“Please don’t try and remove all that gorgeous existing foliage. Concentrate on removing the dying trees instead. Because as David says, you will become a heat and cold sink. You will become a wind farm too, as there will be nothing to protect you. Use your existing foliage as a transition for your new food forest, instead.
On our property, we had to deal with native scrub. So we had a rule to remove large, native trees, within 30 metres of our house. Because that’s how tall some of the native trees could grow. We had little seedlings coming up all the time though, which we used as nursery trees, for the edible trees we were establishing. So long as they didn’t get beyond 10-12 metres high, they could stay. Higher, and they were removed, and used as mulch, or building small retaining walls on our slope.
I have a brick house, with a 1.8 metre verandah, so we can see if any termites attempt to gain access to the house. But we haven’t really had a problem with them, coming to our mulched gardens near the house. Since they prefer to build nests where the greatest wood supply is. So if you keep patches of your native areas (where it’s safe to do so) you’ll find the termites hang out there. Why would they want to come visit your thinly spread mulch, when they’ve got enormous trees to disembowel?
Another trick I like to use in relation to controlling termites, is not to disturb ant colonies on your property. Ants are termites, natural predators. I only poisoned ant nests, when they were meat ants, that bit, and their nests were built near our cars, or walkways. But we left the smaller ant colonies, around the house alone. The reason most people have problems with termites in their house, is because they don’t want ant nests near their house either. We only poison the dangerous big one’s around the house, but let the little guys, defend us against termites.
The big meat ants, have nests elsewhere on the property, and we leave them alone. It’s only when they become a stinging issue, around the house, we move them on. So befriend your ant colonies, and they’ll work to keep your termite colonies under control. You won’t see termites move into areas, with regularly used ant highways. The ants come to the house, to clean up the dead insects attracted to your inside lights at night. Or they’ll come to your rubbish bins for food. Don’t fear the ants. They are your friends in termite country.
Which is another reason to keep your native foliage, until you can transition some areas to an edible food forest. It attracts insects which ants predate on. They are an important species to maintain ecological balance.”
I agree. Ants may seem to be pests sometimes… and trees may seem to be worthless… but when you take out pieces of an existing ecosystem you often have unexpected consequences.
Habitat is important. Instead of reducing the number of species as many homeowners do, a gardener would be wise to increase the mix of species on his homestead.