Nearly all the old-growth forest in the eastern US is gone now. You can’t create old-growth forest, but you can give your woods more of the traits of old-growth forest that make it so valuable for wildlife.
If your woods are short on snags (standing dead trees), you can create some of this valuable wildlife habitat by girdling trees. Girdling kills a tree while leaving it standing so it can become a snag.
We hear a lot about how valuable old-growth forests are for wildlife, but what makes them such great places for animals? Once you know that, you can mimic those same traits in your own woods.
True old-growth forests have greenery at every level from the forest floor to the top of the canopy. You can start some new growth on the ground using small patch cuts, which remove every tree from an area less than an acre.
Tree cavities and dead trees are important wildlife habitats that are often missing in many woodlots. Locate these features in your woods to find out if you have enough of these wildlife havens.