Releasing oaks from weeds

Discussion in 'Native Habitat Management' started by shedder, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. shedder

    shedder Active Member

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    2 year old SWO, Q bicolor, released from 5 foot (1.7m) weeds. I was amazed it and others were handling this. Is there any downside to doing this in August? Will it sunburn the leaves or something. I assume, it is better than leaving them in the weeds.
     
  2. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    Without protection.....they will become deer food. You just put up a sign that said......"Free snack right here!" Yes the light and the like can only help them grow more.....but while they are in reach of the deer.....they will struggle. If you want them to turn into something - cage or tube them. By just removing the grass/weeds.....you simply traded one "evil" for another in my opinion.
     
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  3. shedder

    shedder Active Member

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    In my area, deer numbers are so low and they tend to not winter here so I don't have that much trouble with them, yet. When they catch on it may be a problem. Hares are worse here. I do see some issues when I cut ash near seedlings. The deer home in on ash suckers here.
     
  4. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    The world is full of little critters with teeth. If your going to go to the hassel of "releasing" these little trees, take the time and put some cages of hardware cloth around them and some cheap rebar or the like to protect and mark them. Not sure why but it seems like mother nature likes to eat the things we don't want them to......

    I have few deer as well, and yet I had one remove an actual cage from a 6' chestnut tree of mine and then eat every leaf and soft stem and then rub the snot out of it...... I had to start over with a 12" stick and 2 small buds, this spring.
     
  5. shedder

    shedder Active Member

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    I have 50 caged but I have 1000+ trees.

    By low deer numbers, I mean 5 sq mile or less.
     
  6. Fishman

    Fishman Member

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    It may be better and last longer if you do your weed control in another 4-6 weeks. The weeds will be naturally dying back and the tree will be getting ready for winter also so it should not be as affected by the sun. Down here if you cut anything now, it will grow back before fall arrives as the weed growing season will last for another couple of months.

    I am still not sure what to do about weeds. The weeds will rob the seedling of water, but they also shade the tree some from harsh sunlight that will dry the seedling out. The lack of light will inhibit growth, but also hide the tree from hungry deer. My deer will eat trees out in the open, but pretty much ignore them if they are the same height as everything else. If the tree sticks out, they will nibble on it.
     
  7. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    Then it simply isn't practical to cage that many.....I had no idea you had that many. I would try to find a way to mark the location and see how things go. I would leave some in the weeds and some exposed and see which ends up doing the best in the long run. You don;t know until you try.
     
  8. 1yellowdog

    1yellowdog Member

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    I tried for years to "mark" seedlings with flags, stakes, etc. but the weed control was impossible. I planted 1750 seedlings 7 years ago and the survival rate was below 30%. The weeds and grass choked out a majority of them. The seedlings that did take and getting above weed height were getting hammered by deer. I finally jumped into the tree tube world and my success rate is around 85% with the 2000 seedlings I have planted in the past 5-6 years. The only thing I would do differently - buy taller tubes. I started with 4' tubes but they are right at perfect deer height. The weed control is so damn easy with tubes. I spray around the base of the tubes with gly, and it controls the weeds for around 2 summers.
    I have now gone to caging a few of my tubed trees....
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    This is a 5 foot tube that deer have a difficult time reaching to browse:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
  9. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Seedlings in wooded shade struggle, seedlings in tall grass not so much because there's always some sunshine filtering through the grass. The sod helps preserve moisture, and you usually don't see dead seedlings in tall grass like you do in dense wooded shade. I'd've just left them keep growing several more years until they outgrow the grass.
     
  10. shedder

    shedder Active Member

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    Good to know. I wondered about that.

    I also have tried cutting the weeds just to the top of the tree to help hide it but increase light.
     
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  11. sagittarius

    sagittarius Member

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    I try to cage a few more small oaks each year, when I like where the squirrel planted it. When they are small rabbits are the problem, then deer from browsing and rubbing. It takes a deer less than 10 seconds to wipe out two years of growth. The key is to protect the central leader from any damage. I've been using 5ft cages with T posts. I have a few oaks now bove 12ft that I can start removing cages to put on other seedlings. Maintenance during the summer is removing virginia creeper, grapevines, from cages, and giving them space from unwanted trees (buckthorn, elm, box elder). Late fall I'll trim lower branches so more energy goes into vertical growth.
    3burSM.jpg 1burSM.jpg 2burSM.jpg
     
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  12. 1yellowdog

    1yellowdog Member

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    Any concerns or issues with the bucks rubbing up those young oaks once the cage comes off? A 12' oak is still only 3-5" in diameter.
     
  13. sagittarius

    sagittarius Member

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    Yes. There is always a risk. In the right location a buck will rub on almost anything, or if he is desperate for a rub. The preferred rub trees in this area are cherry, sumac, cedar, crabapple, and the like. Here I have to protect young oaks more from browsing, rather than rubbing, based on local habitat. I have a couple wild crabapple caged for 12 years now, in their location they would get trashed the first fall without a doubt. 14 years ago had a deer rub a 6" diameter cherry tree on the edge of the lawn. Killed the tree above the rub, so I trimmed it off. Tree resprouted multiple braches below the rub, sent up one leader. Now the tree is 10" diameter 24 ft tall, and you can't tell it was ever rubbed. ;)
     
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  14. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Oaks grow like weeds in my neck of the woods, caging them would seem like unnecessary effort. I think the best thing I could do for my oaks is eliminating the competition trees like locust, maple, sassafras, gum etc. Trees seem to outgrow weeds, but not other trees.
     
  15. 1yellowdog

    1yellowdog Member

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    The part of i enjoyed about this discussion is the diversity of growing areas; what works great in one area may not in others. And there has been plenty of ideas I have taken and implemented at my place.
    I am one of the farthest north growing areas that I have noticed on here in zone 3 (Central MN). I have a heavy sod mat (clay and loam) in an old corn field that hasn't been tilled in 15-16 years. I have struggled with my trees left "in the weeds" so I continued to search for marking and protection.
    Here is an example of Hybrid poplar trees all planted in the same year. First one is under 6" tall (no protection, just marked with a stake so I don't hit on the tractor.
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    2nd: left unprotected, good growth and around 18" tall
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    3rd: tree tubed and surrounding area sprayed with gly and its over 5' tall. My biggest threat now with 4' tree tube is the deer browsing.
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    4th: well over 6' but has been browsed multiple years. At this point, I am not caging poplars and nature has to take it from here.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
  16. shedder

    shedder Active Member

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    I am not seeing your pics. You seem to be using Google Photos. Are you setting the share options on the folder or pix for others to see them?
     
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  17. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    I knew I had this tree hiding in some berry bushes and took a pic over the weekend....just for you! It's a bur oak I had noticed a few years ago. I have a few oaks like this where I just let them fight there way through. The deer don't seem to bother them as much, but as soon as I try to give them some help.....the deer will eat or rub them to death.
    hiding oak.jpg
     
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  18. shedder

    shedder Active Member

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    I have seen them do the same thing. Last year, i had a couple of SWO doing really well uncaged. I figured they needed more light so I cut some firs in the way. The next day I saw they were clipped. I caged them quick.

    It is like they follow me around and check for opportunities.
     
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  19. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    I figure they do it for spite.....they are like, "Oh, mr person likes this, so I'm going to "F" it up!" I have told this story so many times, I am not sure who has all heard it, but I had a deer remove the cage and reduce a 6+foot chestnut tree to tattered stick. Before. What they didn't eat they rubbed. When I cut back all the dead to try to get it to recover I had about 18" of stick with 2 buds on it. #$%@ Deer!
     
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