cut off the trunk, the dead heartwood was removed, then the face plate re-attached.

These are natural and artificial hollows in the same tree:

Natural hollow:
Artificial hollow made with chainsaw plunge cuts creating a ‘star’ formation hollow inside the tree…

Artificial nesting boxes

Research conducted by Latrobe University has led to the development of species specific nesting boxes.
Check them out here

GardenGlow Tree Care can replicate these artificial boxes to blend into the natural environment. We offer a free consultation service to assess the suitability of your trees for habitat development.