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Recent entries

Kevin Hahn

Food Plotting

Think Spring: Tree and Shrub Plantings

Thu, January 30, 2014

This week as an act of defiance of the extremely cold weather, I turned my thoughts to the coming spring and placed orders for a few replacement fruit trees for my orchard—I ran over one with the tractor and killed another by getting too much glyphosate on the base of the trunk.  If you are interested in more information about fruit tree orchards for wildlife food plots, you can read an article that I wrote last year on that subject (click here).  In addition to my fruit tree order, I placed a fairly large order for conservation grade potted 4-5 ft. oak trees.  It will require “all-hands-on-deck” for my family and me when these trees arrive for planting.  The oak trees will be planted in areas of my timber that I did hack-n-squirt treatments last summer and fall to kill undesirable trees according to my forest management plan.  If you are interested in more information about “hack-n-squirt” methods for timber stand improvement (TSI), you can read an article that I wrote last year (click here).

I am also working on a list of shrubs that I will soon be ordering.  I have a special interest this year in taking steps to improve the habitat to benefit deer.  My motivation comes from my concern about the current condition of the deer herd in the area of a couple farms we hunt and thus I am planning to do more habitat work than ever before this winter and early spring. In addition to tree plantings, habitat activities will include hinge cutting to thicken areas in the timber and planting shrubs in transitional areas for cover and browse.

Order while supplies last
Because many nurseries can run short on inventories, now is the time to place orders for trees and shrubs for spring plantings.  The following is a list of suppliers that I have used over the years. If you have other good sources, please post a comment and share them with others.  In addition to the nurseries listed below, I have also got trees and shrubs through various Illinois Dept. of Conservation programs, contact your local NRCS office for potential opportunities.

Forest Keeling Nursery:  Trees,  (including conservation grade), shrubs, and many perennial prairie plants.  Located in Elsberry, MO.

Chief River Nursery Co: Bare Root Cedars.  Located in Grafton, WI.

Chestnut Hill Tree Farm:  Dunstan chestnut trees.  www.
Note: Chestnut Hill Tree farm also offers Dunstan chestnut trees through select Walmart , Rural King and Farm King stores.  They will list these select store locations on their website as well as post shipment dates .  At this time, this information has not been posted.  Check their website weekly if interested.  Trees go fast, I found I needed the call the stores and check availability and then have them hold the trees for me to ensure they would be there when I arrived.

Missouri Dept. of Conservation State Forest Nursery:  Seedling trees and shrubs

Fruit trees:  see my blog post on orchards (click here). 

Right here in Illinois. Down by Mattoon. Have had very good luck with his trees.

Posted by Clintuckian on January 30

When is the best time of the spring to plant an oak tree and what kind of an oak do you recommend?

Posted by CCHUNTER2024600 on January 30

Clintuckian….thanks for information about your source!

CCHunter….The following are the oaks that I am planting based on recommendations from my forester.  County is Cumberland.  In the bottoms: Swamp white oak, swamp chestnut, bur oak shumard oak and cherrybark oak.  On the upland areas: white oak, chinkapin, bur oak, Northern red oak, and cherrybark oak. Of these oaks, swamp white oak, swamp chestnut oak, bur oak,white oak and chinakpin are all in the “white oak group”.  The cherrybark, N. red oak, and shumard oak are all in the “red oak group”.  Regarding the best time to plant, when I do spring plantings I have had the best luck (highest survival rate) when I could get them planted before they leaf out. They will handle transplant shock better, especially the bigger the tree is. My targeted planting time is March 3rd this year, that’s when I will be picking up my potted oaks, however, it all depends on how wet the ground is and if the trees are available at the nursery—I don’t like to plant in mud. Your nursery supplier can also assist you with information for ideal planting times based on your location.  Another benefit of targeting planting before leaf out, is that the trees require less care when transporting them for you don’t have to worry about damaging leaves from going 70 MPH down the highway. Kevin Hahn (screen name Cooper)

Posted by Cooper on January 30

I was in the nursery business for 13 years and have been a certified nurseryman for many of those years and during that time we did a tremendous amount of research on native trees and shrubs and how was the best way to grow them. I’m not trying to bash anyone on here, but what we found was that trees from Forrest Keeling had horrible roots and never established well even under ideal nursery conditions. They might survive for a few years, but then they would give up. I would recommend avoiding ANY tree grown in a smooth sided plastic container as they are crap. Look for trees grown in Rootmaker bags or even just bareroot field grown trees, but stay away from pots. There are of course some exceptions depending on variety a(soft maple, river birch, etc.)they will survive about any root torture. I will also say that we found fall is by far the best planting time simply because the tree is going dormant and doesnt require as much water and it will spend the next month or two growing roots. If planted in the spring, the tree will have to try and establish roots and put leaves out at the same time. You will need to water constantly through the spring and summer.  If you are looking for a good source for native trees and shrubs with a good root system, check out Boehm’s Garden Center in Rushville, IL. They even have good bareroot fruit trees in the spring and they are usually $19.99. One other thing (I know this is long) to think about it where were the seeds collected that grew your tree? Seeds collected in Tennesee or somewhere like that won’t perform very well here in central illinois. Make sure they have local provenace.

Posted by aerosmith16 on February 01

A word of advice on bareroot trees, cut stakes and take some marking tape and tie tree loosely to stake with marking tape, these lil guys aren’t very big and it helps believe me.

Posted by cuttnstrut on February 04

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