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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I want to order some pine seedlings through the PGC program this year. Im just trying to plan out where i want to plant them and what kind to order for my property. I have about a 2 acre clearing that i would like to put pine in. Just not sure which one would be the best for deer cover. I was thinking about going with the Norway spruce spacing 8x8. I know the norway keeps its branches all the way to the bottom. Would the deer like this? Should i go with a different pine?
 

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I've planted over 10,000 evergreen seedlings over the last 2 decades and have planted primarily norway spruce and white pine. There's been a few white spruce and red pine in the mix. I don't beliee in planting only one species because if a disease hits them you have nothing left. Your spacing is correct, but I don't plant in rows because it doesn't look natural. I know it helps with mechanical weed control but I've never done any so I don't have that as a consideration. It takes awhile to go from 10 inch seedlings (3-0) to 10 foot trees but I've sen it happen and consider it well worth the investment of time, energy and money.
 

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So how well do the deer like the norways?
Will they bed in them? I am just having a hard time seeing them crawling under one of these trees. From the pictures I have seen of norways the branches go all the way to the ground. Are they able to even walk through them?
 

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Deer will use the norways for bedding and cover in a few years and will have no problem at all walking through them but you will! Eventually the lower branches get shaded out and die off but you'll have good cover for a long time. Plant'em close, you can always thin. 8X8 or even 6X6 is about right.

I like your strategy HomeintheWoods. Plant a diverse species mix over a period of years in a random pattern to achieve various stages of growth.

Only problem is if you have a lot of deer they may eat the norway seedlings. If that's the case, plant white spruce and the deer won't touch them. I planted white spruce in quarter acre clumps about 12 years ago in a fern infested area. The seedlings grew right up through the ferns with no spraying and deer now bed in them.
 

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Mix it up!Norway is an excellent choice,but plant other species.White spruce,blue spruce,white pine,Scotch pine,Austrian pine,I even planted a few ponderosa pine.They are all growing andit is good to have multi species.
 

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I've also planted thousands of pines, mostly norway spruce. We have usually planted them at 8 ft spacing but I'd go to 10 unless you want to be doing some thinning some day. As others have said the deer won't have any problem getting through them but they will nip the tops off at times and the bucks like to rub them. Eventually the pines will outpace the deer so don't get discouraged.
 

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As a grower of Christmas Trees, the best evergreen for deer cover is White Pine, hands down. They are hardy, fast growing and provide excellent thermal and security, especially during winter. Plant them in bunches of 50 to 100, spaced 10 to 15 feet apart in suitable dwelling areas and even along streams. I hope this helps.
 
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