Tips From Chestnut Hill On The Best Wildlife Trees To Plant
Land managers who want a healthy deer herd know different trees fill different needs for deer and other wildlife. Chestnut Hill Outdoors is a one-stop solution for finding the very best quality trees and a varied selection to help decide what to plant.
Now’s the time to plant trees. Planting trees for wildlife right now is like putting in a food plot just one time that will then produce nutritious, attractive food year after year for a lifetime.
Chestnut Hill Outdoors might be best known for its disease-resistant Dunstan Chestnut Trees, the very best food-plot tree ever. Dunstan Chestnuts are returning this most-favored deer food to North America after a Chinese blight accidentally introduced in 1904 wiped out millions of native chestnut trees. Hardy from growing Zone 9 all the way north to Zone 5, Dunstan Chestnuts produce a nut that deer have shown a preference over acorns 100-to-1, even when the deer have never seen a chestnut before. Low in tannins and high in protein, Dunstan Chestnuts are a favorite deer food.
Chestnut Hill offers several other trees that deer will prefer, as well, and savvy land managers know that variety is the spice of a whitetail’s life and can keep deer coming back to an area through varied seasons.
Deer Candy Persimmons are a special Chestnut Hill variety of American persimmons that often bear fruit within two or three years of being planted. Deer Candy Persimmons have been specially selected for their abundant fruit production, and these persimmons are irresistible to deer and other wildlife. Persimmons bear profusely in the fall and are a great addition to any food plot or tract of hunting land. The earlier varieties that start to bear in late August early September will lure deer to your site. American Persimmon varieties are more cold hardy than the Oriental Persimmon and can be grown in Plant Zones 5-9. Chestnut Hill also has some various of Oriental Persimmons, which feature larger fruit, that can be grown as far north as Zone 6.
Chestnut Hill Outdoors also features the Thanksgiving Pear, a pear variety that’s tough to beat when it comes to rounding out a whitetail food plot. These hardy sand pears ripen in late fall and hold on the tree until Thanksgiving. Chestnut Hill got its original stock from an old homestead along the Alapaha River in Georgia. This variety is disease resistant, and the fruit will bring deer in throughout the hunting season. It is hardy in Planting Zones 5-9, which encompasses most of the United States.
Apples are one of the best types of trees to plant for deer and wildlife. Apple varieties differ in chilling requirement, which is the amount of winter temperatures necessary to induce the tree to break dormancy and begin to flower and bear. Chestnut Hill has many apple varieties. On its website, Chestnut Hill Outdoors has in-depth information on choosing the best apple trees suited for specific planting zones.
Crabapples are also very attractive to deer, and Chestnut Hill has selected varieties that have longer ripening times. This means these crabapples hold their fruit over a longer period of time, so the deer keep coming back to feed.
Planting oaks is another good options for land managers. After the original chestnut forest was killed by the blight, oaks became the major source of mast for deer and wildlife. Oaks will grow in a wide variety of habitats, from southern Canada to south Florida and south Texas. Oaks usually bear annually, but they often cycle between heavy and light crops, sometimes with a couple of years between heavy crops.
Red Oaks normally begin to bear in 10 to 20 years, although Sawtooths bear in only 4 to 6 years. Live Oaks, the evergreen type of red oak found along the southeast Atlantic and Gulf coasts, grow relatively quickly and bear within 6 to 10 years. White Oaks can be identified by their rounded lobed leaves and normally take at about 20 or more years before they start to bear, but white oak acorns are lower in tannin than most acorns, and thus are favored by deer.
For more information on trees that can meet your land management and wildlife needs, visit www.chestnuthilloutdoors.com.
Wes White represents the collective — yet individual — voice of the Western Whitetail editorial staff.