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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Strongly considering planting Birdsfoot Treefoil on my logging trails. I know BT creates strong opinions, but my deer are hungry! Almost no AG in the surrounding area. My exclusion cages show full well, food is the lowest hole in the bucket for my property.
Poor, sandy, low PH soil.

BT Pros/Cons (from what I鈥檝e gathered)

It鈥檚 food, although maybe not the most desirable. Borderline undesirable on some properties.
It is easy to establish with long term viability, although potentially invasive.
Relatively inexpensive $5.50 p/#
Will grow in poor, sandy soils. Deep tap root, can handle
Summer drought(hits close to home this year)

Additional thoughts?
 

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It鈥檚 volunteer in this area of the EUP so there is no need to plant it. It does get browsed on but it definitely is not preferred until everything else is covered by snow. On a dry year yellow flowers are everywhere.
 
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NO Vote here jmich24 - of course you already knew that from me LOL.

I believe I got my BT here inadvertently in some pasture mix seed years ago. I have never been able to eradicate it. It continues to spread. It is invasive as anything here. I have never seen a deer browse it - ever. I do have clay/loam soils so somewhat different than your sand if that makes a difference.

This is a hillside above our pond where I believe it may have been originally introduced on my property. 15 years later I still have not been able to eradicate it...
Plant Flower Plant community Natural landscape Herbaceous plant


It does have pretty yellow flowers in summer if that matters...
Flower Plant Yellow Grass Herbaceous plant


For logging roads I much prefer clovers. They are easy to establish and maintain....even in shady areas.
Plant Plant community Tree Leaf Natural landscape


Deer, bear, grouse, rabbits and other critters all love the clovers
Plant Plant community Green Natural landscape Tree


I would never intentionally plant something as invasive as Birdsfoot Trefoil - even if the deer did eat it. There are much better options.
Plant Flower Plant community Ecoregion Natural landscape
 

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Are you planning on using the logging trails as access routes to stands? If so, I wouldn't plant them with anything. If they are just for food, I'd go with clover. I have gone with Durana white recently. You could also over-seed the clover with rye.
 

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On a positive note it鈥檚 a legume. Free nitrogen and organic material for soil building that keeps coming back.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Are you planning on using the logging trails as access routes to stands? If so, I wouldn't plant them with anything. If they are just for food, I'd go with clover. I have gone with Durana white recently. You could also over-seed the clover with rye.
The trails will all run north and south. Not going to plant the furthest east or furthest west logging trails as I hope to use them to access.
Depending on how they end up laying out I鈥檇 hope to add screening of some kind on those.

Going to scout for some volunteer BT on my property today and see if it has been browsed.

The other option I have considered on my poor soil is Small Burnett with a cereal rye cover crop. I suppose I could add clover to that and cross my fingers that something takes.
 

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Definitely a NO for me on BT as well. Why would you even consider a non forage plant species when you already realize wildlife in the area needing food (lack of AG).
The other option I have considered on my poor soil is Small Burnett with a cereal rye cover crop. I suppose I could add clover to that and cross my fingers that something takes.
I would vote for clover and different types of clover over anything if possible. Chances are you will be driving on the trails and may become two tracks anyways, but clover likes packing ( one reason after cutting alfalfa/clover cows are pastured on it ).

I would also recommend if your planting small Burnet add hairy vetch to the mix. The nitrogen will help the small Burnet but will also increase the wildlife. Your East n West trails if shade and correct Ph may allow white Dutch clover as well. This will also increase wildlife forage and movement. All else fails then revert to cereal rye. Just remember to blow or mow to remove the leaves off of them before it smothers them. Good luck 馃憤
 

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I used to hate it. Enough that I stopped buying my favorite and best performing food plot blend, Ed Spins Ultimate Blend, because it contained BFT.

I didn't think deer touched it, and it annoyed me that gly didn't kill it. As years passed, I started to notice deer indeed were browsing it. Also, RU resistant marestail and pigweed forced me into other herbicides so BFTs resistance became a non factor.

It's still not something I would add to a food plot blend as I think there are much better forages to occupy food plot space. However, a few years ago I broadcasted a mix of red clover and BFT into a stand of switch after I burned it. I wanted something deer could eat if they were bedded in the switch, but not so high in preference they didn't get the urge to leave. It's been my experience deer will eat low preference foods out of convenience or if in highly secure daytime feeding areas. Your food plot trails may very well fall into both those categories and BFT could do well for you in that situation.

Also, I have not found it to be invasive and it takes a couple years to get established.
 

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Yes I would plant it again. It gets barrows but not preferred. The bucks hit it hard for about a month then just nibble on it here and there. Not something I would recommend for a kill plot but it had its place for the deer herd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Plant Musical instrument Gesture Grass Art

This gives a better idea of layout. The trails haven鈥檛 been established yet, but these are anticipated.
Most Access off the road. As well purple trail to the Far East.

The large block of purple will be the landing. Potentially as 鈥渄estination鈥 food plot down the road.
The middle two trail are the trials in question.

The green are established food plots.
 

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View attachment 846816
This gives a better idea of layout. The trails haven鈥檛 been established yet, but these are anticipated.
Most Access off the road. As well purple trail to the Far East.

The large block of purple will be the landing. Potentially as 鈥渄estination鈥 food plot down the road.
The middle two trail are the trials in question.

