Food Plot Archives

Fall Food Plots – Trying New Seed Mixes

Posted on June 14, 2017 by Leave a comment

We haven’t planted new food plots since 2014 and it is time (Summer 2017) to plant some fall annual food plots in preparation for perennial food plots in 2018. We have a half acre of three year old Imperial Whitetail™ Brand Clover which needs to replaced in 2018 with at least an acre of Whitetail Clover. This late summer (August 5th) we planted six seed mixes from the Whitetail Institute. We have found reliability and innovation with Whitetail Institute products and seldom try other brands. Seed selection is one of the most important aspects of planting food plots. This time we are planting Pure Attraction®, Ambush®, Winter Greens™, Beets & Greens™, Tall Tine Tubers™ and Imperial Whitetail Oats Plus™. These are all annual seed blends and should be killed during the winter in this western New York location.

3 year old neglected Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot

3 year old neglected Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot

We started in June preparing for this planting with a late burn down. I say late because of very rainy spring weather. We did not apply the first application of glyphosate until the weeds were about 18 inches tall in most places. We used a heavy rate of glyphosate to control perennial weeds, with quackgrass being our biggest concern. bambi phone case iphone 7 plus We made a second application about the third week of July. To attempt to control quackgrass, you must make a second application when it re-grows following the first application. Since we are planting fall annual food plots, we will have another opportunity to control the quackgrass, if it regrows. We will make another burn down application next spring, before we plant our perennial planting of Whitetail Clover.
Food plot "Burn Down" number two

Food plot “Burn Down” number two

When we look at food plot seed blends in advertising and online, we get an idea of what is in the package, but to know exactly what is in the package you must read the Seed Label on the package you purchase. The seed label is required by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). iphone 8 tough case This label will tell you the specific varieties, percent pure seed, germination percentage, origin of the seed (state), percent weed seed, percent inert matter, germination test date, amount of noxious weeds, container weight, etc. Here is the seed label information for the varieties in the seed bags we purchased: These seed mixes contain a high percentage of coating material which is very important to the germination and weight distribution of the seed as it goes out a broadcast seed spreader. It is better to ensure that the seed you plant will grow than to purchase uncoated seed that may not germinate in adverse conditions. The coating is All-Vantage containing RainBond which will also helps water adhere to the seed in dry conditions. Tall Tine Tubers: We like Tall Tine Tubers which we have grown before. The turnips provide foliage for the deer to eat after a freeze in the fall and the turnip “bulbs” to eat throughout the winter and early spring. Tall Tine Turnip – 55.24% Purple Top Turnip – 10.48% Other Crop – 0% Weed Seed – 0.05% Inert Matter (includes 34.18% Coating Material) Beets & Greens: This is the first time we have planted this seed mix. We are excited to see how the sugar beets in this mix preform. We have grown the other plants in the mix previously including Radish, Kale, Rape, and Tall Tine Turnips. It appears to be a mix that will nourish deer in late fall and possibly through winter and early spring. We had difficulty calibrating our hand held seeder to spread this seed because of the size difference between the larger beet seed and the smaller brassica/turnip seed. iphone cases iphone 6 When we opened the seeder up to accommodate the beet seed, it let out too many brassicas. We feel this was the cause of our planting too much seed on a smaller area than the 1/2 acre intended. We may need to look at other seeder options. WINA 412 Radish – 25.59% WINA 210 Kale – 18.87% Trophy Rape – 18.26% Newbie Sugar Beet – 14.81% Tall Tine Turnip – 2.95% Other crop – 0.05% Inert Matter – (includes 19.04 % coating material) Weed Seed – 0.05% Winter Greens: This is a good all around annual fall food plot mix. We have planted this previously. The deer will come in to eat it after a frost or two. In our area in western N.Y. State, it will be consumed from about mid Oct. iphone 7 plus case with cover until it gets really cold in mid January, maybe longer if there is snow cover. The deer will dig through the snow for it! WINA 210 Forage Kale – 24.32% Premier Forage Kale – 24.28 % Dwarf Essex Rape – 4.44% Trophy Rape – 3.29% Dwarf Siberian Kale – 3.28% Purple Top Turnip – 0.79% Other crop – 0.05% Inert Matter (includes 34.2% Coating Material) Weed Seed – 0.08% Ambush: This is a new seed mix for us and we are anxious to see how the lupines, peas, Alex Berseem Clover, sugar beets and Annual Ryegrass do in this mix. Our initial impression is that this mix germinated slowly, and the Alex Berseem Clover, and lupines germinate and develop slowly. Since the pea and lupine seed are large seeds and the percents in the seed mix are derived by weight, there are really not many lupine and pea seeds that have an opportunity to germinate. We’ll have to see how it looks in October and how much the deer feed on it. In our case, we may also need to change our planting procedure to make sure the bigger lupine and pea seeds are covered with more soil to get a higher germination percentage. Amiga White Lupine – 25.88% WINA 204 Peas – 19.80 Lumen White Lupine – 15.97 Whitetail 906590 Oats – 11.96 Alex Beseem Clover – 9.88 Newbie Sugar Beet – 5.98% DH-3 Annual Ryegrass – 4.99 Other crop – 0.05% Inert Matter (includes 5.10% Coating Material) Weed Seed -0.06% Pure Attraction: This is a new seed mix for us. cheap iphone 7 plus phone cases We really like Whitetail Oats and this was an attractive mix to us since we wanted to combine some other seed types with our oat planting. One of the attributes we like about the “sweet” oats is that the deer will start eating it almost immediately, where we have to wait for frosts for many of the “greens”. Whitetail 906590 Oats – 38.89% Whitetail 105069 Oats – 35.87 Fridge Triticale – 12.34% Bolero Peas – 4.41% Brundage Wheat – 3.72% WINA 210K Forage Kale -1.045 Premier Forage Kale – 1.04% Dwarf Essex Rape – 0.225 Tall Tine Turnip – 0.22% Trophy Rape – 0.14% Dwarf Siberian Kale – 0.14% Other Crop – 0.07% Inert Matter (includes 5.10% Coating Material) Weed Seed – 0.07% Imperial Whitetail Oats Plus we have planted previously several times. I do not currently have the seed label for the seed we planted, but I can add that later. The majority of this seed is uncoated oat seed. We really like this product! The deer feed on it almost immediately and will continue to feed on it until it is frozen out in our area. It continues to grow and the deer keep it pruned almost down to the ground. Due to abnormal growing conditions and our first time experimentation using a UTV as a cultipacker, we chose to over seed our entire planting this year with a half rate of the “sweet” oats. So far, this has proven to be a benefit, although we did get excellent germination for almost all our seed mixes.
Imperial Whitetail Oats over-seeded at half rate over all plantings

