John's Journal...

Trees and Bushes Bowhunters Can Plant to Increase Their Success

The Advantage of Planting Permanent Food Plots

Click to enlargeEditor's note: Many have written about the advantage of planting food plots to manage wildlife. Click to enlargeYou can provide quality nutrition for your wildlife when you plant crops, but you'll also have to invest time and money managing those food plots. You may find planting permanent food plots comprised of trees and shrubs instead of just small grains a more-economical alternative. Here are some tips for planting permanent food plots to attract wildlife.

When you look at this table provided by the Wildlife Group of Tuskegee, Alabama, you'll see that you can plant a 3-acre permanent food plot for $10.00 more than you can plant a food plot of small grains that only will last approximately 5 months. However, I don't believe that you can plant only trees and shrubs and no small grain crops. In my opinion, the best food-plot management program you can employ includes trees and shrubs in conjunction with food plots. Then when you mow, fertilize and till the soil, you can fertilize and mow under and around your trees and shrubs as well as the crops you're growing.


Winter Food Plot  - 3 Acres


Seed Blend



100 pounds per acre




6, 50-pound bags






400 pounds per acre


24 bags



Midseason Amonia Nitrate

100 pounds per acre


6 bags



Total Cost Per Year

$270 per field


5 months


Permanent Food Plot - 3 Acres

No. of Trees


Sawtooth Oak



Chinese Chestnut






Crab Apple



Allegheny Chinkapin



Autumn Olive




4 trays


Chickasaw Plum



Yates Apple



Arkansas Crab Apple






Ferilizer Tablets





$280 (Per Field)

One Time Cost






*Chart provided by Wildlife Group 

Click to enlargeAllen Deese, a nursery manager for the Wildlife Group of Tuskegee, says, "When you plant a permanent food plot of fruit and nut trees and shrubs that deer, turkey and other animals can feed on, you increase the browse for all the animals throughout the year." Deese names the Arkansas crab apple and the Yates apple trees as two of the best trees to pClick to enlargelant for bow season. These trees produce apples in late October and early November, times when bow season occurs in most states. "In Alabama where I live, our bow season begins on October 15, so these two trees are producing and dropping fruit for the first six weeks of bow season," Deese explains. "The deer love apples and will come from long distances to eat them."

Deese also recommends planting the Callaway crab apple, which produces apples from the end of September until the end of October. "Too, the Kieffer pear is a hardy, fast-growing tree that deer love," Deese reports. "In addition, the Keiffer pear is fire-blight resistant. These trees begin producing fruit after only three to five years. However, most bowhunters don't want to wait that long to begin hunting around the trees they've planted." According to Deese, you can solve this problem by buying 3-year-old trees in 15-gallon pots and planting them in areas where you want to attract deer. If you buy a few older-age trees, you can hunt over them quickly and plant younger trees at the same time. Then you'll have a new crop of trees that will bear fruit later. However, the older-age trees cost more than younger trees do. Deese says, "A one-year-old, bare-root fruit tree may cost $6.00 or $7.00. A three- or four-year-old tree may cost $30 to $40. So the balancing act is to purchase a few older trees to hunt over within two years and buy smaller trees to plant for hunting deer in the future."

To learn more about the Wildlife Group, visit, email call 1-800-221-9703 or write the Wildlife Group at 2858 County Road 53, Tuskegee, Alabama 36083.

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Tomorrow: A look At Nut Trees and Bushes

Check back each day this week for more about "Trees and Bushes Bowhunters Can Plant to Increase Their Success"

Day 1: Trees and Bushes for Bowhunters
Day 2: The Advantage of Planting Permanent Food Plots
Day 3: A look At Nut Trees and Bushes
Day 4: The Truth About Honeysuckle + Creating Sanctuaries
Day 5: The Best 1-Acre Bowhunting Plot and Honey Holes



Entry 402, Day 2