replant pasture? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2017, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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replant pasture?

I have a few fields (about 5 acres) that were onetime pastures (50 yrs ago) that i mow/bushhog yearly. I have other food plots nearby and don't plan on making them food plots. Would it be beneficial to the deer/turkeys to spray these fields and replant them for a new orchard grass or some other type of mix? There is a mix of all types of grasses and weeds currently in these fields. I see deer browsing in these fields all summer, but this time of year you hardly see a track in them.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2017, 03:43 PM
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You already cut it 1x a year so that keeps the brush and trees in check. Just about every game animal would use that field for food, cover,nesting. Mono culture grasses would take a lot of work and maintenance than what you are doing now. Unless it was a food plot I would leave it be

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2017, 04:32 PM
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Why mow? Wasting money and time. Let it grow into cover. Especially if you already have food plots. If anything plant some switchgrass. Cover is limiting factor in most cases.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2017, 07:27 PM
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Lots of options. If you let it grow then eventually it will be too grown up to easily revert it back to field if you ever decide to. If you want cover, you could mow chunks of it on a 3 or 4 year rotation, so that it would provide cover, but not revert back to woods. The deer are using them all summer, so they are providing a benefit to them. I would probably just keep doing what you are doing.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Letting it revert back to cover is not an option. (due to location and outvoted by other members of camp). Just curious if replanting the fields with a real pasture mix would be better the the grasses that have grown wild in the field for the last 50 years would be worth the effort and cost.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 12:32 PM
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A pasture mix would be throwing away money if the goal is providing food to wildlife. If you cant convince guys that habitat will benefit the wildlife ten fold just keep mowing as is.

Its hard to convince people that a "weedy" area is natural and benefits wildlife and the environment more than a well manicured field. That and its much cheaper to maintain.

If i was planting it and wanted to have the area used by wildlife yet have it look "maintained" and easily converted back to pasture/crop id plant switchgrass. Leave fire breaks and paths. Those areas can be replanted in food plots or left as is. Mow in strips on a three year rotation to cut down on trees poping up.

A pasture must be mowed more than yearly or it will revert back to weeds. More like monthly. You will also need to fertilize and lime as needed.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 09:37 PM
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You can change the composition of the vegetation just with regular mowing and apply lime according to a soil test. Eventually orchard grass annd other cool season grasses along with red and white clover will appear and flourish. Regular liming will get your best bang for the buck. The seed is already in the soil so reseeding would be waste of money unless looking to plant annual forages every year. Warm season grasses like switchgrass Are great cover but not good food source. They can be very difficult to establish into existing sod. Killing existing vegetation critical And then mow high , like 10" for rest of growing season to control completion. That is a 2 yr process before you see good stand. Don't under estimate the benefits of just leaving fallow and mowing whole field every third year to control multiflora rose and woody vegetation.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 09:52 PM
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Disc some strips thru there and seed some clover,, maybe 2 or trips then just mow it with the rest of the plot,,,lime the strips first...
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks for the info guys. I guess what bugs me most is that i have these fields, along with several adjoining food plots in clover, and turnip/rye mixes, that don't seem to offer anything to the deer this time of year. Very few track in them this time of year, and the deer ignore the turnips in my area. There is a good bit of other thick brushy areas near by for the deer to browse, so the deer aren't starving for sure.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 02:00 PM
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Plant some winter wheat in Oct. it will last all winter, then in late summer disc it and it should re seed itself....
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