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#6432925 - 08/31/16 10:36 AM Planting brush/cover for deer habitat
Eland Slayer Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/03/08
Posts: 4664
Loc: Conroe, TX
Do any of you have experience converting pasture land back into brushy deer habitat? Specifically....I am referring to east Texas. I'd be interested in hearing any experiences some of you might have....including species of plants you used, planting methods, and where to get seed.

Please note that I am not referring to large trees....but actual thick brush cover.
_________________________
Wade Abadie - Texas Agent & Land Specialist
www.whitetailproperties.com


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#6432968 - 08/31/16 11:07 AM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: Eland Slayer]
MoBettaHuntR Offline
Tracker

Registered: 10/29/14
Posts: 664
Loc: West is the best...
Just wait 5 years without grazing or mowing. Improved pasture in my mind is far more valuable than brush cover. However I could see with as many folks that have money to spend on land these days for hunting more than agriculture.

The popular idea is that deer have to have brush but not really true.
For example whitetails may stay in the woods in east Texas but in west Texas whitetails thrive on open grassland. If you are trying to create cover or bedding areas in a large area that is clean pasture you are better off to find somewhere different. Scrub brush land is a lot easier to find and buy than good pasture. Unless there are so many buyers for hunting land were you are I guess.


That being said heavy equipment will create bad soil conditions quickly with lots of use. Highly compacted soil or scraping off some topsoil and turf will change the topography and secession of plants forever. Usually invasive species take over within months starting with woody plants, weeds, and eventually trees. Without planting a thing you will have good brushy cover rather quickly. You could try and plant in your pasture but a good established turf will choke out any seeds planted. I guess you could round up a bunch of mesquite beans and spread them around they will cover up the place quick. Again kinda backwards from what you would want to do.

If you do have a good pasture why not lease it for ag and go lease or buy another piece with cover already there? I ranch I would rather spend the money to lease or buy good pasture than clear woods into pasture. I would think the same applies here in reverse. Alternatively why not plant it as a food plot. You probably have more deer than you think.
_________________________
-Those who say money can't buy happiness never bought a dog.


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#6432986 - 08/31/16 11:16 AM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: Eland Slayer]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
With time it can cover with no grazing it will take longer. Look at overgrazed that were once open pastureland after years of overgrazing. I have had some success making brush piles to allow browse plants a place to establish, birds will sit on the brush piles and "plant" the seeds for you. I have trimmed desired brush plants(when widening roads or clearing fencelines or shooting lanes) with seed pods or mast on them to put in brush piles also. Hackberry, Yaupon, Oak, Sumacs , Mesquites, Cedar, etc seeds are all moved around by cattle, coons, coyotes or birds(thru their droppings). Look at old fence lines that birds sit on. I would never try to get Huisache started. Don't just stick with brush plants. You can buy Bundleflower that will get taller and be great browse/seed producing. Turner Seed Co has some browse plants and forb plants that are native or introduced you can buy to plant. Get with your NRCS agent and get some feed back from him. The right one can be a wealth of knowledge. Most of them are really big into establishing back with native plants.
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#6432993 - 08/31/16 11:22 AM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: stxranchman]
MoBettaHuntR Offline
Tracker

Registered: 10/29/14
Posts: 664
Loc: West is the best...
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
With time it can cover with no grazing it will take longer. Look at overgrazed that were once open pastureland after years of overgrazing. I have had some success making brush piles to allow browse plants a place to establish, birds will sit on the brush piles and "plant" the seeds for you. I have trimmed desired brush plants(when widening roads or clearing fencelines or shooting lanes) with seed pods or mast on them to put in brush piles also. Hackberry, Yaupon, Oak, Sumacs , Mesquites, Cedar, etc seeds are all moved around by cattle, coons, coyotes or birds(thru their droppings). Look at old fence lines that birds sit on. I would never try to get Huisache started. Don't just stick with brush plants. You can buy Bundleflower that will get taller and be great browse/seed producing. Turner Seed Co has some browse plants and forb plants that are native or introduced you can buy to plant. Get with your NRCS agent and get some feed back from him. The right one can be a wealth of knowledge. Most of them are really big into establishing back with native plants.


Definitely poor grazing practices also results in woody secession. Just thinking OP doesn't have livestock.
_________________________
-Those who say money can't buy happiness never bought a dog.