The green are established food plots.
Swamp edge still buggin me on your site.
Leave 50 + - yards of an edge transition to it's South by lowering the white rectangle down a ways , and pressured deer will / should be using that edge and any plot where the new position of the square is. Unless given a reason to avoid it.
My set up like that has deer there later in season sneaking along the transition.
Not all browse the path South. Or the plot farther South. They either skirt by using transition , or cross because the path and plot are in the way of where deer are heading.

Black legs on two bucks and muck on the shoulder of one hinted they'd had enough swamp for a little bit. They used the path. A more cautious doe was ghosting them in the transition towards the swamp. Dry legged but damp feet.
(Hard to tell for sure at 200 plus yards.)
I looked that edge and into swamp a ways this spring...
Only confirmed that's where pressured deer were traveling last year.
And a buck alley of sorts. Mostly due to terrain of edge. Answered some suspicions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Swamp edge still buggin me on your site.
Leave 50 + - yards of an edge transition to it's South by lowering the white rectangle down a ways , and pressured deer will / should be using that edge and any plot where the new position of the square is. Unless given a reason to avoid it.
My set up like that has deer there later in season sneaking along the transition.
Not all browse the path South. Or the plot farther South. They either skirt by using transition , or cross because the path and plot are in the way of where deer are heading.

Black legs on two bucks and muck on the shoulder of one hinted they'd had enough swamp for a little bit. They used the path. A more cautious doe was ghosting them in the transition towards the swamp. Dry legged but damp feet.
(Hard to tell for sure at 200 plus yards.)
I looked that edge and into swamp a ways this spring...
Only confirmed that's where pressured deer were traveling last year.
And a buck alley of sorts. Mostly due to terrain of edge. Answered some suspicions.
Let me start by saying I very much respect your opinion. I鈥檇 like to dig in a little deeper with you and anyone else with opinion to better hunt my swamp edge. As well as make it better for the deer even if I鈥檓 not able to realistically hunt them there.

I should have clarified the 鈥渨hite marks鈥 on the map. The mark are to white out people/names for identification.

As far as the swamp edge goes, it is tough to access with a prevailing west wind without blowing out my entire property.

I鈥檓 going to work very hard to create access along the Far East.
Hoping to give me access on west winds to the or near the swamp edge.
Also please keep in mind my property will be HEAVILY thinned in the coming months. I haven鈥檛 started too many projects in preparation for 鈥渕y new normal鈥 after the logging is complete.

I have hinged some sold maples and planted some ROD in the south east corner of the swamp edge. As previously stated I need to open the canopy(logging) to help thicken up the entire property along with the swamp edge.

I have re attached another map:
Green- food plots
Black- lines of travel
Red - known bedding.
White- my access
Black - is only there to block a name.
Plant Asphalt Grass Terrestrial plant Line
 

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Trefoil is about the only thing that will keep growing during periods of dry weather. It will outcompete just about everything else that happens to be there for moisture. Clover will shrivel up and turn brown while trefoil will grow a produce more flowers/seeds.
 

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Let me start by saying I very much respect your opinion. I鈥檇 like to dig in a little deeper with you and anyone else with opinion to better hunt my swamp edge. As well as make it better for the deer even if I鈥檓 not able to realistically hunt them there.

I should have clarified the 鈥渨hite marks鈥 on the map. The mark are to white out people/names for identification.

As far as the swamp edge goes, it is tough to access with a prevailing west wind without blowing out my entire property.

I鈥檓 going to work very hard to create access along the Far East.
Hoping to give me access on west winds to the or near the swamp edge.
Also please keep in mind my property will be HEAVILY thinned in the coming months. I haven鈥檛 started too many projects in preparation for 鈥渕y new normal鈥 after the logging is complete.

I have hinged some sold maples and planted some ROD in the south east corner of the swamp edge. As previously stated I need to open the canopy(logging) to help thicken up the entire property along with the swamp edge.

I have re attached another map:
Green- food plots
Black- lines of travel
Red - known bedding.
White- my access
Black - is only there to block a name.
View attachment 846944
You can tell me to quit it about your site's swamp too! I might have by now.

You have and will have more features deer gravitate to. On a greater scale than I have. Relax and enjoy!
Your clearing and opening areas of canopy await results. It can be a big difference. And the site look so different from prior , that it is really a new site.
Mature oaks behind my house just beyond my border were thinned out well. Second growth came up thick.
Watching the occasional deer is almost like seeing a sunlight map being made from what/where they browse. Still a transition type edge being used.
Beyond the logged area as well. Sunlight and saplings on the edge. Vs what's beyond under canopy.

My hunting property has few mature or near mature trees. Very different. But sunlight and edges still matter.
 
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Info from USDA about BFT.


It was probably 50+ years ago when we 1st planted BFT in with alfalfa to get better hay production in light soil. We now have several foodplots in light soil that are planted to rye around Sept. 1st where we have planted BFT. I like having something green growing at ground level during the summer with the rye and after the rye has been flattened or mowed. Like rye, it will grow well in light, sandy soil when other plants will not..........like clover.
Do deer eat it, yes but it is not a deer's preferred choice. Mine is always eaten to the grown by late-March.
Pictured below is an area of very light soil, darn near all sand where BFT does ok, not great. Maybe 8-10" tall Also in photo is some SG and ornamental grasses. The clumps of ornamental grasses that I planted have done better than anything else in this location and has made great cover for the deer.
Plant Plant community Ecoregion Flower Terrestrial plant

I would not plant in areas of good soil because there are better choices.
 
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