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Thread: Who is doing some spring habitat work?

  1. #1

    Default Who is doing some spring habitat work?

    Last fall was rough on the farm. My farmer mowed most of my CRP without asking so he could spray for thistle. Saw 2 nice coveys opening weekend despite lack of cover on the majority of the property. Then a heavy wet snow hit and smashed what was left _flat_ as a pancake. Never saw another bird.

    I've spent three days sweating my but off. Spraying brome, interseeding a bit, and using a small rototiller to plant some NWGs in small areas. Frankly it got to feeling a little like useless effort......until Friday. I was working an area into a NWG experiment patch when I heard Mr. Bobwhite calling and another bird answer back.

    Just had to stand there and smile for a minute and listen. Hopefully they're making babies soon!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    372

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    I destroyed some brome CRP last summer and got some native grass into it with a winter dormant seeding. Starting to see some grass shoots and now we got this snow.

    Hopefully it didn’t get too cold.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by McFarmer View Post
    I destroyed some brome CRP last summer and got some native grass into it with a winter dormant seeding. Starting to see some grass shoots and now we got this snow.

    Hopefully it didnít get too cold.
    Yeah I checked the stuff I seeded the prior week. Didn't see any shoots yet, and I hope there weren't any. Our place had a hard frost last night. I knew I was hitting it early but I'm going to be busy the next few weeks and it looked like a lot of rain. Had to take a chance and get it done.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Cunningham, Kansas
    Posts
    2,283

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    I've gotten 8 spring burns done for a total of 525 acres. My goal was over 1200 acres, so I'm not too happy with the total. Never saw a spring where I had to beg for a south wind! I have about 7 summer burns planned. If I get all of those done it will turn out to be a pretty good year. I may add to that total if I burn the timber where I had done an understory cut over. I need the neighbor to work his wheat stubble before I try it. It will burn for weeks so it has had me stymied! Once I get dried out (probably won't be until July) I will work up my waterfowl marshes and get them planted to millet. I tried out both of my new (to me) sneak boats this season and really like hunting from them. I'll try to get a few more days of duck marsh appreciation this fall. I put in for some new equipment in next year's grant. If that comes through, it should sure open the doors for more woody invasive control. I've been hiring a lot of that out, but I'm finding that few of the contractor's help can tell one tree from another!
    Trust the dog!

    Troy Smith

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Rapid City, SD
    Posts
    77

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    Put on another 275 trees and shrubs on our small western South Dakota place. Trying to focus on food source species; caragana, aronia, buffaloberry, crabapple. Hoping to feed some native sharptails and huns, and prepare for releasing some pheasants in a few years. We have several juniper shelterbelts in to provide cover, and I'm planting plums and other shrubs in corners of fields and other places where they won't get in the way during haying but might provide hangouts for gamebirds and deer.

    One tree we are experiencing good luck with is the Harbinger McDermmand Pear. We've planted them in ravines over the past few years, where the soil tends to stay a little more moist, and they've grown 3-4 feet per year. I put a row in a shelterbelt this spring to see how they do in dryer ground. We only get around 18 inches of annual precip so I may be pushing my luck, but I'm told the pears will produce far more fruit than apple trees, and are more disease resistant, so hopefully they'll eventually draw deer in from far and wide. Also have planted apricot, Dolgo crabapple, and Liberty apples so with some luck we'll one day have a fall and early winter smorgasboard for deer. In this country of cactus, yucca, and cheat grass, all that fruit should be hard for local deer to resist. Our sharptails will also have a much more varied diet than they are accustomed to. Very few local pheasants in our area, but we hope to change that once our habitat is better established. Sure having fun working on this.....

  6. #6

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    You guys are working hard this spring.

    Prairie Drifter: Sounds like a lot of acres to me. I experienced my first burn this spring by accident. It was nice and green so I lit a brush pile....burned off a 1/2 acre.

    Ckirsch: Interesting about the pears! I never thought about those up north. May need to investigate that for a deer planting in Northern WI, as I've got a small piece of hunting land up there with a little clearing that needs a deer attraction. We get a lot more rain up there though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Full time NE South Dakota now
    Posts
    199

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    Wow Ckirsch, good job with all the tree planting. I was able to plant 114, ceders, junipers, and golden currants bushs, plus four 7 foot tall pear trees and a few bur oaks. I believe I have two more rows of bushes to plant along a low area and then just replace the trees that are dying in an old established shelterbelt. I hope you have great success with the Plums and Caragana, ours here are doing fantastic. I will have to research the Harbinger McDermmand Pear really like the sound of how they are performing for you. Prairie Drifter, wish i hand your knowledge on how to burn. I have some 5-15 acre native praire that could really use a burn. We are so wet in NE South Dakota that we can't get into the fields to fertilize and plant yet. Food plots might get done first due to them being on ground that is drying out quickest. V/r SDviking
    Last edited by sdviking; 05-07-2019 at 09:04 PM. Reason: spelling

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Rapid City, SD
    Posts
    77

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    SD - those pear should really fly out of the ground for you given how much more precip you get. They are self-pollinating so you don't have the hassle of finding another disease-resistant species to cross pollinate. Not a great eating pear for humans but the deer apparently have no objections. Another tree I'm optimistic about is the Dolgo crabapple. It's resistant to the four most common apple tree diseases, most notably for me being cedar apple rust as we have so many junipers around. The Dolgo is self-pollinating, and bears 2-inch apples that don't drop until November and December, perfect timing for deer season. NRCS doesn't offer Dolgo so you need to find a nursery somewhere. Chief River in Wisconsin has bare root seedlings for $4-5 each. I put twenty five of those in this spring, hopefully we'll start seeing some apples in 4-5 years.

    Which species of plum are you planting? We have some native American Plum and I've put in some Prairie Red Plum closer to the house as they are reportedly much better eating. Not sure if they'll be tough enough to handle the drought and extreme temps we get here but will find out. I put 30 Aronia in as they were rated very hardy and their berries are listed as a favorite food for sharptails. Anyone know if pheasants will feed on them?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Full time NE South Dakota now
    Posts
    199

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    ckirsch, I have planted the same Plums that you are planting,Prairie Red Plum and Native Plum. Both are numerous along fence rows here and the pheasants love em. My plums are planted along a intermittent water way where the ground water level is high. The Plums are thriving there. Deer really haven't bothered them much and a few have been gnawed on by rabbits but have recovered. I am really looking forward to see if the Golden Current succeeds, they are suppose to be 3 to 6 foot tall bush with yellow flowers in the Spring and small fruit in the Fall. I have not tried the buffalo berry or aronia. SDviking

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Cunningham, Kansas
    Posts
    2,283

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    I sure hope that good habitat and time can overcome this flooding! 5.68 inches in about 48 hours and the river is crawling all over the place! Glad it was this early, but it still will have some impacts! Not the way to start the nesting season!
    Trust the dog!

    Troy Smith

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