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Try to save it or replant?


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I have a couple of woods plots that were pretty poor this year. I tried frost seeding and I tried scuffling with a chain harrows. One plot improved a bit, but the other didn't. They both were decent in the past, but the weather sucked this summer and neither plot responded well to being roughed up with the chain drag. They also suffer from the usual: leaf litter and low pH. I cut around both last year to get more light in. That part seems ok, even though they are only a tenth of an acre. 

Do I continue to lime, frost seed, cut trees etc? Or do I rip them up with the tractor and box scraper teeth and replant? 

Not a huge issue either way. I'm just curious what other people's experience has been. I'm looking at clover and chicory if I frost seed and rye, oats, clover, chicory if I till. 

This is what I ponder on when I have no tags to fill...

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Ripping it up and tilling it won't really change your soil any other than loosen it if it's compacted.    If you can get in there in the winter, as we've had some easy winters recently, I would lime it hard then and then in the spring frost seed it and see how it takes.  I'm guessing you did a soil test already since you know the PH. 

The best clover seeds I've found are outside pride, Domain comeback kid and WI clover.  And maybe fertilize it when you seed it.  Then see how it takes.  If your getting clover to take it should last a few years, then can seed open spots in the fall with throw and grow as needed. 

We have the luxury of some really good soil and it generally stays moist there as it's a swamp.  Our biggest issue generally is too much water.  

If that doesn't work and you just want fall plots then tear it all up in the late summer seed it with something that also has perennials in it and fertilize it well and it should grow.  

Good luck.   

"it's pointless for humans to paint scenes of nature when they can go outside and stand in it"- Ron Swanson

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A factor that I didn't mention earlier, is that these are both old plots.  One is about 6 years old and the other is closer to 10.  I have added lime to both over the years, but never in the quantities they could use.  Last year was too wet to get lime from the local quarry and I couldn't find much for pelletized lime locally.

Over the years I have continued to add a little pelletized lime and lime ash, frost seed, as well as cutting to increase the amount of sunlight and expand a little bit.  Last year I tried using a chain drag to loosen up the leaf litter.  I think between that and the very wet weather, I put a hurting on the chicory I had growing in both plots.  

I haven't done soil tests because the plots are just so small.  I do have some fertilizer I can add, but I want to hold off on that until I get some better growth.  There are trees in/around both plots that could be cut this winter.  I will definitely cut the ones here at the house.  Whether or not I cut the ones at the farm will depend on my brother, since I need his bucket tractor to move them.  He has a 100 horse cab tractor and I don't want to be responsible for the glass and mirrors in the woods.

Sorry for the long winded post.  I won't have a valid tag here in Vermont until December, and I probably won't fill that, since I don't need the venison.  So I'm on to thinking about habitat and plots.  The wet weather got me this year.  Guess we'll see what 2024 brings.

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1 hour ago, Stubborn1vt said:

A factor that I didn't mention earlier, is that these are both old plots.  One is about 6 years old and the other is closer to 10.  I have added lime to both over the years, but never in the quantities they could use.  Last year was too wet to get lime from the local quarry and I couldn't find much for pelletized lime locally.

Over the years I have continued to add a little pelletized lime and lime ash, frost seed, as well as cutting to increase the amount of sunlight and expand a little bit.  Last year I tried using a chain drag to loosen up the leaf litter.  I think between that and the very wet weather, I put a hurting on the chicory I had growing in both plots.  

I haven't done soil tests because the plots are just so small.  I do have some fertilizer I can add, but I want to hold off on that until I get some better growth.  There are trees in/around both plots that could be cut this winter.  I will definitely cut the ones here at the house.  Whether or not I cut the ones at the farm will depend on my brother, since I need his bucket tractor to move them.  He has a 100 horse cab tractor and I don't want to be responsible for the glass and mirrors in the woods.

Sorry for the long winded post.  I won't have a valid tag here in Vermont until December, and I probably won't fill that, since I don't need the venison.  So I'm on to thinking about habitat and plots.  The wet weather got me this year.  Guess we'll see what 2024 brings.

I'm doing the same. Got a long list already for 2024.  Corey is going to be retired and I'm getting him a shiny pair of brush nippers with a bow on it!  Lol.   