Imperial Whitetail Oats over-seeded at half rate over all plantings

Our planting process this year included two burn-down applications primarily to control perennial quack grass, followed by three discings, planting, then fertilizing. We would like to have incorporated the fertilizer in with the discings, however with approaching rains we wanted to make sure we had the seed planted, and germination confirmed before we committed to purchasing fertilizer. We also felt we probably had enough phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to get the plants going. iphone 7 orange phone cases There might be an advantage of making one late heavy N-P-K application after germination verses a split application of an early N-P-K application followed by a later Nitrogen (N) application. Ideally you would make the two fertilizer applications. We’ll see how big the turnips and sugar beets get by November 15th?
Imperial Whitetail Oats Plus germinating!

Imperial Whitetail Oats Plus germinating!

We try to follow the seeding rate on the package, usually I purchase 1/2 acre bags of seed. Sometimes it is a challenge to get the rate correctly and achieve optimum spacing between plants. If the seeding rate is to close, you get a lot of spindly plants. If it is too thin, you get gaps which allow weeds to get established. Particularly with turnips, radishes and sugar beets, if they are planted too thickly, the root bulb will be small. For these rooting plants you want them planted thin enough to grow big “bulbs”. Having enough fertilizer will also help grow big bulbs if the plants have enough space.
Always exciting to see good germination and plant spacing!

Always exciting to see good germination and plant spacing!

An example of planting too thickly

An example of planting too thickly

We had one area that we decided to turn into a food plot late in the summer and it only received a mowing and one burn down application. It was very trashy even after it had been disced about 4 times. We planted extra seed and oversewed it with the “Sweet” oats. It appears to have had good germination and we expect this plot to do well.
Good germination in a really trashy area!

