Creating a Bedding Area in a Sedge Wetland Need Help???


5 year old buck +
Hello Habitat Gurus. After many hours of sitting in the deer stand I am left with a new task. I want to add to our existing willow bedding area and expand it into a wet sedge grass wetland. This is a new property for us so I do not know how long it has standing water however last year I am sure the better part of the year. Was not a normal year however. I am located in north central MN in Zone 3/4a. In Ottertail County for those MN boys on here. How much water can willow stakes/planting take? I was thinking about trying that to see if they would take off. Open to ideas. I am guessing they will have standing water for at least half of the summer. Just based on the topography and hydrology in the area.

Sorry for the busy map but the planting is on the left side.

Thanks - Aaron


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Dealing with the same problems Aaron. Have you ever noticed if they bed in there after freeze up?
They do at my place. They will bed in read canary on ice once it freezes.

I have plenty of sedge but much of it is wet and little grows there. Hard to say if Anything Will grow there without drying it out first.
I've been planting white spruce and red pines in mine. I want to plant giant willows cutting next spring. My sedge meadows are heavy alluvial soil. Part of one was a beaver pond 40 years ago. I'm sure the Beavers are one of the main reasons the soil is so rich. Now these are places I don't get standing water. Do you have any bramber bushes growning in it? That is the standing water indicator on my property.
I've been adding red dogwood and elderberry to my standing water marshes. Any hump gets spruce and pine.
Jeff - They do not bed in it at all. But with that being said we have much better bedding areas near it and it would not be very secure feeling for them.

Dipper - Not sure what bramber bushes are. You will need to educate me. It is heavy alluvial soils here as well.

We might try the hay bale trick many have talked about on here. We will see how this winter turns out. Maybe we can haul some out there in strategy areas and then plant willows into them.

I am guessing it is too wet for anything however always hoping for something out there which might work. I think our gameplan at this point to make some islands where possible and them plant at a later date. We are just trying to create some more bedding areas and some travel routes for rutting activity.
I'm not exactly sure what I have growing on the edges and in some of my small sedge meadows. It might be blackberry or raspberry, or something different. That's why I just call them brambles.
I had thread on the dark side about mature tag alders. I cut them about 2-3' off the ground. Making sure not to cut good species like birch growing inside the clumps. I might have to start that thread here but I have little mature alders anymore. The alders are on the edge of my sedge meadows. They become prime bedding within months after cutting them due to the regrowth.
Just a couple things to think about since it sounds we have similiar type of terrian.
I've seen what we called dew berries (no idea if that's what they were..but they weren't blackberries or black raspberries) growing in damp sedge meadows in Juneau County. They are relatively low growing and rarely bore any fruit. Annoying little buggers to walk through.
Ya stu, I've never seen a berry on them, you know these things better than me. The deer browse them, and they break up the meadows. On my place, where they grow thicker I can get white spruce to live.
Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin

Alder thickets are a tall, deciduous shrub community similar to shrub-carrs except that speckled alder is dominant. Speckled alder can pioneer exposed peat or alluvial soils because of its tiny seeds and ability to fix nitrogen. Alder thickets are generally found in and north of the vegetation tension zone.
Speckled alder may occur as a monotype, but the alder thicket community can have a diversity of shrubs including high-bush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum), sweet gale (Myrica gale) and common winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata)

The groundlayer may include some of the ferns, sedges, grasses and forbs of sedge meadows and fresh (wet) meadows. The diversity of species in the groundlayer is often dependent on degree of shrub canopy cover, degree of disturbance, and water source (e.g., groundwater versus surface runoff from urban or agricultural lands). Stands with 100 percent shrub canopy cover may have a depauperate groundlayer. The example of an alder thicket shown by the photograph is groundwater fed and minimally disturbed resulting in a rich diversity of species in the groundlayer.

