Tips on which trees to plant, when, and how — to attract deer and keep them coming back
Mention planting for deer, and most hunters automatically assume you are talking about food plots. There is no doubt that a nice food plot will attract and hold deer in an area. But planting trees and shrubs can also be an excellent way to improve the hunting on your property, whether you own, lease, or hunt by permission.
I checked with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Joe Lacefield and USFWS wildlife biologist Brad Pendley to get their top picks for wildlife-friendly trees. Unlike annual or semiannual food plots like beans, clover, or alfalfa, trees and shrubs are a long-term project. How long? It depends on what you plant.
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Short-term plantings consist of small trees and large shrubs that begin to provide fruit or forage in the years immediately after planting. Some plants start to produce a year or two after planting, whereas others will take as long as 10 to 15 years.
Unlike the soft mast and fruit production of those short-term plantings, long-term trees take longer to mature, often as many as 15 to 20 years, but will produce regularly for years to come after they start. The good thing about those long-term plants is that they will still be around to bring deer in for your grandchildren.
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