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What do you have planned for the upcoming Spring season? I'll start with my current list of projects;

1.) 400 Norway Plugs, Itasca Greenhouse
2.)
100 White Pine Plugs, Lapeer Conservation
3.)
100 Tamarack Plugs, Itasca Greenhouse
4.)
500 Miscanthus Rhizomes, Maple River Farms, a great Michigan supplier
5.)
70# of RC Big Rock Switchgrass, this might wait until 2023, I've recently decided to put 20 acres into a CRP program and may incorporate this planting at the same time. Grandpa Rays Outdoors
6.)
5 apple trees, Fuji, Enterprise, Empire, Crimson Crisp, Arkansas Black,
5 pear trees, Shenandoah, Olympic, Potomac, Bosc, Bartlette
10 Dolgo Crabapple, all fruit tree are from Maple Grove, another Michigan guy and his trees are awesome
7.)
8 acres of food plots, 2 acres of Real World Enlist Soys, 2 acres of Whitetail Inst Fusion and 4 acres of sugar beets
8.) Have a forester helping with 8.5 acres of invasive shrub control for my EQIP program
9.) Pond level control pipe install
10.) Wrapping up a couple bedding areas of cutting this weekend, flush cuts along with high and low hinges. Spent about 7 weekend cutting wood this Winter cleaning up from my 2020 timber harvest. Much more I'd like to do, but once the mud set's in the cutting will be over for now.

I'll be posting pictures along the way, I can't wait to get started.
 

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I got the Marquette County Conservation District 2022 Tree Sale Catalog in the mail today. I don't have much room to plant anything until something is cut. Two things interested me. One is ninebark bushes. I've planted them before, but didn't sufficiently protect them. Any other U. P. folks plant them? Is it worth the time? The other was black cherry trees. No good reason for them, just they grow here and I like them.
 

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The first half of the spring is easy to plan, it’s the same nearly every year. Waiting for the snow to melt off. If that plan comes together winter storm damage clean up followed by dropping trees for more sunlight and firewood. That should take until about Memorial weekend or early June. By then the rye should be close to termination height and clover plots should be ready for a glyphosate application via a weed wiper.

Hopefully by the second week of June the soil is dry enough for sub soiling the food plots. Most had it Subsoiler pulled through last year so I’m hoping soil dry out occurds quicker this year so the food plot work can begin prior to the first day of summer.
 
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Planting Norway spruce and willows to fill in some gaps.

Food plots will be a wait and see game on what I will plant. Price of gas, price and availability to fertilizer and seed will be a possible game changer as well. Either way, something will be put in the ground.
 

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Icehog, "9.) Pond level control pipe install ".
Is your pond empty now or close to it? If so PM me, I have a easy way to remove the water from your deepest part using just heavy 4" PVC. You still have to have your top drain, you do not want to take that heavy water out of the bottom certain times of the year.
 
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One item on the list is to convert North Side Food Plot #4 to clover/chicory. Jeff gently removed the leaf litter and debris with a backpack blower and frost seeded on Wednesday morning. A couple days in the 40s and nights in the 20s and now a layer of snow. Seems just about perfect. NSFP#4 was roughed in two springs ago. I kept the weeds killed the first summer and planted it in the fall with a blend. Then followed with buckwheat the next summer and fall blend. If it gets enough sun, should be productive. It's 0.05 acres. I also flush cut the stumps a few weeks ago that I had previously left. They just didn't produce any forage (probably wrong species) and now would be in the way of the mower.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Icehog, "9.) Pond level control pipe install ".
Is your pond empty now or close to it? If so PM me, I have a easy way to remove the water from your deepest part using just heavy 4" PVC. You still have to have your top drain, you do not want to take that heavy water out of the bottom certain times of the year.
No it's not, I'm planning to pump it out. I'd actually say this was more intended to be a big waterhole than anything else. The guy that dug it for me didn't say anything until after he was done that he hit an old clay tile. At first, the hole wouldn't fill, most likely due to it draining into the broken tile, but once the bottom silted up heavily it's now created a large flooded area. I'm going to dig up the old tile, check its viability and either use it or install new. This "pond" is in the middle of a newly planted switch-food-cover area and is 5x bigger than I want.
 
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Still way too much snow on the ground as of 3-4 to really do much on the back 40.
March 2022:
First weekend- Pruned 3 apple & 1 pear tree, We were blessed to have found these behind where the new pole barn will go.
Last weekend- Spray fruit trees
Evaluate/marker which areas of interest will get first bedding creation
Pickup from dealership new pioneer S x S!

April 2022:
Plant 50 wind break White Spruce
Begin cleanup forest mulcher debris left behind
Begin bedding creation one planned section at a time

May 2022:
Continue debris cleanup
Continue bedding creation
Continued field prep (cut if weeds start to take over) for 2023 pollination field planting.
Start 2.2 acre invasive species removal

June 2022:
New Home/pole barn construction begins!
Continue debris cleanup
Continue 2.2 acre invasive species removal
Continued field prep for 2023 pollination field. disc in current soil building plants if natural weed control is not working.
After this i have to play it by ear till food plot planting season/early fall.

Hoping this picture is an good indication of good things to come. This is the first winter after Forest mulcher work. deer were using a connector trail leading from one plot to another as they traveled through the property.


