English Oaks

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old_rookie
 
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Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:31 am

English Oaks

Postby old_rookie » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:59 am

I live in upstate New York and we are trying to plant dozens of Oak Trees on a 37 acre hunting camp.

We've had mixed results. I won't say this is the ONLY thing that works, but it appears to be working for us:

1: We're using English Oak. I've observed they being to yield acorns in about 7 years. Relatively hearty. A member of the white oak family so I'm guessing the deer will love them. They seem to like New York weather.

2: I let them sprout in my yard (in the suburbs - no deer in the area), but the squirrels are pretty good at digging up the ones I plant. In the spring I scout around for the ones I planted and also the "volunteers" that grow by accident. If I don't get them, sometimes the rabbits and squirrels will. But once they're in a pot, they leave alone. Can't figure that out.

3: Put them in pots and transplant them to the hunting camp. Pick a well drained site and they need sun for at least part of the day.

4: Now it gets fun. We have to cage each one individually. Something about english oaks - deer/rabbit/mice - something loves to chomp on them. They might resprout, but you've lost months of growing time. A small cage made of 1/3" gapped hardware cloth seems to do the trick (Loews and most other garden stores sell this stuff). Hardware cloth keeps the tree growing vertically and this is important because the English Oak loves to droop over. We're also experimenting with chicken wire. Obviously a mouse could crawl in but I've only lost one tree to a rodent when the tree was properly caged.

5: We started small in 2008, planted more in 2009 and planted dozens in 2010. Right now the largest tree is up to my waist. Expect to lose 10 to 15% of your trees to heat, transplant shock etc.

6: Miracid seems to work - oaks love acid soil.

7: There is another thread under "deer browse" for the sawtooth oak that looks interesting. I'd like to try some of those.

8: This spring we had a late frost. Most of the greenery in the forest was unaffected, but the oaks - they looked like a blowtorch had been taken to their leaves. They did recover eventually, but that was a tense time for an "oak daddy".

9: The hunting camp also has white oaks but they are fairly rare (too bad). So we cage up sprouts of white oaks (Quercus Alba) when we find them. White Oaks don't transplant well because it appears they are actually old trees (they have thick roots) that get eaten every season and then they have to resprout at ground level the next spring. To be realistic, I probably won't live long enough to benefit from the white oaks we save - they take FOREVER. But some things you do for the next generation, right?

10: We are making an effort to take advantage of the canopy openings caused by dead ash trees (thank you Emerald Ash Borer) to plant little English Oak Groves throughout the hunting camp.

11: Next year, we plan to mix it up a little - add some Bur Oak, Chinquapin Oaks, and see what works.

Interested to hear your oak experiences - what works for you?

habitatmanager
 
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Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:06 am

RE: English Oaks

Postby habitatmanager » Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:43 am

I also am from western ny, My question is why are you putting all you hopes in oak trees, a late frost will do fruit bearing buds in all the time. You might want to try American or chinese chestnut, they produce in 5-7 years and do not flower untill july thus avoiding frost related problems. my oldest american chestnuts are now 15years old and are producing bushells of nuts that fall just in time for bow season! Although American chestnuts are succeptable to blight there are crosses that are avaible that are resistant. They are profuse growers some of mine grow 5' plus a year and are 25' plus in 5-10 years. There is great info avaiable on the american chestnut foundation website. I also have several apple orchards growing well and producing. Varity is what seems to keep the game on my property. I agree with your fencing of you trees i use a 2x2 welded fence 4-5' high and staked in place about 2 ft in diameter. Tried chicken wire and found that the deer can easily push it in to eat the trees down to nubs.
Habitatmanager

old_rookie
 
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Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:31 am

RE: English Oaks

Postby old_rookie » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:55 am

Good points! Thanks for the response and the good ideas.

My note only covered the English Oak effort and I agree it might fail completely. Fortunately we have other options.

Other forms of food on the property:
1: apple trees (when we find an apple tree in the woods, we chainsaw the other trees around it so that it can thrive. The trail cam shows deer standing on their hind legs to reach an apple. They are crazy for them.)
2: Kale field (this is a new experiment for us this fall - apparently the kale becomes sweet after the first frost)
3: clover fields
4: corn (fail: deer destroyed it before the cobs matured)
5: we have very few American Chestnuts, from seeds harvested from one survivor tree in Webster, NY. If I wanted to get some of the hybrids, I'm assuming the site to go to is http://www.acf.org/?
6: Red Oak trees (acorns tend to lay on the ground if the deer have something else to eat - so I think the red oaks are not a favorite).
7: Wheat - the deer tended to absolutely devour this in early summer.

