What would you do?


Well-Known Member
Took another grandson hunting Friday and Saturday morning, then got him back to his basketball game. Only deer we saw were at night, but some of his comments were interesting. As he closed a gate after the Friday afternoon hunt (it was dark by then) he said "Wow, I don't ever get to see the stars!" Then as we sat in the stand Saturday morning he could not get over how beautiful the sky looked over the trees. I snapped a quick picture:


While sitting in the stand and looking at picture later I wondered what to do with the tall dog fennel that is growing among and around the Sawtooth and Persimmon trees that I planted in 2013. The trees are now three or four feet taller than the fennel, but the fennel and other weeds have provided a bit of screening, and I think helped protect the trees a bit.

At this point I am thinking of mowing around all the trees so that they have less competition. What else would you do with the area? I have thought it served as a buffer along the National Forest, maybe helping the deer to feel safe on my side of the line. Problem is, no deer are showing up in daylight, so I think I need to help the trees more than the hunting. As you can see in this next picture, when I do mow the areas it releases the seed bed, typically rye grass. Do you think I should try for a clover patch among the trees? Help

I would mow as much as possible, weed whack around the trees, then spray the new growth. Dog fennel is too strong of a competitor in my opinion. Kill it and protect the trees.
Lak, I clean around persimmon once in the spring. I do have just a few sawtooth too, and both seem to do fine with a spring cleaning. I don't have DF but do have blackberry briers.

You just need to decide on how valuable the DF is for cover. If the cover value is worth it, you may want to just let it go. You could always clean out around the trees more often but leave the rest for cover.
Remember my fescue field that I sprayed 2 years ago. The year of the spraying it looked great and saw deer in it all the time. This year it was grown up thick with dog fennel. I thought, this will provide some thick cover for the deer so late summer I just mowed a few trails through it. Saw way less deer this year. For some reason the deer did not like traveling in the fennel. I mowed it all down last week. This year I will do a late spring mowing in hopes that the native grasses will out compete once the fennel is stressed from mowing. If not then I will do a spraying of 2-4d. I want to avoid that as I also have a lot of wild flowers also. It's amazing how many different species of plants were being suppressed by the thick fescue. So I would get rid of the fennel also.
I don't know. I've gotten to encouraging dog fennel on my place---especially in thinned pines. As long as it stays out of my plots I like it. Makes awesome screening and bedding cover for deer that is easy for them to move around in. I always hated the stuff until I got to walking around in it in my pines this fall and realized how much the deer were liking it. Just my two cents.
Thanks for the input. I think I will knock it down after season and allow the trees a spring/summer without it. Trees really grew this year and I think it is worth losing the cover for the trees. My deer are just way too nocturnal so cover not doing me much good now.
I don't know what you should do with the DF but you are doing everything right with that grandson. Not very often you hear the new generation talk about how beautiful the stars or a sunset is. Typically you can't get their heads up from their phones long enough to see it. Congrats on teaching that grandson right.