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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to plant some trees to enhance a bedding area on my property. I'm looking for some type of evergreen that will provide thermal cover, grow where it is pretty wet, preferably be somewhat shade tolerant, and not have to worry about overbrowsing and wasting my time.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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big cow down 80 said:
autumn olive works nice..
add in white pines.

Plant 10-12 feet apart, with rows spaced 10-12 feet.
Plant 5 rows.... skip 2 rows, repeat.
Let it grow and stay out of it, except to mow the lanes between the sections of rows.
Bedding area plus sanctuary.
 

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I would personally go with white spruce or norway spruce. The deer shouldn't touch them and they retain their lower branches to provide better thermal and bedding cover. I would stay away from autumn olive. Yeah they will provide some bedding cover, but they are decidious (so their is not a lot of benefit in the winter) and invasive.
 

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Do not plant Autumn Olive, it is highly invasive. I like Norway spruce for thermal cover. Some native shrubs to plant would be Arrowwood, nannybery or american hazelnut.
 

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From what I've seen lately Autumn Olive is taking over the countryside! I wouldn't waste time planting it because it's probably going to show up anyway. lol
 

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White Pines:
First day of deer season several years ago, coming out of the bedding area around 3PM


One row of Autumn Olive on each side, then White Pines:



Autumn Olive on the edges, White Pines and Norway Spruce in the middle.
 

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White pines, spruce and anything that is thick that you wouldn't want to walk through.(that means deer will) Planting an evasive species wouldn't be recommended. They typically kill off any native species that may be a better food source than the import. Thorn apple also makes good thick cover for the deer to escape too.......Also the grouse and turkey like to hide in them too...
 

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Nothing wrong with white pine, we plant tens of thousands of them every yr. I just prefer Norway and White spruce due to the fact that when they mature they keep their lower branches and the deer generally won't touch them vs white pine that tend to shed their lower branches as they mature and are more desireable to deer.

The cover that you are showing in your photos looks great, but you need to be careful with autumn olive. Bake provided some good alternatives.
 

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I would agree with white pine and or Norway Spruce. Also, this past winter while working In gettysburg on the deer research project, when we had heavy amounts of snow, there were few eastern red cedar stands that didn't have deer in them. We were on a private track of land looking for a collar and jumped 31 deer out of a dense red cedar thicket. Very few other places were sheltering deer during those times. So if the soils allow, keep cedars in mind too.
 

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In my experience, when deer are at lower numbers and in balance with habitat, they don't eat autumn olive. When there were lots of deer, I saw evidence of browsing.

Must say, it is good for grouse, but, is it a good tradeoff for it's other problems? Probably not.
 

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CRICKET said:
do deer eat autumn olive?
Yes, deer will eat autumn olive.
Rabbits eat the bark in the deep winter,
Grouse and Turkeys will eat the berries.
I've even seen squirrels after the berries.
Songbirds love the berries.
BEARS THINK THE BERRIES ARE CANDY!!
If you make some effort plant it properly and to manage, it will pay dividends.
 

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If you make some effort plant it properly and to manage, it will pay dividends.
If I was in an area where there was no AO, I would not plant it. It can't be managed once it gets off your property. Not even sure I'd plant it in areas where it exists. It just adds to the problem.

Have you ever been to the Trexler Preserve in Lehigh County? If you'd see the AO there, you may not be so quick to plant or promote it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
These spruce trees will grow where it is very wet and shady? Also, any of the spruces mentioned grow more vigourously than others? I should have mentioned this earlier, but keep it in mind that I live in the snow belt off Lake Erie and we get quite a lot of snow. Don't know if that will make a difference in recommendations or not.
 

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Pa-Guy said:
White Pines:
First day of deer season several years ago, coming out of the bedding area around 3PM


One row of Autumn Olive on each side, then White Pines:



Autumn Olive on the edges, White Pines and Norway Spruce in the middle.
Beautiful property. Looks like you spend a lot of time taking care of it and you know what you're doing!
 

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CRICKET said:
do deer eat autumn olive?
I've only seen browsing on stump sprouts. They only use it for bedding on my property, nothing else. I'd rather plant the natives I mentioned earlier since the deer will use them for food and cover.
 

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Thanks Double Lung.
I do spend time taking care of it.
It has paid me back many times over.
 

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Autumn Olive is good stuff from a wildlife standpoint. It provides great cover. However, the bad out weighs the good in my opinion. It can be highly invasive, invading nearby open land and CRP. It crowds out benefitial plants. Birds eat the berries and carry the seeds for miles..

Planting autumn olive, might be a good decision for a deer hunter, but it would almost certainly be a dumb move if you consider yourself a conservationist or steward of the land.

You may like your results, but your children and your neighbors children will not. Also, there are plenty of non-invasive species to choose from that will do nearly as well. Here's a few..

Alders
Arrowood
Crabapples
Dogwoods
Elderberry
Hazelnut
Highbush Cranberry
Nannyberry
Ninebark
Hawthorn
Viburnums
Wild Plum
Willows
 
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