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Author Topic: Planting Mast Trees for Deer  (Read 1958 times)

Offline redbonesrock

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Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« on: May 08, 2011, 12:06:11 AM »
One of the most effective long-term solutions to providing high nutrition leading into the winter is to plant mast trees, preferably white oaks that carry acorns every year. There are several white oaks to choose from, but the white oak variety that you choose is not as important as where the acorns came from. As a small nursery owner and tree planter from way back I am concerned about the number of big names that are getting into the "tree business". While their intentions might be good, as in providing good quality trees for deer and other hunters to plant, their methods leave a lot to be desired.
One of the most recent is Mossy Oak who is known for the popular camo and other products such as food plot mixes and hunting gadgets. The problem is this, most of the trees that they sell are grown from nuts collected close to their stomping grounds in northeast Mississippi. That is great if you are planting those trees in the same growing zone, but if you plant those trees up north you can forget about them thriving and perhaps even living. All of the growth habits that are related to climate and so on from the parent tree are built into that little acorn. For the same reason you would not take northern white oak acorns and try to plant them down south. Those northern white oaks cannot tolerate the southern climate.
If you want mast trees for your property find a local grower and make them tell you where they get source their seed or liners if they buy started trees and then grow them out for a year or two before they sell them. In that way you will protect yourself from wasting a bunch of money on trees that sound good but wont grow where you plant them.
The second thing you want to do is to plant your trees in the fall, that's right in the fall, like mother nature intended!!!! And when I say fall, I mean after you have had a hard frost and the trees have gone dormant for the year. The trees don't quit growing, they just put all their growth into roots at this time. For the midwest this is generally from Oct 1 to about the middle of November.....this is prime time for scouting anyway so it is a good time to be in the woods.....for those who live in the south you will want to wait a little later. If you plant your trees then, the roots will continue to grow until the ground freezes and they will take off the following spring. If you plant trees in the spring you will need to provide 5 gals of water per tree  per week for the first summer to keep them alive, and that is if you mulch them. If you don't you might need to water them every other day to keep them alive. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be fishin' all spring and summer instead of watering trees.
By following these simple steps you be assured of providing good mast for your wildlife for years to come.

Offline Split toe

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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2011, 06:49:13 AM »
That's some really good information...thanks for sharing!
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Online BeaglePup

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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2011, 06:57:08 AM »
Good Info, my land if full of oaks (4 different types).  The white oaks do have acorns every year and I have noticed that the pin oaks seem to produce every year also, some years heavier than others.
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Offline Zos41

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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2011, 07:52:19 AM »
Good info here, thank you for posting
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Offline ameshell

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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2011, 08:28:52 AM »
 @--0--0123 Great info! I would not have thought about planting in the fall @--0--0117 And the trees are probably cheaper too!
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Offline dave 1211

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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2011, 09:48:41 AM »
that is good info thanks
turkey season was a wet one now on to deer hunting in October

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Offline hawghunter65

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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2011, 05:45:21 PM »
great info.  i let my squirrels plant my oaks and selectively cut those that won't make good timber or are growing to close together.  once i learned about digging with post hole diggers about 12-18 inches deep and putting fertilizer into the hole and then recovering the hole, my hunting oak trees have been producing more acorns.

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Offline redbonesrock

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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2011, 10:03:21 PM »
Thanks for the kind remarks to all of you.
     For fertilizing young trees under you can use 2 Tablespoons of Osmocote around the base of the tree. Osmocote is a slow release fertilizer which is the best type for trees to grow on and is available at Lowes and other garden centers. It will fertilize your trees for 3 to 4 months and should be applied just prior to green up in the spring. Do not fertilize in the fall at you don't want your trees putting on fresh growth going into the fall. If you turn the fertilizer into the top 2 inches of soil it will release a little slower...up to six months. As with most things, more is not better when it comes to fertilizer. Follow the directions on the bag if you are in doubt, and measure the size of the tree 6 inches above ground level not right against the ground or you will just be wasting fertilizer. On larger trees you want to place fertilzer in several places around the dripline of the tree. Follow an limb out to the end and then place the fertilizer right under the branch. That is where the tiny feeder roots are and that is where the fertilizer goes. While regular granulated fertilizer is much cheaper the frequent rains in the spring will quickly leach the fertillizer through the soil and it is wasted while the slow release fertilzer gives your trees a steady supply of fertilizer at a low rate over an extended period of time.
Here in the midwest you should only fertilize once a year, while in the south where there is a longer growing season you can fertilize prior to greenup and then about mid-July fertilize at half the recomended rate again for an extra boost.
     If you live in the mid-west I do have great grower located in the St. Louis area for all hardwoods. If you plant the trees according to their directions you will have nearly a 100% survival rate which equates to 50 trees per acre for reforestation projects. Planting trees tighter than that limits their mast production as they are competing for water and nutrients in the soil. The trees from this nursery will start to produce acorns 3 to 5 years after planting rather than the standard 12 - 15 years that you can expect from bareroot trees that most nurseries including most state nurseries will sell you. In addition bare root trees are usually shipped in the spring which gives you all of the problems that I previously discussed with watering and survival. If you do not live in the St. Louis areas, the nursery will deliver orders that are over $500 but that will add approximately $50 or more to your order....prices are from last year so I am not sure on shipping rates this year. Trees are normally around $12 a piece, but for this cost you will be getting a tree that is 3/4 to 1 inch guage and close to six feet tall which eliminates browsing damage normally caused by deer and other animals on the 1 to 2 footers that you get from most nurseries.
      If you are a QDMA member and want to order trees I will be placing a large order for fall delivery and I will sell to you at my cost. If not a member but you are a member of the TalkHunting board I will also sell at cost to you. I have never lost a single tree that I have bought from this nursery of the 100's that I have planted and have acorns as early as the 2nd year after planting. If you are interested let me know....just remember these are midwestern grown trees so if you live in the south you will be better off with something grown locally. I know the nursery worked with LSU and other colleges following hurricane Katrina and was responsible for helping to grow and plant over 50,000 hardwood trees in the area impacted by the storm. They are currently working with Missouri State University and Illinois State University on river bottom reforestation projects in the Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio River bottomlands.

Offline jfbiggs

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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2013, 09:09:37 PM »
Do you still deal with this nursery? I am pretty close to you and I am interested in buying some trees for my hunting property In southern Illinois. Thanks

Offline Snortweeze

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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2013, 09:10:57 AM »
Agreed, it just takes a while to grow them. I make it a point to plant a couple dozen trees every year.
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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2013, 12:01:32 PM »
good info I would add that if your transplants trees do it in the winter when they are most dormant , summer heat will kill them if not watered.

Offline 5114TX

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Re: Planting Mast Trees for Deer
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2013, 04:05:30 PM »
Great info here, redbones!!!   Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise.    I'll be looking for some Osmocote this fall for my oaks and pecans.   Thanks again!!
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