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Make a Brush Pile for Your Yard's Wildlife!

Making It Grow! Minute logo

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Rather than sending  the limbs and branches you pick up after a storm to the landfill,  use that material to make a brush pile on your property. Put the largest limbs down first and then come back at a ninety degree angle with similar sized material for the frame work. Then begin to add smaller debris, especially with leaves still attached. Keep the pile as loose as possible.

Put some material in at angles to keep the structure open with as many spaces and tunnels and pockets for animals of all sizes to use for shelter. Brush piles give small mammals and reptiles places to escape from predators, before you worry about snakes remember they eat destructive rodents – mice, rats, and voles. At the top of your brush pile, you may see perching birds and dragonflies looking for the flying insects they feed upon. 

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.