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What to plant near pine forests???
Im relocating to southern va, 375 acre farm, tons of pines,now i probably am not talking full bore food plot, just an food supplement that will grow in the pine needles , thanks for any inputs
This is great understory.
This is great understory.
This is what you probably have.
This is what you probably have.
Hey Pat. Let's talk. You've got my number. If you've got a pine plantation then you'll have to do something for the wildlife because very few animals do well in a homogeneous pine plantation. For those that are unfamiliar with a pine plantation: the pines are planted in rows on 10' centers, there is very little understory, and very little reason for deer (or any other animals) to feed or take cover.
Depending on the goals (income vs habitat) you may want to put food plots in the pines, or perhaps add CRP to any edges. Adding CRP takes away farmable land, so there are a number of factors to consider. Farmers HATE this because they lose income when they lose acres to farm.
If you are asking what will grow in a pine plantation that will attract deer there isn't anything that I'm aware of. The soil is typically acidic (due to decomposing pine needles) and the ground may be too shaded to allow anything else to grow anyhow. I would suggest that you find an area where the pines are thinner (more sunlight on the ground) and doing a prescribed/controlled burn. This burns up the pine needles and allows something to grow in the understory. Doing the burn is relatively simple but you have to be careful to follow the law. You can probably make a firebreak with a leaf blower and a rake. After the burn you've cleared the soil and have two options: either let native stuff grow up, or throw lime, fertilizer, and clover seed. Ideally, you could do several small (1 acre or less) burns this year and let some grow back naturally and seed clover in others.
had a page book marked at one time, cant locate it
browse through link or go the homepage for another search, found some good stuff there before
lime, lime, lime..... then clover
There are lots of different kinds of seeds in the soil all they need is sun light to germinate. Burning pine needles scares a lot of people but it should work, would like to do it to our pines but can't talk anybody into doing it. Recovery can take years.
Any pics of what yours looks like? Curious to see how closely they're planted.
I burn around my pines every 2 years depending on needle burden. Pain in the butt. Especially first time with a big build up. I had to rake needles away from base of every tree. It took 2 burns initially because of the needle layers from compaction and retention of deep moisture. The broken branches don’t burn well unless pushed into a pile. Underlying Clover can be burned and recovers when dormant. One problem I have is the burn stimulates fern growth.
Maybe I should have mentioned earlier that you should only burn among the Loblolly pines if they are at least 6" diameter. A skilled burner will pick a "sort of" moist day so that the burn isn't too intense.
High humidity and little wind from the correct direction makes a safe burn. That a simplification of course, but the main ingredients. I don’t know what stage of growth you have in your plantation, but when you thin, the logger will take out a complete row about every fifth row. You can grow white clover in that “down row” using Fuzzy’s recipe. The trees should be tall enough and with the thinning you should get 4hr. of sun a day on your clover. In my experience that’s about a minimum. Good luck !
Hi! I'm a newbie here, but I'm also a gardener and ecologist and there are most certainly plants that prefer to grow in acidic soils!! (see the link embedded, from Virginia Tech) First, I'd get a simple and cheap soil test just so you know if you are dealing with typical acidic soil (pH 5-6.5) or super acidic (pH 5.0 or less).
For my money and economy of effort I would suggest, as an alternative to a food plot and liming, some native plant-based habitat improvement. Starting with targeted thinning of pines- including large clearings, small clearings, general thinning, and leaving some as is- in a patchwork, but keeping deer trails or topography in mind. I'd then plant native shrubs and trees in the thinned areas and in pockets around the clearings. The Virginia Department of Forestry has native seedlings for sale at reasonable prices (buyvatrees.com).
Aside from the initial investment in plant material and a bit of fencing/protection, it would be more cost effective over the long haul and not just provide food, but also habitat for both deer and other animals year round. This technique would be less work annually, particularly helpful if you have kids or busy work schedules that don't leave a lot of time for yearly food plot installation/management- this is a 1 or 2 year investment of time that will quickly become low to zero management.
You'll also get new plants through succession and animal-assisted seeding as time goes on. The habitat can then be managed for height and preferred plants. It is also more weather/drought resistant than a typical food plot.
There will be periods of time when a pine forest isn't ideal habitat for wildlife. However if properly managed pines can offer excellent habitat. The declining pulp wood market has made it less lucrative to log, as a result millions of acres of pine forest down south are not managed.
Pine plantations offer good cover years ~3-6 then relatively poor habitat until the first thinning, usually year 12-15. If your goal is good wildlife habitat then the pines can be more aggressively thinned (every 3rd row vs. every 5th). After the second pulp wood thinning and before the trees are large enough for boards, the habitat can be excellent for wildlife.
From a food plot perspective, you're not likely to have a successful plot if there is nothing but pine needles on the ground. That's a sign of closed canopy and a successful plot will need more sun. Once you've opened the canopy, Winter Wheat or Winter Rye and Crimson Clover can handle the acidic soils fairly well.
Id like to thank everyone for your excellent input and help,,there seems to be some fairly open areas where i could plant as suggested.i appreciate the input...
Search Results Featured snippet from the web 5.5 to 6.5 availability charts to determine the best pH range for growing conifers. Students of this school believe pine seedlings grow best at pH 5.5 to 6.5. In contrast, anoth- er school uses research from nursery trials to conclude that pines grow best in “very strong acid” soils (pH 4.5 to 5.0 Ph not good for other plants.
Turtlebuc22 he's in Southside Va so he's almost certainly in a USDA Class 1/Class 2 (loamy sandy/sandy loam) with very thin (1" - 3" deep) highly organic and very acidic mineral depleted topsoil. Of course a soil test is always a great idea but in the Southside pine plantations that's pretty much a given.
I agree with Fuzzy. Loamy sand/Sandy loam. I've tested my pine plantation and found that a pH of 4.5 to 4.8 is to be expected.
Be careful last savage. If you find fairly open areas in the pines that likely because of flooding or at least seasonal flooding. If you select a white clover you might be okay because it can handle some flooding. If you could find open areas in the pines that is well drained you'll be WAY ahead.
I agree with elkstabber on seasonal flooding.
Ok guys gotcha,,, perhaps plant clover around the field edges may be a better option?? About 100 acres is planted tobacco,, do deer eat? Bother tobacco? .. i probably have a year or so stint there only before going west. So am i wasting my time? Just figuring out the deer patterns may be where id be best utilizing my days,,, moving sucks ..
1400 acre pine plantation. We have varying stages of young pines and mature pines. Ranging from thinned to clear cut. We have a ton of deer. Especially when it is wet and the mushrooms grow up. With the varying age classes and the clear cuts there is plenty of browse. We also have food plots and river bottom that certainly help.
Most importantly we manage the pressure extensively (or expensively, depeneding on the perspective). Late in the year we will spread 50 to 100 lbs of corn/acre on our food plots every few days. We rarely hunt on our food plots preferring that the deer will use them unfettered.
Deer eat the mushrooms? What type of mushrooms?? Thx
Im guessin if u can get em to eat the right ones, might be easier to get into range on em....;^)
yes deer eat many types of mushrooms, including some which are toxic to humans
Pat, if you only have one year then for sure I'd do two things:
1. Buy points for the Western state that you're moving to, and maybe neighboring states too.
2. Learn the place in VA, but don't fool with improving it with only a year available.
Savage...I wish i knew. The only mushrooms I know are morels and psilocybins. It certainly isn't the latter, I will get a few morels but not many. They are some other kind. I am in the south so it is not unusual for us to get warm weather that does help the 'shrooms growth.