Tag Alder Wetlands Improvement

i have a wetland area on my property that has a fair amount of dense tag alder along with some big maples and the typical wetland grass. During the winter the deer seem to stay on the edges. Has anyone done any improvements in these types of areas and what did you do? Also did it work? I would like to also put something in to provide some more food/thermal cover.
Based on your posts Prelude, it seems we are in very similar situations and your land sounds akin to ours in northern Minnesota.

We are also on tag alder swamps and have pockets of higher grounds. The only difference I notice is that your mature trees are maples, whereas we have mostly poplar, but the maples are starting to move in as the poplars are dropping.

I am no expert, but we have started a 15 year or so forest restoration on our land since I took over management of it (previously there was none). Our first step was to harvest small pockets of the poplar to provide a better age structure to our trees. I would do the same on your property. We had about a 5-fold increase in deer traffic inside the woods just by opening up the canopy in a few spots to provide feeding opportunities. Mature maple is similar to mature poplar, not much deer value.

We took some small cut areas and tried to encourage growth of some more native trees that would provide deer cover. We are planting 1500 trees this spring that are a mix of spruce, cedar and young maple, all of which are tree types that grow in wet areas. On top of this, we are mixing in some dogwood (silky and RO) along with american plum to provide some additional cover.

We have sprinkled in some small plot areas as well, but have learned that due to the amount of shoots we produce from our poplar harvests, the only real need for food plots is some late season plotting (an acre or so) that is seeded in strips of cereal rye and brassicas. It's was important to us to make sure that our timber improvements were the focus, while food plots were just supplementing a good deer overall habitat.

I would recommend this article because I it was great inspiration for our area and sounds like it would apply to yours as well:


Good article! I'm a little south of you guys but in a similar situation. I started another thread about creating cover in low/wetland areas so
you can check out some of the replies here...

Also, this is the mix I'm working on at Ernst Seed that I hope will do well in low areas.

Kanlow Switchgrass 30%
VA wildrye 30%
Japanese millet 20%
Red Osier Dogwood 10%
Big blustem 5%
Indiangrass 5%

I like the idea of a "natural browse" food plot to go along with what I'm trying to do.