Herron Ridge … Trials, Tribulations, & Some Good Stuff

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Congratulations, that a wide dude.
Hamster neck to boot…

Thank you sir, just trying to keep up with you :emoji_grin: :emoji_wink:

He was definitely looking for the ladies.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
The topic of caging trees is coming up again. I am not sure if I was the innovator of this but I was surely an early adopter. After a number of years of trial and error planting sprues & pines … especially deer browsing & rubbing, and what some are not aware that rabbits will also browse all of the new buds … I decided to start using 4x2 x 4” high fencing. I started fencing trees almost 14-15 years ago and have not looked back. Bach then people thought was crazy talk to cage a tree with fence material.

I focus on building thermal cover, road screening, and travel corridors. I plant Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, Black Hills spruce, Red Cedar, White Cedar, and Red pine.

I decided that planting fewer larger tree transplants (200-300 per year) that would reach maturity, was better than mass plantings of smaller seedling/transplant of 600-1000 trees with low survival rates.

Benefits of caging …
• Eliminate browsing & rubbing.
• Keep tall grasses from folding over during winter & snow which would kill & smoother them.
• Able to see the cages when moving between the rows.
• Cages and be removed and are re-usable.

I started with transplants that were12”-18” and have since moved to 2’-3’ stock when I can get them. The taller transplant has a much more developed root system and will get more sun exposure with its height.

I am finding that all but the Blue Spruce and Red cedar "may" require caging to protect them. I caged the original blue spruce that I planted, but the last few years I have many Blue Spruce that are not caged and the deer are not browsing them. This many be due to the palatability of the buds or the stiff sharp needles that are hard on their noses. I am early on with this theory so take it for what it is worth.

Below is 2nd year for Norway Spruce I planted 6 years ago ….

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Here are the Norway’s at 4 years old, just getting to the top or above the grass/weed line. Grass & weed control is real important as they compete with the trees for water & nutrients. The trees also need full sun to help with their growth.

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Here are the Norway’s today. Some are at 12’ high with good strong 3” trunks. I leave the cages on to this point as trees that would be smaller than this, the 8’ and under, would be candidates for rubbing.

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Here is one that is ~10’ high and ready to be released. At this point you can do one of two things ….
• Remove the cage completely
• Or just unhook the cage end loops and let the cage expand as the tree grows. This can eliminate deer rubbing if that is a concern.


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buckdeer1

5 year old buck +
I would make the cage bigger but then again I don't have to cage any of the red cedars I plants
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
I would make the cage bigger but then again I don't have to cage any of the red cedars I plants

No real advantage with larger diameter, and fewer cages per 100' roll. Slides off branches very easy.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
The deer are pounding the turnips & radishes .... with the exposed ground, once temps warm above 32 F, the WR will start greening up which adds more available food in early March/April.

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Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
Man those Norways look good. Without a cage they don’t have a prayer here.
 

H20fwler

5 year old buck +
Everything is looking good.

I've had trouble with deer rubbing smaller blue spruce here to death in fall, anything under five or six feet seems fair game if not caged.
We don't have any conifers naturally occurring in my part of the state and they seem to attract the attention of every deer that go by either for browse or fight club.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
With spring rapidly approaching, needed to get out and do some pruning on some neglected Pear & Apple trees.

The first pear I took off multiple lower branches and opened up the canopy. Also cut back some of the longer laterals to allow them to beef up.

Any comments on additional pruning welcome.

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This 2nd pear needed a good thinning also and removal of lower trunk suckers ... before pic ...

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Here it is post prune ...

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This appletree was overgrown with lots of congested canopy and cross branches. Much better now, but some work yet to do.

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This next apple tree is an old one that has been on the farm many years. Has been a good producer but has fallen off with the over growth. Going to be an interesting one to tackle.

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Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Got to test out my new Firminator G3 6’ 3 pt model this weekend. I will try to do a little review of my experience, questions welcome.

Hooking up with my tractor was pretty straight forward with the 3 pt. The weight of the Firminator is 1750 lbs and my 3 pt will handle 2300 lbs so no issues.

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The Firminator has 5 settings for the discs from zero angle to more aggressive angles. Very easy to adjust by pulling a pin and shifting the disc to your desired angle. I started with position 3.

My first move was to disc to break up the soil in some areas due to clay in the soil. This area had very little standing WR or clover as I had planted with Red Top Forage Sorghum hybrid it is year 2 for this field. The Firminator discing depth can be adjusted by tightening the top link and drawing the culti-packer in. This allows for deeper discing depth. The first effort did a good job of cutting up the dead vegetation.

One of the nice features of the Firminator is that it will disc at whatever depth you want and the culti-packer will break up the dirt clods and level the soil.

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I went with the heavier 16” culti-packer plates. This added more weight for packing and breaking up dirt clods and deals well with lighter, sandier soils.

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Here was my first pass with just discing & packing …

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Finished field that had very little standing vegetation and a good amount of thatch with a very good seed bed.

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Most of my fields were overseeded last fall with WR, red & white clover and I wanted to disc directly into the standing vegetation. The WR was 3’ tall and clover about 12-18”. I adjusted the disc depth to more shallow. I was pleased how the Firminator terminated the WR. My hope is that the clover did a good job fixing nitrogen so I can eliminate adding fertilizer.
This is the WR/clover field I as planting into….

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See next thread for continuation ...
 

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BC Buck

5 year old buck +
Nice wright up and keep us updated on planter. I have not fertilized in about 7 years using that seed mix.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Setting up for the sed you will be planting was very easy. Select your seed type and gate opening. The seed box will hold at least 5 bags of soy beans.

