Best Trees/Bushes for Wildlife

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Andyt11's picture
Andyt11
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Joined: Sunday, December 23, 2007 - 12:57pm
Best Trees/Bushes for Wildlife

I am looking to plant some trees and bushes for the deer and pheasants on my land.  What types of trees should i plant for the deer?  What type of bushes should i plant for the pheasants?.... i am planning to plant them along a crick.  Next question is when is the best time to plant this stuff??

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kdm
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Joined: Friday, September 5, 2008 - 4:32pm

King, it would help if we knew a bit more about your land.  Where is it (generally, not the GPS numbers).  How big is it?   What type of cover is there now?   Are you planning on using conservation grade trees or larger trees?  Are you planning on planting narrow strips that you and a friend with a dog can hunt pheasants through and if you see a deer, it is a bonus or are you looking to house a resident herd of does to draw in the bucks and pheasants are the bonus?  IMO, optimal deer and pheasants habitat have different compositions.  Good luck and welcome to the rollercoaster ride of habitat development.

Dick Monson
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Joined: Monday, May 5, 2008 - 6:49pm

Good resources would be NDGF & and your county NRCS office. Climate and soil type are going to be major factors. Check out the state office of Pheasants Forever as they can give very good information on pheasant habitat. What looks good to people doesn't always help birds.

corfit7
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Joined: Monday, February 23, 2004 - 12:00am

I agree with Dick Monson, contact your NRCS office.  We tried planting some shrubs/bushes about 5-6 years ago thinking we knew what we were doing.  Turned out that some of the trees/bushes were not meant for the soil type that we put them in.  Ended up wasting our time.  Contact NRCS and they provide lists of what trees are good for the soil on your land for where ever you are thinking of planting.  We even ended up getting involved in a cost-share program (WHIP) with them that has saved us a lot of money and increased our habitat tremendously.

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Andyt11
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Joined: Sunday, December 23, 2007 - 12:57pm

Its a quarter of farm land with two winding cricks on both th enorth and south side..tree s along the road. i want it to be more pheasant habitat but to also hold some deer.. i know they are around and pass through the land at night because of trails and rubs  but have only seen a few in there during daylight hours... just want to have more overall cover i guess...

AT

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kdm
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Joined: Friday, September 5, 2008 - 4:32pm

King, OK if the birds are the main target, I would look at something like junipers or other low type conifers for winter cover.  I would plant them about 8 ft apart so they form a good thicket to stop snow.  Something not to tall so you can shoot over them when those roosters jump.  The deer will use these too.  I would also look at maybe some juneberry or silverberry along with some hanson hedge rose.  The roses are thorny and will get thick if the deer don't eat them to the ground.  You can shoot over them with no problem.  At least the ones we planted are only about 4 ft tall.   Which brings up another point.  Protecting the small trees from deer will be important in the early part of your planting.  You might want to look into Russian Olive too, but some folks look on them as a weed.  However, the thorny trees to seem to help my birds escape the aerial predators and the pheasants use them for winter food too.  As always a good variety of apple, plum, and cherries never hurt.   With the two water sources a selection of willows will help with winter survival, but they are a bugger to hunt in as the roosters know just where to fly so you have no shot.  That one is a bit of a give and take.  In my opinion it is better to plant in block formations rather than long rows as the rows seem to fill completely with snow, while the southern parts of the blocks seem to keep some cover more accessable.  Just my .02 and again good luck.  Let us know what you decide and if it works.  I am still trying to figure out how to remove the weed barrier we put down 10 years ago as it is restricting some of the hedge type trees.  Just one of the many "perks" of habitat planting.  It's lots of work, but lots of fun too. 

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Andyt11
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Joined: Sunday, December 23, 2007 - 12:57pm

alright thanks alot for the help kdm...any ideas how to keep the deer off of my young trees?

AT

spooklive
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Joined: Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 9:14pm

Try to avoid rows if you can,  predators can easily walk the row too.  We planted 400 bushes this spring.  Use suckering bushes like silverberry, buffaloberry, hansen rose hedge, russian olive,  the currant bushes are good but they can't be planted near evergreen trees.  We planted ours in a clumping pattern  to hopefully get more protective cover.   Soil conservation was very helpful with soil maps and advice.  They have a website that has the soil maps on it you just punch in the coordinates and the soil breakdown for your quarter will be shown.  Their pamphlets and tree lists show which trees and bushes grow best.  They discourage trees if your looking for bird habitat as when they get tall the raptors can use them, but for deer trees work.  If your soil can handle the junipers I would look at some of those.  Have fun.

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kdm
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Joined: Friday, September 5, 2008 - 4:32pm

King, for my larger trees, I use 4' hog fence around each one that I hand plant.  With large plantings of small trees, your guess is a good as mine.  I don't know what kind of deer pressure you have now.  I can however guess that as your original planting matures your subsequent plantings will have more deer pressure.  That is the good and bad part, depending on your point of view.  Best of luck! 

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Andyt11
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Joined: Sunday, December 23, 2007 - 12:57pm

 k kdm one question..y the junipers 8 ft apart is that jsut so thay have room to grow or what? should i plant the bushes along the junipers?

AT

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kdm
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Joined: Friday, September 5, 2008 - 4:32pm

King, the junipers on my place were planted 12 ft apart and they haven'e grown together to create a solid wall to block wind, snow, etc.  If you plant them 8 ft apart you will have a better chance at not having the same problem.  I have gaps between each tree and the snow drifts between them.  Not the ideal.  I also can't plant another one between them as overcrowding is just as bad.  My solution is another row with trees 8 ft apart.  As far as the bushes and trees together, I would check compatibility and competition information.  IMO overcrowding with any plants can lead to problems early in the planting.  Once your primary trees are well established then it may be possible to fill in some other areas with bushes.  This of course is just my opinion.  I have no idea of your moisture availability (even with the creeks), soil type, fertilization levels, and so on.  All of these factors will influence what trees and bushes will grow best on your land and optimize you habitat development.  Good luck.