One thing about being an absentee landowner/habitat manager is that nothing ever goes according to plan. I typically have a list of things that I want to get accomplished, and a list of back up things to do. It is not uncommon that something is not working correctly, and requires a change of plan to keep from wasting an entire day. Today when I arrived my tractor tire was flat. Thankfully, it was the front tire. I keep a small compressor just for such occasions. A few minutes later, I was up an running.
Here is a picture of a nice switchgrass field. This one is about 7 acres in size, and provides a nice screen from the county highway. It gets a lot of use by deer throughout the season. Hard to tell from the picture, but this grass is well over 6' tall.
In addition to grasses and brushy habitat, I do have quite a bit of forested habitat that is equally messy . Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to play in there today.
Next to cover, my next priority is food. When I first purchased the property, there were no row crops withing 15 miles, now I am surrounded on 2 sides by hundreds of acres of row crops. This has changed my strategy. No longer do I need to put in expensive Spring crops. Instead, I focus on perennials and fall plots. Today I mowed several clover plots and lighted over sowed chickory, rape, PTT and daikon radishes into some of the stands. Other plots were sprayed in preparation for rye, wheat, oats and brassicas as well as a few AWP for early season attraction. Now I just need a little more rain!
My other focus when feeding deer are hard and soft mast trees. There are tons of oaks on Sam's Place, with Shumard, chinkapin, and post oak being the dominant species. Burr oaks are also quite common. I have planted a number of other species over the years. Here is a little sawtooth oak that is putting on its first acorns. It's been in the ground 4-5 years, and has survived a lot of tough weather and deer attacks prior to getting caged. Sorry for the blurry photos. The phone doesn't like macros.
My poor little DCO's were planted the year before the worst drought of my lifetime. They have struggled, but survived for the most part. After 6 years they are still little runts, but a few have put on their first acorns as well. Also notice the partridge pea plant along side the DCO.
My jujubes are also putting on some fruit. Both of my bigger trees have put on about 4-5' of growth this season which is exciting, and now both have fruit. I didn't see as many fruit as I had anticipated from the flowers, making me think that they are a little too far apart for the beetles to pollinate. I have some trees that I grafted that will be planted to fill in the space.
I should have had literally thousands of apples and pears this year. An early bloom, followed by a late frost took most of the flowers, but I still had several hundred developing fruit on the 30 or so trees that are producing. Unfortunately, a very dry Spring and early Summer caused almost all of the trees to abort the majority of their fruit. Here are a few of the sickly survivors.
OK, one more. This is an oak that I direct seeded 2 years ago then protected by driving the small piece of PVC around it with a mallet. I have experienced good success using that method as long as I mark them clearly, and don't run them over with the brush hog.
Mine would have been much further along with better weather and some TLC. Brushpile planted DCOs at the same time as me, but protected and watered them, and his look like trees. I suspect mine have roots that rival much larger trees though