Food plots are deer-focused lands, which once built demand extensive periodic maintenance to realize their full potential and to provide nutrition-rich food for Whitetail deer. Even if you have a well-planted deer orchard, it can cost you heavily if you do not maintain it well.
So, for a well-maintained deer orchard, and to keep feeding your deer for decades, have a look at the following tips.
Proper Fertilization Of Plants
Since it is expected that you will get your plants from a nursery where they are subjected to regular applications of fertilizer during their early life, is recommended to avoid fertilizing your plants during their first season after they arrive in your deer orchard. This will also prevent encroachment by other wildlife. So, you can use a protective cage around your trees as deer can reach as high as 6 feet to feed on them.
Also, if you are confused about what type of fertilizer to use, it is recommended to get a soil of your deer orchard test first. You can also use an organic fertilizer or a balanced one that does not harm your plants or can take help from the North American Whitetail sponsors.
Sufficient Watering Of Your Plants
The different plant species that you may have bought form the nursery will probably arrive either in pots or bare rooted. This implies that the nursery plants have been growing under certain conditions throughout their young stages, which has enabled them to develop a narrow zone of roots at the base. Therefore, once you plant them in your orchard’s ground, you should provide them enough time to expand their roots so that they can absorb the required water and nutrients. Thus, proper and frequent watering is of utmost importance if you want to ensure proper growth your trees.
Check For Pests
The plethora of diversity of trees, shrubs and vines planted in your deer orchard are great for attracting different types of pests, the most common being caterpillars and web worms. Therefore, it is important that you check your orchard for such worms and call for caterpillar control to maintain the health of your plants, especially of the defoliated ones.
You can do so by visiting your deer orchards frequently and inspecting it not only for drought-related issues, but also for pests. You can even use safe pesticides that are easily available in the market, to control insects and pests in your orchard. However, be careful that you do not harm any honeybees in the process as they are very crucial for an abundant fruit and nut yield.
Most of the deer orchards are established in an area that was once inhabited by native vegetation. Therefore, your plants might face massive competition from the weeds such as grasses and woody re-growth. You may have tried eliminating it through herbicides, followed by disking which may have reduced weed, but it doesn’t completely reduce it. Also, since grasses have highly elaborated root systems and have most of their biomass under the soil surface, they have the capability to deprive your precious deer orchard plants of crucial nutrients and moisture.
An important way to eliminate weed is to identify them as early as possible. You can also follow some steps that may include placing a ground cloth around your main plant’s base while planting. This will significantly reduce the growth of unwanted plants and weed immediately around your plant.
Thus, following the above tips can help you maintain your deer orchard easily, and your investment in wildlife nutrition can last for decades.