Good germination in a really trashy area!

After germination it is great to watch the plants get established and in some cases fight for light and dominance with their neighbors. If you can’t get your seeding rate perfect, it’s better to plant extra seed than not have enough planted in our opinion.
Oats and Brassicas getting established! Tillering - Sinking roots!

Oats and Brassicas getting established! Tillering – Sinking roots!

Our most shady/secluded plot getting established!

Our most shady/secluded plot getting established!

We have one newly cleared area where we have cut down relatively large trees to expand our food plot area and to let more light in on or existing plots. We have cut the trees, harvested the firewood, burned the branches and have planted this area for the first time. This creates the need to disc the soil and plant around the stumps. We do not plan to remove the stumps and all our food plots have stumps in varying stages of decay. catterpillar iphone 7 case
Planting around the stumps!

Planting around the stumps!

We have planted about 2 1/2 acres of food plots this year, some is planted in between rows of english walnut trees that we have planted. We have our first nut on a tree this year! We did not plant blocks of the same seed mix types, but alternated seed mix types in about 30 foot bands throughout the plots. In previous years we have planted in blocks which resulted in some plots being pretty bare after the deer at almost everything. With this approach all the plots should have something growing throughout the entire hunting season.
Multiple Food Plots with Multiple Seed Mixes Planted

Multiple Food Plots with Multiple Seed Mixes Planted

With the food plots established and the expectation that big bucks from all over will come to flock into these food plots, we decided to build a simple hunting stand to overlook about 2/3 of the plots. At the very least it will give us a place to sit, out of the rain, in a comfortable chair while we watch the show.

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Soil Temperature – Soil Thermometer

Posted on June 28, 2016 by Leave a comment

Soil Thermometer One of the first things I learned as an agronomist, was the importance of soil temperature. Almost every seed has a specific temperature range where it will germinate best. If the soil temperature is colder or warmer than that temperature range, the seed may not germinate at all. iphone 6 plus cases black This applies to both desirable plant seed and weed seed. iphone 8 plus cases for girls A soil thermometer can be purchased most easily online. There are now a large variety of options to choose from, but the inexpensive simple “dial and probe” soil thermometer is still as good any any. They are durable and can be left in the soil for months. Just be sure to put it where it won’t get stepped on! Two examples of weed seeds that are sensitive to soil temperature in a lawn and landscape environment are common crabgrass and poa annua. Crabgrass germinates when spring soil temperatures rise to 55 degrees or above in the top 1-2 inches of soil. Poa annua germinates in late summer when soil temperatures fall to 70 degrees or below in the top 1-2 inches of soil. rechargable case iphone 7 This is very important if you are applying lawn a herbicide which needs to be applied prior to the germination of these 2 weeds. The soil temperature needs to be closely monitored to make the decision when to apply. The same is true for vegetable or flower gardens. beach phone case iphone 6 It is important to read your seed packet or seed catalog information to glean the soil temperature range for the germination of the seed you wish to plant. An example of this is the difference between tomato seed germination and eggplant germination. Tomatoes need 60-70 degrees, and Eggplants need 75 to 80 degrees. charger phone case iphone 8 Fertilizers are broken down in the soil by soil microorganisms. Soil microorganisms and fungus organisms are more active at higher temperatures as long as moisture is present. Certain microorganisms thrive in different temperature ranges; some at 40-50 degrees, some at 50-60 degrees, some at 70-80 degrees, etc. In order for the fertilizer to be broken down, the microorganisms need to be active to convert the nutrients into forms usable by the plants. personalised iphone 8 case Did you ever notice mushrooms suddenly appearing in the fall all at once. This is an indication that the temperature and moisture conditions were just right to make them grow. The take home message is that for a small investment in a soil thermometer, you can increase your ability to manage your soil related actives where knowing the soil temperature will make a difference.

