Last Updated on 4. February 2022 by adminGolfSustainable

Golfpark Weiherhof in the German Saarland: Spruce stumps from a forest now serve as an ecological habitat

Deadwood habitat: A universe for insects

Mighty roots spread beyond the fairways in the grounds of the Weiherhof Golf Park . A dead tree trunk that fell out of the fairway of the pond at fairway 13 of the Golf & Country Club Zürich is enough, another one that is sunken in the water at hole 3: Deadwood, according to the Munich golf course designer Thomas Himmel, is being placed more and more often as part of the natural design of the compensation and water areas so that it offers insects, birds and fungi a habitat.

NABU or nature conservation authorities, which accompany the new construction or conversion of a course, always point out the ecological value of deadwood , which golfers themselves have often understood in the past as “not cleared away” or as “disorder”, explains Himmel. “At the Weiherhof we had a relatively large number of tree stumps available because a spruce forest that was not valuable was cleared for the expansion of the site. With the help of NABU we distributed the dead wood over the entire facility. Much of it is not in sight because it is well outside the playing area.”

Dead wood serves as a host for insects, fungi grow on it and birds use it to build nests. In this respect, trunks that protrude from the water are often not only visually attractive, but also useful for the promotion of various animal species. However, one has to differentiate: Deadwood is definitely different in terms of its ecological value. Insects prefer oaks or willows as habitats, and a particularly large number of insects can be found on beech and spruce. Therefore, if you are thinking about using deadwood on the golf course, you should also consider the following factors:

  • The decomposition process of the wood varies depending on the tree species. It lasts up to 80 years for oaks, but only 10 to 20 for poplars, willows and birches. Beech and pine lie in between at 30 to 50 years. The longer it takes to decompose, the better for supporting microorganisms.
  • The larger the tree trunk , the more bird species can nest there. Large birds have no place in slender tree trunks. In addition, larger beetles also need enough nutrients over a long period of time, which is more likely to be found in large trunks. The same applies to the moss: the thicker the trunk, the longer the decomposition time, the more nutrients are available.
  • The microclimate in the deadwood, which provides moisture inside and thus protects amphibians and snails from drying out in winter, is also determined by the size and location.

A little science in itself. In general, however, the following applies: the use of deadwood creates ecological habitats in any case. A single tree stump or trunk is used in many ways by plants and animals. And: Deadwood can – if used correctly – also add visual value to a golf course. And that for decades.

At the Golf & Country Club Zurich in Switzerland, deadwood was lowered into the water to improve the ecological value of a pond.