There is nothing more thrilling than seeing a flock of wild turkey or a herd of white tail deer feeding just before sunset. This natural dividend paid from the land is one that Wall Street can never match. With a small financial investment and a little time, landowners can create Wildlife Enhancement Areas that will add to the enjoyment of the property for the owners and resident wildlife population alike.
Wildlife spend a lot of time browsing along the edges between the woods and clearings. This gives them an opportunity to feed while remaining just a hop, jump or wing-flap back into the forest should danger threaten. Let’s see how we go about creating a Wildlife Enhancement Area with lots of edge.
First, the timber was selectively harvested by a professional timber operator to create a clearing in the woods.
Next, using an excavator and bulldozer, the stumps, tops, limbs and small brush left after the timber harvest was gathered into a windrow along the edge of the clearing.
Instead of creating air pollution by burning, the windrow was left to slowly decay. The decaying material provides habitat for the wildlife and nutrients to the soil.
The seed is a mixture of clovers, orchard grass, birdsfoot trefoil, turnips, ryegrass and crown vetch. Sorghum and millets may be over seeded in the fall of the year.
To insure consistent coverage, the seed, fertilizer and lime is broadcast with a cyclone spreader attached to the back of the tractor.
Ranger Dog and Harry take a break while the seeding is being finished up.
Sometimes hay mulch is applied to help retain moisture which enhances seed germination and plant survival.
With some well timed rains and sunshine, a lush stand of grasses and legumes becomes well established.
Later in the growing season, the fully formed heads of the German Millet provide an important winter food. Non-migrating songbirds, grouse, turkey, cottontail rabbits and even Chipmunks love the protein rich millet seeds. The deer and groundhogs uncover the ripe turnips for a winter snack.