A side benefit of planting hybrid willows and poplars in a screen

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by willy, Feb 22, 2019.

  1. willy

    willy Active Member

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    I have put in screens of miscanthus giganthus backed/fronted (depending on how one looks at it) with cedars and/hybrid willows, poplars, and cedars. The miscanthus will be on its third year this year and basically was a good screen already last year. Because of the tough winter conditions this year I decided to hinge the willows/poplars along one area of the screens to give some more browse. The deer were in the cutdowns immediately and have eaten the heck out of the branches.

    I hinged them and was very surprised they didn't break off. Most should be very viable browse producers for a few more years.

    This has given me an idea for this spring. I am going to go hog wild with cuttings anywhere I can plant them with enough space and then in three years be able to hinge them and continue the process each year to have continuous supply of good winter browse. I know that many of the cuttings will not make it for various reasons but if I plant enough of them I will still have a good crop each year for the deer.
     
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  2. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    That's an interesting concept, planting trees to hinge cut in three years. It sounds labor intensive but if you can get some stump sprouts growing after the hinging they would be permanent trees. If the trees die several years after hinging it would seem like expensive deer food. Do you have any pics of your work thus far?
     
  3. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Growing cuttings against Miscanthus screening to produce browse sounds like an outstanding plan Willy. Hinge cutting at ground level on some willows here has produced some fantastic new growth with the hinge cut lateral branch acting as multiple cuttings and sending up multiple shoots along its entire length that just go on and on. Here it happens best when the willow cuttings are grown in the soil moisture areas the willow like best. Maybe with some grading that could be replicated without drowning the nearby Miscanthus.

    On the poplar once you get established plantings, hinging them here in late January/early February not only brings browse to the deer but hundreds to thousands of new shoots come out of the roots and grow to browse size by the following winter. Maybe reducing the grass competition with Cleth might accelerate the process( note--just a thought on the cleth for that purpose-have not sprayed it on planted cuttings myself yet and of course wind would need to be right to keep the cleth from blowing into the Miscanthus just to be safe.
     
  4. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Mennoniteman, I am not following your thinking of cuttings being expensive. I have hundreds of hybrid willows and poplars that could yeild me thousands of cuttings each year and all I have to do it walk around the farm and stick them in the ground. All free so far as well as some exercise. Then when the time comes I get some more exercise and run the chain saw a max of an hour and I have dumped tons of food on the ground. It's possibly is the cheapest management tool I use on the farm. Plotting, vegetation control, and machinery maintenance are exponentially more expensive than the cutting plan.

    We got a blizzard coming but I'll try to get out there prior and take some pics. Good idea, thanks

    Thanks Chainsaw.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  5. THE LLC

    THE LLC Well-Known Member

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    Willy, what would be the chances of me getting some hybrid poplar cuttings from ya?
     
  6. willy

    willy Active Member

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    LLC, good, how many you want? They would be shipping from NE
     
  7. willy

    willy Active Member

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    The first two pics are of same poplar tree, one pic shows what the limbs look like that the deer can't reach and the other the ones they could. 20190223_094820.jpg 20190223_094803.jpg

    Next pics are of same willow, same info
    20190223_095007.jpg 20190223_094955.jpg

    This is an example of hinged willow, poplar look the same
    20190223_095026.jpg

    This is a blind I have screen with willow, miscanthus, and cedars. 3rd year for trees, 2nd year on miscanthus. I have cut the willows back twice to make them bushier on the edges and to open the shooting lanes in front of the windows.
    20190223_100310.jpg 20190223_100400.jpg 20190223_100439.jpg

    The trees have been down since Feb. 7
     

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  8. THE LLC

    THE LLC Well-Known Member

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    However many you can spare. Willows, too. Some of them, in time, will be going back to Nebraska---to Dawes County to help put some cover in an old cow pasture. What part of Nebraska are you in?
     
  9. willy

    willy Active Member

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    South of Omaha about 30 miles
     
  10. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Dawes county might be a bit dry for their liking but it won't cost much to find out.
     
  11. THE LLC

    THE LLC Well-Known Member

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    It has a creek running right through the middle of it. I got a few red willows and cottonwoods started from cuttings but they grow slow.
     
  12. THE LLC

    THE LLC Well-Known Member

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    Folks in Dawes County say that's really Iowa. LOL
     
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  13. George

    George Well-Known Member

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    That is a good use for hybrid poplar.

    G
     
  14. THE LLC

    THE LLC Well-Known Member

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    A picture from this afternoon of one cutting you sent me. Easily 8 feet.

    Hybrid Poplars 9-9-19.JPG
     
  15. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Looking good. thanks for sharing.
     
  16. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Update

    I went out to cut off the willows I hinged a couple years ago for deer food and to clean up areas around the tree where the dead branches lay. There were 2 or 3 deer beds in amongst each of the living hinged portions of the trees as well as the pockets at the base of the hinged trees that had at least a 16" diameter. I don't go into this area until this time of year and the short time I spray sericia and thistles so I don't know how much it is bedded in year round but it seems to be popular at the moment. I'm sure it's doe family groups based on numbers of beds in each cluster. The hinged trees are off the edge of standing beans and clover and amongst switch and forbs with cedars.

    I cut a bunch of white mullberry, am going to treat. Hope they eat the younger branches. It is an invasive that doesn't seem to have much wildlife value or what it does have is over taken by its ability to populate quickly.
     
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