15 Acre Tree Planting Options

Discussion in 'Whitetail Management' started by Jerry Gille, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. Jerry Gille

    Jerry Gille New Member

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    So I have about 20 acres of tillable that I am planning to pull out of production after the 2020 growing season. I want a tree/shrub planting over about 10 or so acres, will leave a few acres along timber edges to naturally go to brush, and will keep 3 to 4 acres for food plots. About 5 acres will be predominantly shrubs and cedar, the rest will be trees.

    I have planted alot of seedlings before with plenty of die off due to heat, weeds, and browsing.

    I am thinking about hiring a forester to plant either seedlings or do a direct seeding for 8 to 10 acres. I have no plans to enroll in CRP but might consider EQIP if I can to help with some of the cost.

    So a forester I consulted suggested a seedling planting for the 10 or so acres. My question is one of survivability. Is it better to do a large scale planting where I put about 500 unprotected seedlings per acre in and spray for weeds annually for a few years or is it better to just buy and plant maybe 100 trees per year with 5' tubes? I am being quoted $400 to $500 per acre on the large scale planting. If I planted 100 protected trees myself I'd be dropping about $400 per acre for trees and tubes so the price is close but with about 400 less trees per acre.

    Alot of people here say they'd plant less trees that are fully protected but at the cost for tubes that would take me many years to pull off. I ain't getting any younger.

    What kind of survival might I expect with the large unprotected planting with weed control? Suggestions here?

    Thanks.

    Jerry
     
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  3. Wi transplant

    Wi transplant PMA Member

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    Im kinda looking into same thing just 3 smaller areas instead of one large im gonna try norway spruce (supposed to be brows resistant ) for cover . clumps of them along with natural regeneration. Then going to try an experiment buy using 50ft lengths of old wooden snow fence and make enclosures to created shrub areas like red osier dogwoods. Sumac. Crab apples ect. Then move the fence and do more every couple of years . gonna try 4 this yr and see how it goes. I too would appreiciate any input.

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  4. hillrunner

    hillrunner PMA Member

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    Absolutely protect them. The cedars will be fine on there own but your 500 seedlings per acre will be a failure without protection unless you have very low deer numbers.
     
  5. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    Could you fence the perimeter of the planting and not do every tree? I agree that it is likely that if left unprotected, you will end up regretting it. But, mayby there is a different way to protect them?
     
  6. chipterp

    chipterp PMA Member

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    I’m just going to wish you the best of luck. We gave up trying to plant and maintain trees on farms years ago.
     
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  7. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Well-Known Member

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    Are you planting any oaks?
     
  8. Jerry Gille

    Jerry Gille New Member

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    Yes, for trees I would plant mostly oaks - mainly, white, swamp white, burs, and red. This is an upland site with good oak timbers all around. The neighbor has 30 acres of overgrown pasture that is all osage, locust, and honeysuckle and I know if I don't do something and stay on top of it then his junk will walk straight across my open areas. There are good deer numbers in the area and I would expect browse to be a problem as it has on other plantings I have done over the years. The forester is just telling me that he will plant so many trees that more than enough will survive all of the perils. My fear is just wasting time and money for something like Chipterp referenced - essentially a failed effort. I am also considering doing the wide scale contract planting and buying tubes when and where I could over the next few years to protect as many as I could. But that will be real cashy too, especially after laying out $5000 or more on the initial planting. I am also thinking about doing a large scale direct seeding and trying it that way. Thanks for the comments so far!
     
  9. Wi transplant

    Wi transplant PMA Member

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    Just a thought any of you guys in the areas hit hard buy ehd now maybe the perfect time to get some tree planting in the ground !! Low deer numbers give your trees a couple years to get established !

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  10. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Well-Known Member

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    Swamp White Oak and the Swamp Bur Oak hybrid really grow fast for oaks...some very good hybrids available but I'd protect them with tube or cage.
     
  11. bigbuckhunter88

    bigbuckhunter88 PMA Member

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    Around 15 years ago my dad did a tree planting. Around 3 acres and did as suggested by a forester planting heavy. We have a high deer density and have lost some to browse and rubbing, but far more survived than what we thought would and will actually have to thin them out.
     
  12. LoessHillsArcher

    LoessHillsArcher Well-Known Member

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    Oh boy - knowing how hard deer are on trees I'd fence the whole area off from deer and do a direct seeding. Could plant bareroot seedlings behind a 3pt planter but that still has it's headaches and would take a long time assuming the terrain is accessible with a tractor. Direct seeding would be fun to try in my opinion. Then in 10+ years take the fence down. Of course that screws up hunting in those 10 years so it's likely not an option. Deer are killer on tree plantings. Good luck!
     
  13. Jerry Gille

    Jerry Gille New Member

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    You guys aren't exactly instilling me with a lot of hope here! :)

    Fencing the whole area off isn't an option. It's too big of a field and would be cost prohibitive. Plus it screws up the deer hunting big time.

    I have probably planted 3000 or more seedlings in my lifetime and a couple thousand acorns and walnuts directly. Just about every one of them that lived to the first part of the next spring have been browsed - unless they were in heavy enough cover which wasn't good for them either. I can't tube 5000 or more trees and I have had a fair share of tubed trees break off in strong wind once their canopies cleared the tubes especially walnuts. They just seemed to grow up and out too fast.

    I will probably do a large scale planting that combines seedlings and direct seeding and just tube or cage what I can when I can.

    Thanks for all the responses!
     
  14. Obsessed

    Obsessed Active Member

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    Ever witness what happens to a field or pasture within 5 to 10 years of being taken out of production, without any human intervention? It's pretty amazing. With a little selective pruning, you shouldn't have to plant a single tree. Critters will do that for you. Unless you want specific trees that don't already exist within the vicinity of your property, I'd simply leave it alone and spend your time and money on something else.
     
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  15. Jerry Gille

    Jerry Gille New Member

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    Leaving it go back on it's own is an option I've considered too. I would have to stay on top of the hedge, locust, and honeysuckle that would come from one neighbor because I do not want 20 acres of that in 20 years. But I would have to work to keep all that out of any tree planting that I may do too.
     
  16. Obsessed

    Obsessed Active Member

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    Yep, selective pruning would be a must to keep out the undesirables, no matter what plan you go with. Thorny stuff seems to conker if you don't keep it in check within new growth.
     
  17. LoessHillsArcher

    LoessHillsArcher Well-Known Member

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    Best game plan you can have there, good luck! Take pics and share please! Always enjoy seeing a tree planting progress over the years. :)
     
  18. Jerry Gille

    Jerry Gille New Member

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    Will do. Hoping to get a lot done after the beans are cut later this year. Thanks all.
     
  19. crietveld

    crietveld Active Member

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    I have a neighbor that did a direct seeding 15-20 years ago. He did 40 plus acres of old pasture and I know it was a government program of some kind. Today it is a very nice stand of timber, I'm sure he lost plenty to browse but I think the size of the planting helped spread it out.
     
  20. Muskrat24

    Muskrat24 Active Member

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    Doesn't sound likeanyone has had much luck with the trees but I just finished a TSI project overseen by a forester. I would like to do a direct oak bare root seeding in the timber. I assume the consensus would be to tube the trees? Heavy winter deer pressure in this spot.
     
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  21. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Well-Known Member

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    I’ve leaned from past experiences, it’s better to try to plant smaller numbers and take care of the trees than mass plantings.

    That being said, sometimes it all happens at once...good luck!
     
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