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#6432996 - 08/31/16 11:25 AM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: Eland Slayer]
jeffbird Offline


Registered: 03/09/09
Posts: 1709
Here is a good native seed source.

http://www.seedsource.com

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#6433004 - 08/31/16 11:30 AM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: MoBettaHuntR]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
Originally Posted By: MoBettaHuntR
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
With time it can cover with no grazing it will take longer. Look at overgrazed that were once open pastureland after years of overgrazing. I have had some success making brush piles to allow browse plants a place to establish, birds will sit on the brush piles and "plant" the seeds for you. I have trimmed desired brush plants(when widening roads or clearing fencelines or shooting lanes) with seed pods or mast on them to put in brush piles also. Hackberry, Yaupon, Oak, Sumacs , Mesquites, Cedar, etc seeds are all moved around by cattle, coons, coyotes or birds(thru their droppings). Look at old fence lines that birds sit on. I would never try to get Huisache started. Don't just stick with brush plants. You can buy Bundleflower that will get taller and be great browse/seed producing. Turner Seed Co has some browse plants and forb plants that are native or introduced you can buy to plant. Get with your NRCS agent and get some feed back from him. The right one can be a wealth of knowledge. Most of them are really big into establishing back with native plants.


Definitely poor grazing practices also results in woody secession. Just thinking OP doesn't have livestock.

Yes sir. Just look at all the mesquites in an open pasture. You can tell the rancher rotated cattle from a pasture with mesquite beans and then had the cattle plant them in fertilized piles in the pasture he moved them to. Seen this on a ranch in the Hill Country once. One trap on a large ranch had a lot of mesquites in it(only place on the ranch). They bought a truck load of cows from South Texas one summer from a ranch full of mesquites and dumped them into that trap for a couple of days. 20 yrs later it was a trap full of mesquites. I have seen older cow piles with new growth mesquite sprouts popping out of the piles after a rain.
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#6433006 - 08/31/16 11:32 AM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: Eland Slayer]
Eland Slayer Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/03/08
Posts: 4664
Loc: Conroe, TX
MoBetta,

Thanks for the response. However, none of that really applies to my situation.

We own 200 acres near Huntsville which is heavily wooded (we recently cleared 60 acres worth of food plots, roads, and fence ROW's). We want to buy the neighboring property, which is about 135 acres....and about half of it is cow pasture. That's great and we don't mind having some open area but it's basically all in one chunk and I want to break it up a bit by planting/encouraging brush to grow in a few areas.

We are high fencing everything and will be managing for both browsers and grazers, so we do appreciate both habitat types.
_________________________
Wade Abadie - Texas Agent & Land Specialist
www.whitetailproperties.com


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#6433013 - 08/31/16 11:36 AM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: stxranchman]
Eland Slayer Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/03/08
Posts: 4664
Loc: Conroe, TX
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
With time it can cover with no grazing it will take longer. Look at overgrazed that were once open pastureland after years of overgrazing. I have had some success making brush piles to allow browse plants a place to establish, birds will sit on the brush piles and "plant" the seeds for you. I have trimmed desired brush plants(when widening roads or clearing fencelines or shooting lanes) with seed pods or mast on them to put in brush piles also. Hackberry, Yaupon, Oak, Sumacs , Mesquites, Cedar, etc seeds are all moved around by cattle, coons, coyotes or birds(thru their droppings). Look at old fence lines that birds sit on. I would never try to get Huisache started. Don't just stick with brush plants. You can buy Bundleflower that will get taller and be great browse/seed producing. Turner Seed Co has some browse plants and forb plants that are native or introduced you can buy to plant. Get with your NRCS agent and get some feed back from him. The right one can be a wealth of knowledge. Most of them are really big into establishing back with native plants.


Thanks Ranchman!!
_________________________
Wade Abadie - Texas Agent & Land Specialist
www.whitetailproperties.com


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#6433022 - 08/31/16 11:43 AM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: Eland Slayer]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
At one time there was a native plant nursery in the Rio Grande Valley. I bought some ornamental Leucaena seedling to transplant for cover in open areas. Mediocre browse quality but a good soil builder and cover. Grows very tall in a short time if you can keep the deer and rabbits off of it. Don't try to plant them in a drought, don't ask me how I know this. You used to could send them seeds you collected for them to grow into seedlings for a fee. They would send you the trays back for you to transplant. They also sold other native browse plants in trays for transplanting. I will have to look back thru some old literature to see if I can find the name of the place. (I did this about 23 yrs ago now)
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#6433024 - 08/31/16 11:45 AM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: jeffbird]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
Originally Posted By: jeffbird
Here is a good native seed source.

http://www.seedsource.com

These folks have been around for a long time also. They were great source of natives for the Hill Country area when I was looking for seeds.
_________________________


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#6433223 - 08/31/16 02:18 PM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: Eland Slayer]
MoBettaHuntR Offline
Tracker

Registered: 10/29/14
Posts: 664
Loc: West is the best...
Originally Posted By: Eland Slayer
MoBetta,

Thanks for the response. However, none of that really applies to my situation.