About fencing: Thanks for the warning about chicken wire. Looks like I might need to buy a lot more of the welded fencing as I have about 40 oaks have only chicken wire or hardware cloth.

About Chinese Chestnuts, can you recommend a good source of seeds or saplings? Do they also require fencing?

Thanks again for the note,

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Gulfcapt
 
Posts: 397
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:30 pm

RE: English Oaks

Postby Gulfcapt » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:03 am

here is one for oaktree's { wildgametree.com} good luck
ORIGINAL: old_rookie

Good points! Thanks for the response and the good ideas.

My note only covered the English Oak effort and I agree it might fail completely. Fortunately we have other options.

Other forms of food on the property:
1: apple trees (when we find an apple tree in the woods, we chainsaw the other trees around it so that it can thrive. The trail cam shows deer standing on their hind legs to reach an apple. They are crazy for them.)
2: Kale field (this is a new experiment for us this fall - apparently the kale becomes sweet after the first frost)
3: clover fields
4: corn (fail: deer destroyed it before the cobs matured)
5: we have very few American Chestnuts, from seeds harvested from one survivor tree in Webster, NY. If I wanted to get some of the hybrids, I'm assuming the site to go to is http://www.acf.org/?
6: Red Oak trees (acorns tend to lay on the ground if the deer have something else to eat - so I think the red oaks are not a favorite).
7: Wheat - the deer tended to absolutely devour this in early summer.

About fencing: Thanks for the warning about chicken wire. Looks like I might need to buy a lot more of the welded fencing as I have about 40 oaks have only chicken wire or hardware cloth.

About Chinese Chestnuts, can you recommend a good source of seeds or saplings? Do they also require fencing?

Thanks again for the note,

habitatmanager
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:06 am

RE: English Oaks

Postby habitatmanager » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:10 am

Yes ACF.org is correct. You Can get chineese chestnut from many different nurserys.The NWTF has a great site called project help that has sweetheart chestnuts(am.chinese crosses) that you can buy as seedlings or potted 2-3 years old,and have discounts for members, or you can go thru the national arbor association. You can also try the nys nursery for chestnut and your other types of oaks you want to try. should be available thru your county's cooperative extension. I can sympatize with your corn effort. corn and soybeans get wiped out fast if the plot isn't large enough especially if the deer population is large, i've had 2 acre fields of soybeans never get past 2in tall and have since abondoned the idea of planting them. I fence all my chestnut,apples, and oaks that i've planted and keep the fences on untill they are 6-8in in diameter, thats where the welded fence stands up to time, i was removing the fence when the crown of the trees were out of the deer's reach and found that i was losing many trees to rubs... so the fence went back on. Planting trees is a great way to help wildlife and it is long term!

old_rookie
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:31 am

RE: English Oaks

Postby old_rookie » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:42 am

Slight typo on your note - I'll correct it here for others who may run across this post later.

www.wildgametrees.com

I was unfamiliar with this company and their offerings look varied and reasonably priced. Thanks for your note.

CB on the run
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:14 pm

RE: English Oaks

Postby CB on the run » Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:03 am

  So deer will eat the chestnuts?  We have plenty of acorns this year as opposed to last, they're literally everywhere.  Maybe it will bring the bear back that we had a couple years ago.
 
CB

habitatmanager
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:06 am

RE: English Oaks

Postby habitatmanager » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:00 am

Yes Deer will eat chestnuts,so will turkey, bear, and lots of other small game! they are sweet tasting(i think similar to almonds) ever try to eat a hickory nut or acorn? no wonder the cheatnuts are eaten so rapidly! Remember these are american or chinese chestnuts not horse or buckeyes. One of every 4 trees in the northeast was once a chestnut! you can even eat them yourself! (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire) The blight that killed off these trees removed a abundant and reliable food source from out forests.

CB on the run
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:14 pm

RE: English Oaks

Postby CB on the run » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:51 am

Oh believe me, I eat chestnuts.  I actually like them fresh slightly better than roasted.  But the only type I see in my area are them ones that only the squirrels seem to eat.  They are usually on the side of the road or in someone yard.  I planted some at a property I use to hunt that I got from a cemetary but I don't know if they took.  I had a friend who secretly knew where one of the edible trees was located and would give me the nuts but not the location.  He has since moved back to Canada.  Thanks for the info.
 
CB


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