Water is out biggest obstacle where we hunt.  We always hope everything doesn't get flooded out.  

"it's pointless for humans to paint scenes of nature when they can go outside and stand in it"- Ron Swanson

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2 hours ago, Robhuntandfish said:

I'm doing the same. Got a long list already for 2024.  Corey is going to be retired and I'm getting him a shiny pair of brush nippers with a bow on it!  Lol.   

Water is out biggest obstacle where we hunt.  We always hope everything doesn't get flooded out.  

My big plot is waterlogged.  None of the brassicas made it.  Both the woods plots are on hilltops.  

I don't know what to do with myself since I'm tagged out.  I have sat a few times, but it's been really slow.  I'm still helping my brother cut a mountain of firewood.  We got out 2.5-3 cords on Sunday.  I imagine I'll head back to the farm once more before VT rifle season ends.  

I'm mostly hoping that the ground will freeze so I can get my tractor out to my little patch of woods.  To get there, I have to cross the wife's horse pastures.  There can be NO RUTS.  

Hope Corey can put his tag on one.  You guys have made lots of improvement.  

Maybe I'll go take a walk.  I don't see any deer here at the house since I don't have any winter food.  I'll try again next year.

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13 minutes ago, Stubborn1vt said:

My big plot is waterlogged.  None of the brassicas made it.  Both the woods plots are on hilltops.  

I don't know what to do with myself since I'm tagged out.  I have sat a few times, but it's been really slow.  I'm still helping my brother cut a mountain of firewood.  We got out 2.5-3 cords on Sunday.  I imagine I'll head back to the farm once more before VT rifle season ends.  

I'm mostly hoping that the ground will freeze so I can get my tractor out to my little patch of woods.  To get there, I have to cross the wife's horse pastures.  There can be NO RUTS.  

Hope Corey can put his tag on one.  You guys have made lots of improvement.  

Maybe I'll go take a walk.  I don't see any deer here at the house since I don't have any winter food.  I'll try again next year.

I am on standby for him to retrieve. He is grinding.  He was out this morn but no luck.  Once he gets a deer I am ready to do a little duck jump shooting and a rabbit hunt in. But not going out there for that til he tags.  

Now I am catching up on chores I've let go due to hunting and putting some of my deer stuff away.  I might get out again esp late for muzzle with a new buck tag.  

But waiting on him to tag. He's so selfish. Lol. Hoping most of all he tags one. He will, I'm sure of it. 

"it's pointless for humans to paint scenes of nature when they can go outside and stand in it"- Ron Swanson

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  • 3 months later...

Little woods plot that I raked off and seeded.  I considered working the soil, but I would have to wait until it dries out enough to get equipment out there.  Took me 4.5 hours to get the leaves and pine needles off it with a leaf rake and a tarp.  Hit it with a little pelletized lime, Fusion, red clover and chicory.  I did the raking while it was wet.  I had planned on borrowing a leaf blower and trying that, but I hate borrowing stuff.  Got a workout instead, but I think it came out really well.

Pics are deer feeding on a red maple top and the finished product.  

IMG_0038.JPG

KIMG0356.jpeg

KIMG0355.jpeg

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3 minutes ago, corydd7 said:

Looks good. I bailed on frost seeding one of my plots Sunday because of the amount of leaves. 

Think I'm going to lime, till, and go with an annual this year.

Probably a good call.  Leaves are a PITA.  I have one more plot like this to do.  I'm hoping I can do it when its dry and try the leaf blower.  I didn't rake last year, so I guess this was 2 years worth of leaves/needles.

Will you wait until July/August or do a summer planting?

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1 hour ago, Stubborn1vt said:

Probably a good call.  Leaves are a PITA.  I have one more plot like this to do.  I'm hoping I can do it when its dry and try the leaf blower.  I didn't rake last year, so I guess this was 2 years worth of leaves/needles.

Will you wait until July/August or do a summer planting?

 I'm still thinking but what I want to do is plant a super early brassica mix. This plot has rocky soil and the clover/grains planted the last two years just haven't drawn deer for some reason.

Briassicas have been hit really early in this spot previous years. So theory is plant early, they will grow slow but hopefully won't be hit until mature. Area is shaded so I'm not worried about August heat killing them. I may change mind but so far this is what I came up with. 

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