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Choosing a Sprayer for Your Small Farm Needs

Posted on June 28, 2016 by Leave a comment

On our small farm we needed a sprayer for multiple uses, including several acres of food plots, an acre of orchard and the capability to correctly spray herbicides, fungicides and insecticides in field and orchard conditions. You will not find this type of sprayer at your local supplier and may have to special order such a sprayer. These sprayers will also cost about five times more than an inexpensive herbicide sprayer. This additional cost can be justified if the versatility is required for your operation. full cover case iphone 8 camo

Hardi BNL 50 Estate Sprayer

Hardi BNL 50 Estate Sprayer

If you are only spraying herbicides or other products that do not need high pressure and high water volume per acre, an inexpensive boom type sprayer is all you need. Some systemic insecticides or fungicides could also be applied with this type of sprayer. Today a lot of food plot sprayers are mounted on the the back of ATVs and UTVs for this purpose. However, if you need to apply contact fungicides, insecticides, miticides or other products that need to be applied with high water volume and high pressure to obtain thorough coverage, you will need a more sophisticated sprayer to achieve this goal. For spraying a small orchard it will require high water volume and high pressure to get up into the trees and achieve complete coverage of all the leaves, fruit and branches. This requires either an air-blast sprayer or a high pressure gun sprayer. The air-blast sprayer is the most efficient choice, but requires purchasing a completely separate piece of expensive equipment. A high pressure gun sprayer can be added to a boom sprayer as an accessory for a small orchard. With a gun sprayer your mobility is limited by the length of the hose that is attached to the sprayer. iphone 7 phone cases griffin For spraying small fruit crops like strawberries, or low height vegetable crops like broccoli, pumpkins, potatoes, etc., a high water volume, high pressure sprayer is required in order for the spray material to penetrate the leaf canopy and undersides of the leaves of these crops. Products such as fungicides, insecticides, miticides require high water volume and high pressure. Herbicide products do not require high pressure or high water volume. You will need to understand the capability of the available pumps that can be mounted on your sprayer and choose the proper pump to supply the water and spray pressure you will require.
Adjust your boom height so the spray pattern achieves good coverage

Adjust your boom height so the spray pattern achieves good coverage

If simply spraying pre-plant, pre-emergence, or post applied herbicides or other products that require low pressure and low water volume a basic boom sprayer is all you need. iphone 8 plus apple case red These sprayers are available normally from local suppliers and are relatively inexpensive. They usually come with flat fan nozzles for applying herbicides.
Adjust your pressure to meet the needs of your situation

Adjust your pressure to meet the needs of your situation

Maintenance for sprayers is relatively simple. Keep the sprayer inside, if possible. Storing the sprayer inside helps reduce exposure to moisture and sunlight. Sunlight will fade the paint and will contribute to the gradual degradation of the hoses. Moisture encourages rust. Keep any mechanisms that require lubrication greased or oiled at least annually. When overwintering in climates with freezing temperatures, the water in the sprayer pumps and lines should be replaced with an antifreeze mixture as required by the manufacturer. There are a variety of nozzles that are available for sprayers, depending on what you need to spray. iphone 6 wolves case For herbicides, the flat fan nozzles that come with the sprayer are probably all you will need. If you are applying other products, hollow cone nozzles or other types of nozzles may be required. Accessories are also available such as a diaphragm check valve for drip free shut off, which shuts the nozzle off at below 10 PSI (pounds per square inch). This feature stops the nozzle from dripping once it is shut off.
Choose nozzles that fit your needs

Choose nozzles that fit your needs

Most boom sprayers have folding booms and this is a great feature for storing the sprayer. The outside booms fold up and criss-cross on the back of the sprayer. bmw iphone 6 plus case
Features: Orchard Spray Gun, High Pressure & Folding Booms

Features: Orchard Spray Gun, High Pressure & Folding Booms

When you add additional equipment like a sprayer, disc, or bush hog to the back of a sprayer it adds weight to the back which must be counter balanced on the front. We have added weights to the front bumper of our tractor. Other options are to add a fluid inside the front tractor tires or add weights to the front tractor wheels. If you choose to add fluid to the tractor tires, a qualified tractor tire dealer can do this.
Adding weight to the front of the tractor

Adding weight to the front of the tractor

Always read agricultural chemical labels, tractor owners manuals and equipment manuals prior to attaching and using an agricultural sprayer.