Alder thickets provide high quality habitat for ruffed grouse and American woodcock, as well as white-tailed deer. Rare, threatened and endangered species can be supported by alder thickets. For example, alder thicket communities on the Lake Superior red clay plain of northwestern Wisconsin include state-listed threatened, endangered or special concern species such as sweet coltsfoot (Petasites sagittatus), small yellow water crowfoot (Ranunculus gmelinii var. hookeri) and New England violet (Viola novaeangliae).


VEGETATION: As shown by the photograph, "thicket" is an accurate description of this community dominated by speckled alder (Alnus incana ssp. rugosa). Non- dominant shrubs include common winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata), common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), meadowsweet (Spiraea alba) and steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa). Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) and cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) dominate the groundlayer, which also includes Canada bluejoint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis), rattlesnake manna grass (Glyceria canadensis), a sedge (Carex canescens), hummock sedge (Carex stricta), stalk-grain sedge (Carex stipata), sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), crested shield fern (Dryopteris cristata), marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), arrow-leaved tearthumb (Polygonum sagittatum), dewberry (Rubus hispidus), marsh blue violet (Viola cucullata), northern violet (Viola macloskeyi) and sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sp.). Bog bluegrass (Poa paludigena), a species listed as threatened by the State of Wisconsin, occurs this habitat.

SOILS: Dawson peat (Terric Borosaprists), a very poorly-drained soil on floodplains or lake basins with an organic layer between 16 and 51 inches in depth underlain by acidic, sandy material. Dawson soils are typically saturated to the surface and may have as much as 6 inches of standing water after spring snowmelt and heavy rainfall events.

HYDROLOGY: Groundwater discharge (seepages), This alder thicket is immediately adjacent to a small, groundwater fed, perennial stream.

LOCATION: Fort McCoy Military Reservation, Monroe County, Wisconsin.


Speckeled Alder (Alnus incana ssp. rugosa (DuRoi) Clausen)
American Red Raspberry (Rubus strigosus Michx.)
Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis L.)

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Reston, VA [vaww55]
It comes down to the hydrology, and what you can get away with. Locate the higher points, they are there. My only standing water marshes are adjacent to massive fresh water springs. Still there is humps in there that support a few spruce. I think those are rotted out beaver dams and houses from who knows how many thousands of years ago.
Stu-looks like they could be dewberry or raspberry. I'm thinking they are both there.
Dipper-I am surprised you are planting Norway Pine on those humps. I always felt they should be on better drained soils and seem to runt out on wet soils.
I had to use the red pines up, from a 3000 tree planting. I only have about 50 or so in the meadows. They have been growing great and I think they are going on year 4.
I mainly go with spruce, but they are slow movers. It's nice to get some faster going pine in there to speed up the bedding preference. The deer really relate to conifers in these meadows. I had a pic on the dark side where the deer were bedding up to those pines, and the pine was only 2'.
X2 stu, I loose them every year, that's just how it goes. Pines and spruce aren't really preferred rubbing, but I do loose some.
I'd like to plant white cedar in these meadows, but they would have to be caged for browse and rubbing. They love rubbing cedar. If I had these crazy low mn numbers, I'd be planting white cedar like crazy.
Finding any available browse below the browse line is near impossible in my area. The nice think about the cedar is chunks of the foliage are continiouslly falling all winter, so the deer just eat it off the ground. The heavy snow and ice cause the foliage to fall.
It beats any pine/spruce because it is a great winter food source and still thermal cover. White pine would also work real good because it gets browsed to. It also handles wet feet.
One of the first things I noticed when I started spending time in MN was that in many areas (not all) white cedars showed no browse line. Outside of far eastern WI where white cedars are thick in spots, I've never seen such a thing. White cedars with no browse line = very, very few deer.
You are speaking of the sandbox. My white cedar show no browsing. The north sandbox is a different matter.
I know you guys out west talk about white pine being browsed. We don't see it at all out here. Just hemlock, white cedar and abortive cedars in peoples lawns for conifers. Any other eastern guys notice this?