We own 200 acres near Huntsville which is heavily wooded (we recently cleared 60 acres worth of food plots, roads, and fence ROW's). We want to buy the neighboring property, which is about 135 acres....and about half of it is cow pasture. That's great and we don't mind having some open area but it's basically all in one chunk and I want to break it up a bit by planting/encouraging brush to grow in a few areas.

We are high fencing everything and will be managing for both browsers and grazers, so we do appreciate both habitat types.


Good luck to ya. Sorry to be nuisance
_________________________
-Those who say money can't buy happiness never bought a dog.


Top
#6433234 - 08/31/16 02:28 PM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: stxranchman]
MoBettaHuntR Offline
Tracker

Registered: 10/29/14
Posts: 664
Loc: West is the best...
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
Originally Posted By: MoBettaHuntR
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
With time it can cover with no grazing it will take longer. Look at overgrazed that were once open pastureland after years of overgrazing. I have had some success making brush piles to allow browse plants a place to establish, birds will sit on the brush piles and "plant" the seeds for you. I have trimmed desired brush plants(when widening roads or clearing fencelines or shooting lanes) with seed pods or mast on them to put in brush piles also. Hackberry, Yaupon, Oak, Sumacs , Mesquites, Cedar, etc seeds are all moved around by cattle, coons, coyotes or birds(thru their droppings). Look at old fence lines that birds sit on. I would never try to get Huisache started. Don't just stick with brush plants. You can buy Bundleflower that will get taller and be great browse/seed producing. Turner Seed Co has some browse plants and forb plants that are native or introduced you can buy to plant. Get with your NRCS agent and get some feed back from him. The right one can be a wealth of knowledge. Most of them are really big into establishing back with native plants.


Definitely poor grazing practices also results in woody secession. Just thinking OP doesn't have livestock.

Yes sir. Just look at all the mesquites in an open pasture. You can tell the rancher rotated cattle from a pasture with mesquite beans and then had the cattle plant them in fertilized piles in the pasture he moved them to. Seen this on a ranch in the Hill Country once. One trap on a large ranch had a lot of mesquites in it(only place on the ranch). They bought a truck load of cows from South Texas one summer from a ranch full of mesquites and dumped them into that trap for a couple of days. 20 yrs later it was a trap full of mesquites. I have seen older cow piles with new growth mesquite sprouts popping out of the piles after a rain.


Yes sir more of Texas than I care to think about could be said the same unfortunately.
_________________________
-Those who say money can't buy happiness never bought a dog.


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#6433671 - 08/31/16 07:32 PM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: MoBettaHuntR]
Eland Slayer Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/03/08
Posts: 4664
Loc: Conroe, TX
Originally Posted By: MoBettaHuntR
Originally Posted By: Eland Slayer
MoBetta,

Thanks for the response. However, none of that really applies to my situation.

We own 200 acres near Huntsville which is heavily wooded (we recently cleared 60 acres worth of food plots, roads, and fence ROW's). We want to buy the neighboring property, which is about 135 acres....and about half of it is cow pasture. That's great and we don't mind having some open area but it's basically all in one chunk and I want to break it up a bit by planting/encouraging brush to grow in a few areas.

We are high fencing everything and will be managing for both browsers and grazers, so we do appreciate both habitat types.


Good luck to ya. Sorry to be nuisance


Not a nuisance at all...I appreciate the input!
_________________________
Wade Abadie - Texas Agent & Land Specialist
www.whitetailproperties.com


Top
#6440682 - 09/06/16 02:29 PM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: Eland Slayer]
huntindude Offline
Tracker

Registered: 12/10/06
Posts: 885
Loc: Trinity county
We bought our place 9 nine years ago. The pasture next to ours place was being used as a hay pasture. We bought it, now the place is land locked. Only entrance is through ours. If I didn't mow a small portion of it the whole place would be a jungle. Thousand of oaks, pine, gum reaching 15ft high. Very thick. This land is right next to a creek and is kinda a bottom area. In nine years, I've only seen it flood twice. Both times this year. I have a limited trail system through it now because that's all I asked of the land owner then.

All the natural browse they could ever want.

If I had the nine years back, I would start out laying out a trail system, for humans, deer, shooting lanes, feeder vs. stand postions, food plots etc. You get the picture.

If you do buy, groom it to exactly the way you want it.
Good Luck. It will be very exciting in the years to come to watch it progress.

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#6440683 - 09/06/16 02:30 PM Re: Planting brush/cover for deer habitat [Re: Eland Slayer]
huntindude Offline
Tracker

Registered: 12/10/06
Posts: 885
Loc: Trinity county
east Texas

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