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Simple Germination Test

Posted on June 26, 2016 by Leave a comment

The simple seed germination test provides you with the information to decide whether to plant the seed you have or buy new seed. When you buy new seed to plant in the current year, the seed packet or bag of seed, will tell you the year that the seed was packed for and the germination percentage. Seed companies are required to furnish this information. Seed for sale is normally harvested the previous year and will normally have the highest germination percentage. Standard seed germination rates for vegetable crops range from 40% to 80%. However, the germination rate can be much higher. I am holding a new packet of turnip seed with a germination percentage of 96%. stone roses iphone 7 case If the seed is not planted in the year it was packed for, it will normally lose viability or percent germination. Seed is a living thing and usually only needs water, and room temperature to germinate. The longer the time between seed packaging and seed planting the lower the seed germination percentage will be. ranvoo iphone 8 plus case If the seed is stored in cool temperatures and moderate humidity, more of the seed viability will be preserved. Some seeds deteriorate faster than others. Just because the seed is a couple years old, it is not necessarily ready to throw in the trash. There is a simple germination test that you can do to test the current germination percentage. iphone 6 purple glitter case

How many of these corn seeds will germinate?

How many of these corn seeds will germinate?

Take about 20 seeds and place them in a moist paper towel (not wet) and fold the paper towel so all that seeds are contained within the moist paper towel. Separate the seeds so they are not all bunched together, because you will want to count them in about 5 days. iphone 6 plus case marvel Then place the paper towel in a quart ziplock bag and seal the bag. Place the bag near a window where it can get some light, but not direct sunlight, where it will maintain room temperature of 70 degrees more or less. iphone 8 case pocahontas After 5 to 7 days you will gently open the paper towel to observe how many seeds have germinated and how many have not.
Wrap the seed in a moist paper towel and place it in a ziplock bag

Wrap the seed in a moist paper towel and place it in a ziplock bag

To calculate the germination percentage divide the number of seed germinated by the total number of sees evaluated. In this case we have 11 corn seeds germinated out of 20 total seeds (11/20 = .55 or 55%). If normal germination was 80%, we need to plant about 31% more seed in order to achieve a complete stand (80-55)/80=31. iphone 6 plus leather case torro Most of the time the seeding rate is printed on the seed packet or tag. The seeding rate includes the space between the rows and the space between the seeds in the row.
The simple germination test

The simple germination test

If the results of a germination test shows the germination percentage much lower than normal, the seed may also lack seedling vigor. In other words the seed may germinate but be unable to push the growing point up through the soil in difficult conditions.

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Turnip Food Plots

Posted on June 14, 2016 by Leave a comment

Purple Top White Globe Turnips in New Seedling Clover

Purple Top White Globe Turnips

Purple Top White Globe turnips make a great fall and winter food source for whitetail deer. indestructible case for iphone 6 We have grown these for several year and have developed some expertise in growing them. We have been involved in turnip food plots in both western New York State and northern Georgia. In both geographies, the turnips are grown as a fall and winter food source, planted in the fall. The timing of planting depends on the geography. In NY State, they are planted in mid July – mid August. In Georgia, they can be planted anytime from about September 1st through November 1st. Always follow the planting dates listed on the seed source label. best iphone x case Turnips can be grown as a nurse crop for clover with fall seeded turnips, a brassica mix, radishes or with winter killed oats.
Purple Top White Globe Turnips in New Seedling Clover

Purple Top White Globe Turnips in New Seedling Clover

Turnips need light to grow but will grow with some shade in the early morning and late afternoon. As with any food plot, it is important to pick a spot where the deer will feel comfortable coming out into the plot during the early morning, before sunset, or even during the day. Turnips germinate quickly once they have moisture for germination and will grow quickly once germinated. We do not normally use a herbicide in turnip plots because they grow so fast that they dominate other weed species. Grass weeds are the easiest to control with a post applied herbicide like sethoxdim or clethodim. Always follow label directions when using herbicides.
A great location for a turnip & brassica food plot located in a clearing with good sunlight penetration

A great location for a turnip & brassica food plot located in a clearing with good sunlight penetration

