Habitat Improvments on my land

Discussion in 'Whitetail Deer Habitat' started by IQDM, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. -8 months later:
    The area in the pictures above is a small area that was planted into oaks 6 years ago or so... The oaks are doing fine, but there is never any deer using this area... Why? The answer is simple! There is no cover!
    How do we fix this quickly and permanantly? Switchgrass...
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    I will not be able to burn this oak savanna for many years because the trees are still very young. But with mowing and herbicides, I will be able to grow oaks and hold deer with thick cover at the same time!

    Here is another Oak savanna... I converted this woods from a standard "not very thick / not very productive" woods
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    I thinned the woods out by cutting mostly non oak species and then burned, prepped the ground and frost seeded.
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  2. Today this is what the woods looks like
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    I planted switchgrass in the more open part of the woods, and Little bluestem in the part of the woods that recieved less sunlight.
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    The little bluestem did not come in as well as the switch grass, but that is due to the thicker canopy cover of oak trees above. The little bluestem is doing just fine as compared to nothing which was what was there before.
    It sure is cool to stand back and look at a project once it has come full circle! Makes you feel pretty good
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  3. 2 years ago I started yet another Oak savanna project...
    This area was an old cow pasture that had been taken over by cool season grasses. When we took over the property I immediatly planted a large food plot here. However, as I grew as a manager and read fourm posts from you all, I quickly realized that cover is what I really needed in this spot!
    This is what it looked like when I planted it in the spring of 2010.
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    I sprayed round up and atrazine for weed control the first year. There were some weeds that came up but nothing too bad.
    Spring of 2011...
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  4. This spring I sprayed Oust xp at a very heavy rate 2oz per acre and I would say that it was too much! IMO I should have only gone with 1oz...
    Compared to other switchgrass plantings where I only sprayed RU and atrazine, this stand seemed to be held back by the oust and had very slow growth in comparison to other stands.
    In the end it didnt matter because it looks great now! and totally weed free to boot!
    Just keep in mind that oust is very strong and I wouldnt be using it on SG unless the stand is well established (more than 2 years old)
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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2011
  5. In 2007 when we purchased our property, we made a list of things that we felt we were missing as far as key habitat elements.
    The top 2 on the list were evergreen trees for thermal cover and Native Warm Season Grasses for fawing and bedding cover.
    There were few evergreens and not one NWSG plant.
    With only 130 acres to work with, and most of the property being low swampland, we had to be creative in coming up with areas to establish these elements.
    We chose an area that had recently been logged and as well as a pond established. The bright red outlines this area...
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    It is not advised to mix NWSG with evergreen plantings because normally fire is used as a tool to maintain the grasses. Burning is certainly not an option if spruce or pines are mixed in! However, there are still ways to maintain the grasses without burning, such as mowing and herbicides. having only 130 acres, we decided to try it and see if we can make it work!
    This is what the area looked like when we started (after the pond was dug)
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    In the fall right before the first snow, we transplanted a bunch of white spruce from a near by farm.
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    Then the next spring we frost seeded NWSG in the entire area. We chose to go with Little Bluestem and Switchgrass due to their ability to hold up better in the harsh Wisconsin winters!
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    Now 2 growing seasons later, this is what it looks like... The Little bluestem does not grow as tall, so we used that inbetween the trees, and used switch grass up on the hill where there were no trees planted.
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  6. Little Bluestem is IMO the prettiest grass out there! I am more than pleased with how it came in and am very excited to see how these two habitat elements (NWSG/Spruce) work together to help make a home for the deer using my property!
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  7. I was taking a walk today checking out some first year switchgrass, when I came across this guy...
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    I assume that he was shot on a neighboring property and bedded down on the edge of our first year switchgrass before dying. The good news is that the switchgrass looks good
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  8. With the first big snow fall on its way and temps in the mid 50s today, I took to the one final item on my "fall list"... "Winter list" starts this weekend!
    In the outlined section below I have an area that is mainly Reed Canary Grass with scattered Red Osier Dogwood. The house is not mine...
    My goals for this area is to create bedding along the river and screen the view of the neighbors house. I will be planting Norway Spruce/Red Cedars for thermal cover, and cuttings of cane willow/poplar trees to help fill in the area as well as screen the neighbors view.
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    Pictures of the area
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    My task for today was to go in and mow the RCG down and thin out some of the more dense areas of ROD.
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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2015
  9. A few of the ROD I just mowed the tops off so that the shrub is back down to browse height and can be easily reached by any deer.
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    I tried to mow areas perpendicular to the view of the house so that the neighbors do not have "lanes" to look down while sitting on their deck.
    I will be planting the trees and willows in these same perpendicular mowed paths this next spring.
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    The planting will look something like this.
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    We will visit this area again in the spring... Now on to the "Winter List"
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Staff Member

    Looks like you are doing a great job improving your property. I'm sure it will pay dividends down the road.
     
  11. I like the look of the little bluestem. Might have to try that next to some spruce I have planted on a ridge that was a cow pasture not too long ago. How tall/thick does it get, are turkeys still able to nest or poults to move through?

    With regard to the oaks in tubes, I some have similar that are about 6 yrs old too. I've been having some bend or "kink" above the 5 ft tube in a strong wind when they reach 8-10 ft. Have had to restake a bunch to get around the fact a tube promotes fast growth but stem size is small and not very rigid. Have others had this problem with the trees which really take off when grown in a tube? Here's what I've been changing to now, the bottom 4 ft is window screen to prevent damage from mice and rubs
     
  12. ok, how do you post a pic without a url. does it have to be saved to a gallery someway?
     
  13. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

    photobucket.com

    has free starter host.
     
  14. Ok, thx. Was wondering if some other way to add to forum without going to some "free" site to share pics. Not specific to pics but have had problems with increased spam when using some free newsletter sites with old email account. No free lunch out there.....
     
  15. Some of the trees do kink or tip from time to time, but I just put in a couple fence posts and tie them in place with bailer twine.
    The Little bluestem is a bunchgrass so even though it is thick at waste level, it is very open at ground level! It is perfect nesting cover for turkeys and other birds! Plus, Little Bluestem stands very well in the winter, unlike some other types of Native Warm Season Grasses. :smile: Little Bluestem grows to 4' tall or so.