Brush piles make good cover for several animals including cottontail rabbits, quail and several species of songbirds. They are also a productive and beneficial way to clean up wind blown trees or treetops after a timber sale.
They can be constructed by placing large boughs or logs (4" and larger) on the ground parallel to each other and a few feet apart in a small area (12' x 12' to 15' x 15') See #1 in diagram.
Place another row of logs on top of the first layer running in the other direction, log cabin-like. Continue laying branches in this criss-cross fashion until the pile is a 4 to 5 feet tall. See #2 in diagram.
Small branches and twigs can be piled on top to provide a roof. See #3 and 4 in diagram. Branches and twigs can be added to the structure each year.
Some people like to insert a few 6 to 8" soil tiles end to end in with the bottom layer of logs. This provides excellent protection from the weather for rabbits and other small mammals.
Brush piles are most effective when constructed on or near the edge of a woodlot where they are easily accessible to the edge dwelling species. There should be about 1 or 2 brushpiles per 10 acres.
Washtenaw County Conservation District Copyright 2016