The turnips can also be grown separately as an individual crop. When seeding alone or with other food plot varieties, it is important to use the correct amount of seed. Using too much seed results in too many plants, small tubers and if planted with a clover, will shade out the clover resulting in a poor stand of clover.
This plot was planted with too much seed resulting in overcrowding and small turnip globes

This plot was planted with too much seed resulting in overcrowding and small turnip globes

Turnips, Brassicas, Radishes, and winter killed oats all require fertilizer to attain their full potential. A fertilizer application prior to planting is required to achieve this goal. If this is a new plot or you are unsure what your fertility levels are, a soil test will be a great help. iphone 8 case world When you get the soil test results, it will also indicate if lime is required to adjust your soil pH. If you don’t have time to do this, an application of a basic NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) fertilizer will get you in the ball park. Sixty pounds of Nitogen should provide a season long supply of basic plant nutrients for an average food plot crop. luke bryan iphone 6 case Fertilizer Required per Acre to Apply 60 Lbs. of Actual NPK (Nitogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) 10-10-10 – 600 lbs/a 12-12-12 – 500 lbs/a 13-13-13 – 460 lbs/a 15-15-15 – 400 lbs/a
A Feast of Turnips!

A Feast of Turnips!

If given space and nutrients to grow the turnips can grow to be quite large. Don’t forget to eat a few yourself. Purple Top White Globe turnips for deer food plots are the same as you would buy in the grocery store and much fresher!! My favorite way to eat them is raw right in the field. Just pull up the turnip, cut off the surface layer with a pocket knife, cut into slices like an apple and enjoy!! Turnips have a great slightly sweet flavor. You can also take them home and cook the diced globe, with the chopped green tops, along with a little ham, for a nice side dish of Turnip Greens & Ham.
Purple Top White Globe Turnips in New Seedling Clover

Purple Top White Globe Turnips in New Seedling Clover

The deer will start to feed as the weather gets cooler. magnetic phone case iphone x The deer usually start by eating the best part of the globes and then coming back for more as food sources diminish. The cool weather helps preserve the globes from rotting as long as it doesn’t get too warm for too long. If there is no snow and the temperatures get extremely cold the food value of the turnips will be destroyed. If there is snow cover or more moderate temperatures, the food value will be preserved longer. iphone 8 case iridescent
Beginning Feeding on Turnips

Beginning Feeding on Turnips

As winter approaches spring, if there is any food value left, the deer will eat the frozen turnips like ice cream, only leaving a white cup in the ground. At other times the whole turnip will come out of the ground so they can eat the whole globe. When there are enough globes left at the end of winter it is a good source of food when the deer come back in the spring from herding.
Spring turnip in fall seeded clover eaten to the ground

Spring turnip in fall seeded clover eaten to the ground

We have tried to grow turnips and Daikon Radishes together in NY State but we have observed that the radish flesh is destroyed by cold temperatures easier than the turnips. unicorn cases iphone 8 Sometimes the food value is mostly gone by gun season and no longer an attraction to the deer. For this reason, we are no longer planting radishes in food plots in NY State. The daikon radish plots in Georgia are normally very successful due to the milder fall and winter temperatures.

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Girdling Trees to Expand Food Plots

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Leave a comment

We are gradually clearing an old agricultural field that was once abandoned and we want to clear it again. We are using this field for multiple purposes, planting food plots, a vegetable garden, an orchard and nut trees. In order to get more sunlight into our field we keep culling trees on the edges of the field. We have been using girdling to do this.

A few years ago we started culling unwanted trees by girdling them. Girdling is the process of cutting the cambium layer or outer bark, down to the wood. In our method we use a chainsaw and make a shallow cut around the circumference of the tree in 2 places, usually about 4 inches apart; one upper; one lower, about one to two feet above the ground. It is important that the cut is made all the way to the wood specially in uneven areas of the bark. We usually do not cut more than 1/2 inch into the wood, because we want the tree to maintain its strength and remain upright until it is dead. We do not want to weaken the tree so that wind will blow it over easily.

