Old Ag Field Project


Buck Fawn
Morning all.... I am in the midst of a project of converting a 15 acre ag field into deer habitat. County road is elevated above the field 20-30' and poachers are around so the need for cover is imperative. Last year switchgrass was frost seeded on the entire 15 acres and this spring i would like to create pockets within the field for cover and small plots. Looking for some direction as to what you guys think will be best for my pockets of cover and the best way to plant and position them.... was thinking red osier, spruce, pine etc etc.... Property is in central Ohio. Appreciate you all in advance -KW


I'd plant patches. might even want to throw in some American plums and elderberry, they make a nice thicket. You'll just have to protect them (cages) for at least the first year or two. The Elderberry and ROD (red osier) will grow from live stake cuttings if you give them weed protection.
Have you considered a miscanthus Gigantheus screen down the road?


5 year old buck +
Are those shrubs going to give you cover,I would get up on the road and see if it looks different looking down while having someone walk through the field.Standing corn may be the right height or cedars and oaks something to give a chance to get behind if a vehicle stops


5 year old buck +
I would plant a tight hedge/screen. Even if they can see over the top of it for a few years, the barrier will serve as a deterrent.

Do you have an aerial photo of the particular piece of land you are converting?


5 year old buck +
I dont know what the pine of choice would be in Ohio. In the south, we could plant loblolly pine and in four or five years, you wouldnt be able to see a cape buffalo out there, let alone a deer. I have a property just like that. I planted pines, but too wet and they died. Neighbor on the other side of the road - higher side, planted loblolly’s eight years ago and they are probably 25 ft tall now. I just ended up letting nature take its course. Field is largely now golden rod with a lot of persimmon, honey locust, ash, and box elder coming in. But to be honest, after leaf fall, deer are still visible from the road above if they are moving. An area that looks thick as hair on a dogs back from the ground may look surprisingly open from 30 ft up. I would plant the fastest growing pine for your area - knowing it was going to take several years before overhead winter cover was established.


5 year old buck +
How close to the road can you plant, and how far from the road does it start to drop off? If you can plant something along the road before it starts to drop off, you only have to plant something taller than a truck.


Buck Fawn
Hey guys thank you for the replies thus far. attached is a pic of the field at hand, inside the white is all swithgrass and i was wanting to promote bedding inside the field with some patches of shrubs. You can see the road to the right and at its lowest elevation it might be 10' over the field and highest about 30' right before it curves off to the east. The sides of the road are a very steep drop off to the field so no edge screening will really work unless its 20 year pines. Thanks again!


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