Clearing woods for food plot.

Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by David Mayfield, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. David Mayfield

    David Mayfield New Member

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    Location:
    Indiana
    Hardiness Zone:
    7
    I've never done anything outside of a garden. I recently by hand did a few small 10x10 plots with a garden tiller and had to stop every few minutes to clear the vines out and this was after I raked it really good.
    I'm wanting to scale up to 50 feet wide by 100 yards roughly in fully grown woods. What equipment do I need? I have a chainsaw and four-wheeler and I really don't want to drop 20k on a tractor setup. What kinda of disc or plough do I need to cut up ground and roots that's never been touched? Can a four-wheeler pull such equipment without burning the engine up while hitting roots? Honda rubicon 500. I may be interest in buying a used tractor under 3k but have no idea about them or working on them. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Fordville, ND
    Hardiness Zone:
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    Rent a skidsteer for one day. Probably run you less than $500 and it's done. Buy a chain harrow to pull behind your four wheeler.
     
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  3. KSQ2

    KSQ2 New Member

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    Location:
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    Hardiness Zone:
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    Plots in mature timber would be a tough go I would think. You will have a lot of stumps and roots to deal with, even after you’re done with the heavier equipment. Main advice I can give is take your time with it and don’t get burnt out. The more you’re able to clear by good old fashioned hard work, the better chance you will give you’re future plot. You have until late summer/early fall to get it prepped anyway. If you can get it cleared well, then you should be able to do your actual planting work with your four wheeler, harrow like above, and a hand seeder to broadcast pellet lime, fertilizer, and seed. You four wheeler tires will work as a packer for you. You’ll have to work the ground a lot with that chain harrow, and you’ll probably want to stick with easy to seed and grow plants like winter rye and clover. Good luck!!
     
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  4. weekender21

    weekender21 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Hawaii/North Carolina
    Hardiness Zone:
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    What you're describing can take you forever with small equipment or an hour with a dozer. Might be worth finding a few other projects a dozer could help you with and hire one for a day or two. If you have on operator locally it can be pretty reasonable. I've had a few plots cleared and roads put in for much less money than I would have guessed with a dozer and excavator. Wouldn't have been possible with a tractor or UTV.
     
  5. FarmerD

    FarmerD Active Member

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    Get a soil test done to see what you've got to work with and take some pictures and post them here so we get a good understanding of what's there.

    I think your "crop" options will be somewhat limited, in what I suspect will be lots of shade. Clover is my first thought and Durana has been the most successful for me, in particular for heavy shade areas. This plot is 40 feet in diameter and surrounded by pines and hardwoods. Lots of shade and I did minimal ground prep. Getting my soil ph up was what I focused on. Don't worry about having a continuous 50 foot x 100 yard strip. If it's not perfect, the deer won't care and might actually prefer some structure.

    H-1.JPG
     
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  6. FarmerD

    FarmerD Active Member

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    If your soil ph is close to 6 right now, you might be able to get away with a leaf blower, hand sprayer, a rake (or homemade drag) 50 pounds of wheat, 100 pounds of 19-19-19 and 5 pounds of Durana, this fall (assuming 1/3 acre and information from your soil test)
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  7. FarmerD

    FarmerD Active Member

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    Durana is a perennial intermediate ladino, white clover. Once planted and some annual care, will last you a good long time.
     
  8. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    When I cut down those big trees, trees too big to get stumps out, I make a level cut so the stump can hold some salt. I also leave that stump high enough so I can see it no matter what is growing. A nice layer of deer mineral has enough salt in it to kill the stump. Then I just plot around the stumps for a number of years until those stumps rot enough to pop out later. There is one heavy equipment operator in my area, and he's extremely hard to schedule due to how busy he is. A rented skid steer can get you in the game with sunlight and get stuff cleared quickly.

    I'm renting a mini-excavator this summer to do some work, and one of the things I'm hoping to get done is popping out some old stumps from 3 years back. Having the excavator, I plan to dig a hole right where I popped it out and bury it in the plot.
     
  9. suburbhunter

    suburbhunter Active Member

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    Location:
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    This ^^^^^^
    Or a combination of a dozer and doing some yourself.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. HB_Hunter

    HB_Hunter Active Member

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    Location:
    Eastern Kentucky
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    I had a old logging road cleaned up and a plot cleared by a dozer last winter. What he did in a day with his dozer would have taken me weeks with my tractor.

    I would strongly consider finding someone locally. It’s amazing what a skilled operator can do in a short amount of time.
     
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  11. Jon

    Jon Member

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    Location:
    Tully, NY
    Hardiness Zone:
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    A lot of what you are suggesting is overly time consuming when you are working with minimal equipment, plus I guess there is an aesthetic element you may want to create with a supplemental food area that wont necessarily happen quickly if you are doing this by hand and an atv. Likely cutting the stumps and burning is an option I have seen people do, and that takes years.. but maybe that isn't a concern.

    Depending on the volume and size of the food plots I would consider a dozer or excavator, if they are smaller and you are dealing with smaller trees a mini-ex can be a great option or skidsteer. I would probably go with an mini-ex for stump removal in the smaller plot example.

    I had a dozer do my plots and although they destumped all the trees, a lot of residual material remained so I worked that with my tractor, atv and by hand pulling roots etc. So if you want some sweat work it will likely remain after and you can do a lot with a mattock, ax and bare hands.

    I would really consider the type of soil you are working with and the composition before I would make a decision to spend any money to do any of this. You may be surprised with the quality (good or bad) of the soil. If you don't have high quality soil it will take some time and money to have positive results, and in the end will it even provide enough of a return in attraction qualities that it is worth the effort... I think a lot of people don't think about this point enough... they just see happy green fields with deer frolicking.... best of luck with what you decide.
     
  12. Drycreek

    Drycreek Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I've cleared several food plot areas and as said above, if you don't have equipment or hire it, it can be a slow process, not to mention the labor involved. I was fortunate enough to be an ex-contractor with a Cat D5C dozer and a JD 310 backhoe.

    Most of my clearing however, was in conjunction with TSI. I just had them clearcut the plots and I hired an excavator to do the big jobs, such as digging the big stumps and piling the slash to burn. I took it from there, picking up roots, digging small stumps, piling them, and finally burning. Lots of root picking went on also, but I usually hired a couple day laborers and used the backhoe front bucket to carry the roots. You can depend on picking up roots each times you disc for the next couple years if there's quite a bit of timber where your plot is gonna be.

    That said, there's something pretty satisfying in planning the location and shape of your plot and seeing it to fruition. Good luck !
     
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  13. DIY

    DIY Member

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    Location:
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    Dang....thank goodness for logging decks, pelletized lime and daikon radish.
     
  14. coolbrze0

    coolbrze0 Active Member

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    Location:
    VA
    Hardiness Zone:
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    I'll 2nd this!
     

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