Girdling Trees to Clear Land

Girdling Trees to Clear Land

Why does this work to kill the tree and how long does it take the tree to die? Trees have two types of vascular tissue. The Xylem (wood) which carries water and nutrients up the tree and the Phloem (inner bark) which carries sugars (sucrose) down the tree to the roots. The stored energy in the roots in deciduous trees is essential to new leaf generation each spring. When this source of energy to the roots is cut off, the tree will die. Sometimes death will take several years, but usually by the third year the tree is dead. This method can also be used to thin trees in a forest. In a forestry situation, you can come back and cut the tree down or just let it die and let nature fell the tree as it decays.

One of the benefits of girdling trees is that the wood can be used for firewood and it is kept dry naturally while the tree is still standing. If cut within the second to fifth years, when the tree is dead or near dead, the wood is dry but has not yet had time to begin to decompose. This drying while standing minimizes the time that firewood needs to “season” prior to being burned.

Using a Girdled Tree for Firewood

Using a Girdled Tree for Firewood

Why not just cut the tree down in the first place? The best time to cut an remove a deciduous tree is when the leaves are off the tree. We are not always available to cut the trees at this time of year, or we do not have enough time to cut down as many trees as we would like. By girdling the trees, we immediately stop further growth of the tree above ground and at the roots. The leaves will start to fall off after girdling, and will start letting in more light. You can girdle a tree in under 10 minutes. This allows us to stop the growth of a quantity of trees and still have the flexibility to remove them at our convenience. Since we are clearing a field, we do not want the cut trees creating clutter in our field and limiting our ability to mow or till.

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Late Summer Planted Whitetail Clover

Posted on June 29, 2015 by Leave a comment

In August of 2014 we decided to expand our perennial acreage of Whitetail Institute whitetail clover. hermes iphone 7 plus case The plot areas that we chose were newly cleared areas where annual brassicas had been planted the previous year. iphone 8 plus torro case We had our ground prepared but were in a little bit of a hurry due to some expected heavy rain. We manually spread our seed with a canvas type cyclone seeder with a hand crank. In one area we over seeded some rye as a nurse crop just to see how it might work. iphone 7 phone cover cases

Late Summer 2014 Planted Whitetail Clover

Late Summer 2014 Planted Whitetail Clover

We were not able to check on this plot again until July of 2015 when we mowed it to about 10 inches tall. You can see how the plot has filled in nicely and has created a great source of food for both our whitetail deer and our honeybees. We hope to get some clover flavored honey.
Whitetail Institute Whitetail Clover

Whitetail Institute Whitetail Clover

When we checked on the plot with the rye nurse crop in July, the rye was about five feet tall with grain heads in the dough stage. iphone 8 plus battery case red A nurse crop basically functions as a protective barrier by providing a wind break, and shade for the germinating clover, helping it to become established in adverse conditions. We hope we mowed the rye in time to kill the seed in the grain heads. If we did not, we may get some secondary germination this fall. black iphone 8 case The remnants of the rye straw was still visible in July, but will gradually decompose and disappear. iphone 6 cases spurs The decomposing rye will add calcium and nitrogen to the soil. In an open winter, without snow, you might expect to see a better stand with a nurse crop than you would in a stand without the nurse crop.

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Small Wildlife Pond

Posted on June 28, 2015 by Leave a comment

Over 50 years ago, just before my father bought this property, the previous owner created this small pond in what was a field at that time. iphone 8 plus 360 case screen protector This is a spring fed pond about 60 feed long, 30 feet wide, and about 3 feet deep. uag iphone 7 plus folio case Most likely it was made for horses or cattle and possibly for wildlife as he was an avid deer hunter. scotland iphone 6 case Over the years it started to become filled in and no longer much of a pond. About three years ago we had it re-dug for about $300.00. It has been fun to see it being used by wildlife. The pond is also near our apiary and it makes a close source of water for the honeybees. The muddy water in the photograph is where deer have recently come to drink. samurai iphone 6 case

Small Wildlife Pond South View

Small Wildlife Pond South View

The pond is at the edge of a field where our deer food plots are located, which also makes this spot attractive to the deer. Deer require a water source and this is specially helpful to them in dry periods of the year. It is the only site for quite a distance that has a permanent pool of water that can be used by our local amphibians to lay their eggs in the spring. iphone 7 case giraffe We have a variety of toads, frogs, and newts which utilize this location.
Small Wildlife Pond North View

Small Wildlife Pond North View

The pond does require some maintenance. Since we have re-dug the pond, we have made an effort to control the vegetation that wants to grow up around the pond. We do this with a combination of herbicide use, a bushhog (rotary cutter), and a string trimmer. We are certain that a lot of additional wildlife species use the pond, they are just more difficult to observe during a casual walk by.