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Set the scale to the selected seed size & adjusted the gate handle.

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To engage seeding while planting, simply pull and turn the engagement pin. The seeding will begin when the culti-packer makes contact with the dirt and starts turning.

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I was very pleased with the planting of the soy beans in this field. This was a one pass effort with the light disking to ~1-2” depth, seeding, and then rolling with the culti-packer.

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WR & clover i was planting into...

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So far very pleased with the Firminator. I planted 6 acres of soy beans in 4 hours. I have a total of 10 acres I am planting this year so the ability to disc, seed, and culti-pack all at the same time was a huge time saver from having to hook-up, unhook, and re-hook 3 different implements. The fact that you can also prep and culti-pack a field is really beneficial before broadcasting small seed such as clover, turnips, and brassicas.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Nice wright up and keep us updated on planter. I have not fertilized in about 7 years using that seed mix.

Thanks, I added some more as each post is limited to 10 images.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
After putting in th soy beans, I went out and overseeded by broadcasting. Not a heavy mix but about an even amount of each with ~5 lbs/acre. I think the deer will relate well to the taller grasses in the beans and they will feel more secure. We had some good heavy rains after seeding so off to a good start.
- Grain sorghum
- Redtop Forage Sorghum Hybrid
- Proso, German, & Red millet
- Crimson, Berseem, & Ladino clover

My goal is to add the grasses and clovers for nitrogen and additional OM. Mid summer I will throw some turnips, and in early fall I will over seed with WR, hairy vetch, and some other cover crops.

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This red, ladino clover & chicory field is going on year 9. I have done very little to maintain other than mowing and maybe a gly spray every other year. Every other year I overseed with clover and this I added to this field crimson & berseem clover.

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Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
This red, ladino clover & chicory field is going on year 9. I have done very little to maintain other than mowing and maybe a gly spray every other year. Every other year I overseed with clover and this I added to this field crimson & berseem clover.
Field looks great, Spud. What brand of broadcast spreader do you have on your 4-wheeler?? Have you had any problems with it?? The one we had got all corroded in the motor that was supposedly "sealed". Our motor was UNDER the hopper, and any fertilizer dust found it's way into the motor. Couldn't rinse it out without filling the motor housing with water.

Any advice / info is welcome.

If I can ask - what does a 6 ft. Firminator cost?? That thing would solve many of our planting needs.

The plot of clover and chicory ........ when did you mow?? Did you wait for the clover to go to seed and let it add more seed for you?? We had a field just like that but it went to grass and weeds by year 4. We sprayed with cleth for the grass, but broadleaf weeds took over, and the clover went down the drain. I'd like to start another one and have it last like you did. Timing of our mowings (as to let it go to seed, or mow to keep weeds down, regardless of clover going to seed) is what we need to learn. Also - what mix of gly did you use to kill grass & weeds, but not the clover & chicory??
 
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Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Field looks great, Spud. What brand of broadcast spreader do you have on your 4-wheeler?? Have you had any problems with it?? The one we had got all corroded in the motor that was supposedly "sealed". Our motor was UNDER the hopper, and any fertilizer dust found it's way into the motor. Couldn't rinse it out without filling the motor housing with water.

Any advice / info is welcome.

If I can ask - what does a 6 ft. Firminator cost?? That thing would solve many of our planting needs.

The plot of clover and chicory ........ when did you mow?? Did you wait for the clover to go to seed and let it add more seed for you?? We had a field just like that but it went to grass and weeds by year 4. We sprayed with cleth for the grass, but broadleaf weeds took over, and the clover went down the drain. I'd like to start another one and have it last like you did. Timing of our mowings (as to let it go to seed, or mow to keep weeds down, regardless of clover going to seed) is what we need to learn. Also - what mix of gly did you use to kill grass & weeds, but not the clover & chicory??

Bows ... The broadcast spreader is a Firmco. Have used it for about 5-6 years. Wash it down after use, let it dry and then spray mechanical components with WD40. The adjustable gate lets you spread corn & beans down to small clover. I have also spread Urea 40-0-0 with it.
https://www.fimcoindustries.com/dry...eaders/pid55/fimco-atv-dry-material-spreader/

The Firminator was ~$9300. I upgraded to the 16" cultipacker which added another $1k. I planted about 9-10 acres with it this year and liked how i could plant and pack at the same time.

For the clover, have been just mowing, but when i sprayed gly it was 2.5 oz per gallon. Not sure it I had chicory when I sprayed. It would set the clover back but is seemed to rebound.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
My experiment with planting of soy beans and overseeding with Grain sorghum, Redtop Forage Sorghum Hybrid, Proso, German, & Red millet along with crimson, frosty berseem, & Ladino clover is starting to show results. Goal has been to create some tall cover in the plot and add more cover crop OM.

Not much evidence of the clover yet, but the milo, sorghum, & millet are doing well. I will either this weekend or next overseed with PTT, Appin turnips, & Barsica Forage Rape. Would like to coordinate with a rain for better soil contact. No fertilizer used so interested to seed what the results will be.

In early September I will overseed with WR & red clover.

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Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Some of my apple trees are starting to produce fruit. Many are 3rd or 4th leaf. Happy to start to see some results from the planting efforts.


Here are some Chesnut crabs...
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30-06 Crab ...

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A 2nd leaf Liberty...

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Droptine crab ...

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Franklin cider ...

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And this 2nd leaf Whitney crab which is really eager to produce....

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Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
Your trees and plots look outstanding.
 
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