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The Value of Dead Wood

Making It Grow! Minute logo

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Another type of dead wood that should be left in wooded areas when it doesn’t threaten timber value is large logs. In rural areas bears and turkey vultures can find shelter in them and mice, amphibians, lizards, snakes and such use their rotted interiors or crevices beneath them as places of refuge. One interesting fact is that the humidity associated with these rotting, moist pieces of wood is that is creates micro-environments for such moisture requiring amphibians as salamanders and certain frogs.

On cool winter days, the upper surface provides a raised space for animals to bask in the sun’s rays. And talk about a smorgasbord – the rotting logs are eventually filled with beetle larvae, spiders, roaches, and fungi – imagine the nutrition those organisms provides for certain forest dwellers. And for weary hikers, fallen logs serve as benches for a short break from the trail. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.