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Our Monarch Butterfly Milkweed Sanctuary!

Posted on June 28, 2015 by Leave a comment

Monarch butterflies are increasingly having a difficult time maintaining their population. iphone 8 case slim fit One factor influencing their survival, is the limited about of their only food which is milkweed. card holder iphone 6 case We have a natural stand of milkweed in one of our fields which we have designated as a sanctuary for milkweed; meaning that we will let the patch grow with out any interference. swarovski iphone 6 plus case A patch of milkweed will gradually expand over several years by the growth of underground stems. iphone 7 plus case water We are going to allow this patch to expand and we have the space to allow for this.

Milkweed Sanctuary!

Milkweed Sanctuary!

Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants and the larvae of the monarch butterfly feeds only on milkweed plants. pink victoria secret phone case iphone 6 plus Other insects will visit the milkweed blossoms like honeybees. purple iphone 7 case
Milkweed Plants!

Milkweed Plants!

Milkweed plants can become a beautiful addition to a perennial flower garden as long as you are prepared for the underground stem expansion of the milkweed plant and are wiling to either allow it to expand or willing to keep it trimmed back so that its expansion is limited.

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Mowing Whitetail Clover as Part of Summer Maintenance

Posted on June 28, 2015 by Leave a comment

Mowing Whitetail Institute Whitetail Clover as part of summer maintenance. (we apologize for the quality of the photos in our blog, which is due to the remote location of our camera) We also wanted to highlight the multiple wildlife species that take advantage of our food plots. In the spring after a long western NY State winter, the plot struggles to come back to life. We say struggle because there is damage to the plot during overwintering due to extreme cold in the absence of snow cover. With snow cover, mice make tunnels under the snow damaging the crowns of the overwintering clover plants. Competition from other “weed” plants, both grasses and broadleaf plants, begins immediately as the soil warms in the spring sunshine. The beginning of spring in a perennial food plot is like the start of the Indianapolis 500 with a multitude of plants and seeds competing for light, nutrition and water.

May Fox in Whitetail Clover!

May Fox in Whitetail Clover!

By the time June arrives, unless you have kept up with the herbicide application side of your food plot maintenance program, a variety of grass and broadleaf weeds will begin to arise above the whitetail clover plants and begin to take their place as a permanent part of the food plot. iphone 8 cases with initials If you miss your opportunity to apply your herbicides in a timely fashion, you now have limited options to control your weeds. The best option for controlling the grass weeds is to use either the herbicide Sethoxydim or Clethodim. iphone 7 case glitter liquid Always read and follow label instructions. Control your grass weeds before mowing your plot. The blades of grass prior to mowing will have more surface area to absorb the herbicide. iphone case 7 red The next best option to reduce current and future broadleaf weed competition is to mow the plot and cut off the seed heads which are trying to produce seeds. tropical iphone 8 plus case We mow the whitetail clover as high as we can to limit damage to the clover, but low enough to cut the tops off as many weeds as we can. iphone 6 case fish The clover is quick to recover if you remove some of the clover foliage. In general cut, not less than 6 inches and not more than 12 inches off the ground.
June Whitetail Deer in Whitetail Clover!

June Whitetail Deer in Whitetail Clover!

Since this year we will not be able to make herbicide applications to our plots, we only have the option to mow, as our only maintenance option for 2015. Our only hope is that for the plots we planted last summer, and for some of our well established plots, that our stand will be strong enough to out-compete the constant threat of being overtaken by weeds. This is the first year we have photographed turkeys taking advantage of the whitetail clover in our plots. iphone 6 rick and morty case We have also observed foxes, woodchucks, squirrels, hawks, crows, and bluejays. me to you iphone 6 case The whitetail deer are in our plots all year long except for the yarding period in the dead of winter.

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