Habitat Management Advice


5 year old buck +
My 80 acres has pretty diverse habitat with an ash swale running diagonally through that's wet in the spring and dry in the summer and fall. This time of year the leaves are down and it's flooded with sunlight. The deer like to bed out there in the knee high grass in the sun. You can see a long ways through there so it can not be approached without spooking the deer out. I'm thinking about hinge cutting through there to enhance the bedding area. Good idea or just leave it alone since the deer are using it anyway? Also, is there any type of perennial grass I could seed through there without working the ground that would grow taller then knee high? Thanks.


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I would hinge a bit and see what grows back.

Maybe plant clumps of tamarack or black spruce out there?

Maybe roundup and willow cuttings the following year? (Try a variety of willows including sandbar.)
Thanks. There are dry humps scattered in there with spruce growing that always have deer beds under them in the winter. I'm thinking the natural grass might grow taller with more sun exposure in the summer. I like the black spruce / tamarack and willow idea. Never thought of willows.
If that swale splits your property completely, perhaps you could plant a line of trees, or willows, or even a line of dropped ash for a travel lane.

Bring that lane to the high ground at a strategic spot. Maybe for a certain wind, or for a certain stand approach.
Maybe try adding some ammonium sulfate (if you can find some) to a spot of your native grass. It may give ya the extra foot you're looking for if it's the right grass. If not, you're only going to be out a few dollars.
Sandbur, that's what I'm going to try and do. There's a lot of haphazard travel through there now. I want to get bedding sanctuary plus direct the movement through there. I like the black spruce and tamarack rec. I know that grows up here.
SD- what does ammonium sulfate do promote growth in the grass?
ammonium sulfate is nitrogen fertilizer. You would need to apply it after the area has dried out.

Is there a flowage thru this area?

do you need a waterhole?
If you get a winter with out much snow and a real good freeze, perhaps you could cut trees off of the dry land and drag them out there with a tractor.
there is flowage / seepage in the spring. I was told that any heavey equipment use could disrupt the natural drainage of the area. I do need a water hole. I was going to dig in a stock tank in a few places this spring. Other suggestion?
I wouldn't be digging in a wetland if that is your idea. That gets $$$$
Thanks Dipper. I should say I'm going to put a stock tank on the edge of it. No wetland digging.
ammonium sulfate is nitrogen fertilizer. You would need to apply it after the area has dried out.

Is there a flowage thru this area?

do you need a waterhole?
Sandbur is right. I missed the wet spring part of it. If your soil has standing water, your nitrogen will leach out completely in about 7 days. So do wait for it to dry.

Ammonium sulfate is nitrogen (no P or K). I like it because it's not quite as potent (at 21lbs N per 100lbs dry weight) as urea (46lbs N per 100 lbs of dry weight) and you can spread it when it's convenient. The challenge with urea is you've got to get the rain, or it'll go up in smoke in about 3 weeks. Also with ammonium sulfate, because it's a lower N content, you can be a tad bit sloppy on the high side and not risk burning. If it's low ground and it's been grass for years, there is probably 0 nitrogen in your soil.

A 5 gallon pale of AMS costs about $10.50 at the co-op and you can do a 60x100' area (that's equal to 50lbs nitrogen/acre) or a 60x50' area (100lbs/acre). I'd grab a $10 bill and try it.