First winter without habitat work winter pictures were of only of a handful of deer

Good Luck all and have fun.
 

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Have to admit, I'm having a hard time letting go of ice fishing and getting into habitat work! I have several planned projects to complete at home and now a couple unplanned ones as well so unfortunately habitating may take a back seat this summer.

That said:
  • a dozen or so fruit trees to be planted in April. Combination of apple, crabs and pears. Really looking forward to my Blue Hill trees.
  • overseed and spray existing switchgrass areas
  • establish a new alfalfa plot.
  • finish clearing a plot in the woods that was started last year
  • create two new bedding areas

In order of importance, the bedding area creations and switchgrass maintenance are the most crucial as it relates to hunting. Really need to establish more bedding and block sight lines.

We also plan to have our cabin remodeled this summer.
 

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Hoping my logger shows up soon. Then when they are done my work can begin. Having them do a shelter cut, and a couple small clear cuts. One of the clear areas will be a new food plot, so that will need lots of work. Then clear deer trails and other debris when they are done.

2 new water holes
About 4 acres of food plots. Going to try Eagle forage beans this year in one plot, about 2 acres.
Plant some CIR switch soon for more screening, about 1 acre total
Build one or two enclosed blinds depending on lumber prices
 

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Tree's coming:
10-Alleghany Chinkapin
10-Chinese Chestnut
10-Honeylocust
15-Various grafted fruit trees from Blue Hill, Cummins, and county conservation district
50-2-2- White Spruce
I think my hunting partner ordered some miscanthus to plant..if not I may divide some of my existing screens to plant more.

Graft a wild crab apple to a more useful variety.

Establish clover burn breaks around CRP and frost seed half my plots into red clover/chicory mix.

Plan to build a permanent blind and also need to elevate the Banks I purchased this winter.

My goal is to make my property management as hands off as possible in the future. I'll be over 200 mast trees planted in last few years after this spring and am essentially out of space. Once these trees start producing well over next several years (I expect good crops from about a dozen this year), I plan to eliminate food plots other than perennial clover and throw n spray Rye plots.
 

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Not planning anything great this year. Gonna work on 1 plot to make it better. Get some ground blind in the air a bit.

Have to get ground blind in air, after our logging a couple of years ago, it's so thick you can't see anything.
 

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I use Google Docs to keep the list of action items and then share that as necessary. It's useful for noting the small things that materialize during a habitat work day or hunting day afield, without needing to keep track of a hand-written list. I consulted that list Friday night and looked to cross reference the conditions/weather for Saturday AM. Low teens with a single digit wind chill and a few inches of snow on frozen ground matched well with chainsaw work and roughing in shooting lanes. So that's what we did. Now is a great time to trim lanes for next late season. I was the tree trimmer, so it was comfortable, but apparently it was pretty cold for the guy sitting in the stand. Bundle up!

And, yes, increasing the kill conversion rate can only be good for habitat, regeneration, and crop yield.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was out running the chainsaw yesterday and today, probably 8 hours of cutting in a couple bedding areas and trimmed lanes for a couple stand locations. I'm guessing my cutting season is going to be on hold while things melt down and dry up a bit.
 
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My top 4 areas for 2022
1) Improve hunt season access

- Additional screening with switchgrass, norway/white spruce.
- Quieter bridges / trails

2) Add & improve bedding
- Add a few more forest openings
- Enhance established with R.O. Dogwood stakes

3) Timber sale prep - Have forester mark property and get bids

4) Improve efficiency of all habitat work
- Reduce spraying/fertilizing - More regenerative ag
- Try plant stakes/cuttings instead of bare root
- Plan for some last minute road trips to plant based on rain, (instead of normal weekend trips)

Bonus : Use any extra time saved to get in some fly fishing and turkey hunting :cool:.
 

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The battle of the Foxtail for me this year, that and every day I am out there working in something. I try to make a list and cross off the project when finished. I find I do 50% of my time on that list doing things not on the list. I do not put drink Beer on the list, that comes at the end of some days!
 

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Mental health morning today. Worked on more shooting lanes on the North Side, north of Food Plot #3. We now have a clear view of some mature apples trees across the ditch. Need to help them produce fruit. Also want to get over to the west side and improve the area north of Bedding Area #3 and expand Bedding Area #2 on the east side.



Additionally, between today and yesterday, Jeff got all the foot paths on both properties blown out, and overseeded clover on the Grain/Clover trails and South Side Plot #2.



I always feel like I need to qualify my "habitat" work by ackowledging it is more about efficient elimination and extraction most of the time. Still enjoyable!!

That said, I'm happy to share that the deer seem to like South Side Food Plot #3. So, I'm giving back a little!! Never killed one here. Maybe this fall...



 

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Gotta plant screen again and I have a ton of trees/cuttings coming from hramor nursery. About 800 hybrid willow and poplar to try and thicken up a grassy swamp. 100 lilacs and 100 Norways around the property. Gotta build a couple of bow platforms where there are no big trees. And do a little trimming on the back stand. Learned my lesson last year. Had a couple of chances at big bucks that came up 1 shooting lane short. Also going to try my hand at transplanting 2 decent sized apple trees. The previous owner planted them in the front yard right next to the driveway in the worst spot. So I will attempt to dig them up with the backhoe and move back to the food plot.
 
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