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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, I read/hear about food plots all the time. I know that most work based on conversation, etc. I would like to experiment on my new found lease with plots next season. However, what about various fruit and nut trees? Would I be correct in assuming that trees will create a lifetime of food for deer? Wouldn't there come a time when trees are self sufficient and wouldn't require yearly, quarterly, etc., attention? A variety of species that produce at different times of the year. Of course this would be supplemental to plots, not in place of.

Also, what about berries/shrubs such as blueberries, blackberries, honeysuckle?

My lease is 5 hours away from where I live. Some years, such as this one, I may not be able to get up to the property as often as I would need to to attend to food plots. I am trying to figure out what might work in those years as opposed to just nothing at all.

Thanks!!
 

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Deer do love to eat blueberries and blackberries but neither are ripe during hunting season. Still they are good food for deer. Each year we see evidence of deer feeding in our blueberry orchard. Honeysuckle is a real great attractant to deer and is used during hunting season. If it will grow in your area you definitely want some.

The deer will also eat the blackberry new growth readily. Don't over look greenbriar aka sawbriar either as it is an excellent food source for deer and very hardy. Muscadines are readily eaten by deer and at least around here are still hanging during early bow season.

Persimmons are great as are apple trees and of course oaks especially white oaks are a favorite food source but a long term proposition at best. There is a new imported super fast growing oak that is supposed to begin dropping acorns in just a few years I hear. Crab apple trees are good as well.
 

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Graybeard,I have a question?In my area,until recent weeks,has expeirienced a lack of rain,but oak trees are really puttin out a lot of acorns.I thought during drought type conditions they really don't produce that much.
 

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Not necessarily. Oaks have DEEEP root systems and tolerate droughts quite well once established. You're way more likely to lose a crop due to late frosts than drought. But oaks are quite tough and resilient and every year some acorns will be formed no matter the conditions.

I think that new imported one is called sawtooth but don't bet the farm on it.
 

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"I thought during drought type conditions they really don't produce that much."

What Graybeard said, plus some of the oak trees require a two year cycle in order to bear acorns. BTW: Deer prefer white oak acorns because they contain less tannic acid. Started fertilizing a few of the white oak trees on one of our places a few years ago. This year those trees have a bumper crop.

"Another interesting thing about acorn production is that there are species that take one season from flowering till acorns mature, and there are species that require two seasons. In general, species in the white oak sub-genera take a single year, while species in the red or black oak sub-genera, take two years. An exception is coast live oak (Q. agrifolia), which is a black oak whose acorns mature in a single year. "
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the input.

Here in South FL, builders use the sawtooth oak when building new subdivisions. They say that it is the fastest growing oak tree. They line the streets with them and replenish most of the common areas with them. We were required to have 6 on our lot. Now, we built our house 3.5 years ago and our oaks still haven't produced yet. Actually, it looks like none in the neighborhood have yet. They are about 12 feet tall, on average. I don't know how old they are.
 

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You have to weigh the cost of installation and maintenance of trees and shrubs until they are of bearing age and health against the possibility that when you have done everything right and are in the expectation of reaping the benefit of your reward the property owner pulls the plug on your lease and you find yourself on the outside looking in. Improvements to real property belong to the property owner regardless of the origin of that improvement, unless a suitable defensible written document exists stating otherwise. This is why houses are not built over property lines, utilities secure easements in perpetuity, and fences keep folks out. Leases are "Title to Nothing" in relation to improvement to the land.

Every State has its favorable plant species and a Master Gardner should be consulted for suitable plants for your area if you are serious about proceeding.
 

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For what its worth, we can't keep lilac without the deer coming up in the yard to eat it. But its poison to honey bees.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks cornbelt. Since this post was rekindled, I'll make mention as to the lease...and a good thing that I didn't proceed to plant on that property. Our renewal came due, at a bad time in the economy recently, and only 2 of the 12 members could renew, myself and one other. So...neither he nor I wanted to take on the payment of the remainder...so we lost the lease. Land_Owner...you must be psychic.
 

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Sometimes "psychotic" I think BRL. I'm just pragmatic, widely read at times on some issues, and a land owner with food plotting and tree/shrub installation experience. As a land owner, I get "shut down" too at times by Poachers, trespassers, and adjacent land owner's kids that run their ATV's helter skelter in deer season.

BTW, do you want to come to Mims for some hog hunting this year? They are conspicuous right now by their absence. We tried this a couple of years ago but it never came to fruition and died on the vine so to speak. PM me. We'll talk!
 

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If you plant fruit trees for deer, be sure to fence them good until the trees are large enought to fend for themselves. I have planted fruit trees an inch and a half in diameter and 7' tall that were eaten to the nubbs the first night after planting. They seem to like young apple trees better then apples.
 

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Real good point BD.

Something else about "introduced trees". Bucks tend to rub them and that rubbing will kill a new tree that is not protected. Heck, them rubbing an older local tree will kill it too.

Maybe that's a good way to lure a buck. Plant an immature fruit tree and wait for it.
 

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I think that the origial poster has some great ideas with trees and shrubs, but like landowner mentioned, if the lease is pulled, you are out of luck. Food plots are probably your best bet. They produce quality forage quicky, and there are products that require a minimum of prep and care. If you are allowed to cut trees, why not selectively harvest a few and open up the canopy and let nature fill it in with your underlying brush, shrubs and cover? Just my 2 cents
 

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KAYR1.... I do exactly that. I have 40 timbered acres with a few opening of one acre or less. Some of the ramaining timber has been thinned to 15 or 20 foot spacing. Enough to let light in and brush species to establish. In the areas where the brush has been established long enough to become woody and less palatable, I either cut it back or use fire to resprought the brush. I also hand fertilize the more prefered species like willow. We have lots of snow in the winter and food plots are of little value then, thats when the brouse species are life and death.
 
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