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Food Plots

Planting food plots is an excellent way to improve available nutrition, increase the carrying capacity and concentrate wildlife on your property.  Food plots do not take the place of habitat management in general, but are intended to augment the quantity and quality of food occurring naturally in an area. Whenever habitat improvement is desired, other management practices (e.g., timber management, prescribed burning and discing) should be implemented as well. Food plot plantings should depend upon which wildlife species you want to attract and the seasonal requirements of those species. Not all wildlife species benefi t from all food plot plantings. Certain food plot mixtures provide benefi t to different wildlife species. For example, doves do not get much benefi t from a clover patch planted for white-tailed deer.

It is important to take the proper steps when preparing wildlife food plots. The process for planting food plots is really no different than farming - with wildlife as the objective. The most important consideration is matching the planting to the appropriate soil type and moisture regime in an area where wildlife will be attracted. Start by identifying locations on the property where the targeted wildlife species are often found. Then look for suitable sites for planting. The best sites are generally flat, where more moisture is retained, nutrient levels are higher and it is easier to operate equipment. Soil moisture is critical. It is very important to plant when adequate soil moisture is present to improve seed germination and establishment. In addition, the best time to plant is just prior to a rain event.

When it is dry for an extended period after planting, germination and growth are usually less than desirable. Therefore, planting by a certain date is of little concern unless there is projected rainfall. Successful plantings result when soils are amended with lime and fertilizer at rates recommended from a soil test. The next step is proper seedbed preparation and seeding depth. Drilling or covering seed too deep is a common reason for crop failure. While grains (e.g., corn and milo) can be drilled or disced approximately 1 inch deep, small-seeded species (e.g., clovers and alfalfa) should be covered no more than 1/4 inch. Germination of cool-season grains (e.g., oats, wheat and rye) is generally better if the seed are lightly disced-in (especially oats). Establishing mixtures of small grains (and other relatively large seed) and small-seeded species is best accomplished by the following procedures:

1. Prepare seedbed by plowing and/or discing or tilling (lime and fertilizer should be incorporated into soil at this time if you have not done so already).

2. Sow large seed (e.g., oats, winter peas, cowpeas) onto prepared seedbed.

3. Lightly disc seed into plot, covering approximately 1 inch deep.

4. Firm the seedbed with a cultipacker (this is an especially important step for really small seeds, such as ladino clover).

5. Sow small seed (e.g., clovers, alfalfa, etc.).

6. Cultipack seedbed once again to ensure firm seed-to-soil contact and improve germination rate.

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Bird feeders

Woodside Gardens
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Woodside Gardens
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The brilliant orange feathers of Baltimore Orioles herald the return of warm weather and have wild bird lovers scrambling to catch a glimpse of these shy birds as they pass through their yards. Just like other bird feeders from Birdhousesupply.com it's important to place the feeder 8-10 feet from flat roof tops or tree trunks where predators could easily reach the birds. Orioles tend to be shy birds, so set your feeders up far from places where humans or other animals tend to congregate.
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