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Old 02-08-2021, 10:47 AM   #1
BiggieSmalls
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Default Fertilizing native pasture?

So looking at opinions and thoughts concerning this.

We have a lot of areas that are just tall native grass that will not be palatable in their given state, so I plan to shred and fertilize for the upcoming spring time rains. I want to do strips so the quail have plenty of tall hiding spots, so I figure shredding 25-30% would be on the high end of the work.

I've been doing some research about shredding native grasses instead of planting food plots, then following up with fertilizer. I already know that even without fertilizer the shredded grasses will attract deer as it grows back, but apparently if you fertilize native grasses the deer will congregate on them over the non fertilized areas.

I hunt down south and we all know how hit and miss the rains can be down there, so has anyone tried this or have any experience this?
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Old 02-08-2021, 11:45 AM   #2
686
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I believe Dr. Deer wrote some articles on it years ago. The protein content of the native species should go up with fertilization I believe, which will benefit wildlife. Have your soil tested and see if you need to pH adjust, etc. or what the lab recommends for application rates on native vegetation.
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:14 PM   #3
Drycreek3189
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Deer eat very little grass, but they do eat lots of different weeds and all kinds of forbs which may well benefit from what you described. The quail will benefit from mature weeds as thatís what makes seeds. I donít think native grasses can compete with a good food plot but you have more work and expense to grow food plots, plus if you donít get the moisture you need you are SOL. Try it and see if it works. Iíve been food plotting for 15 years and Iím still experimenting.
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:35 PM   #4
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Default Fertilizing native pasture?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BiggieSmalls View Post
So looking at opinions and thoughts concerning this.



We have a lot of areas that are just tall native grass that will not be palatable in their given state, so I plan to shred and fertilize for the upcoming spring time rains. I want to do strips so the quail have plenty of tall hiding spots, so I figure shredding 25-30% would be on the high end of the work.



I've been doing some research about shredding native grasses instead of planting food plots, then following up with fertilizer. I already know that even without fertilizer the shredded grasses will attract deer as it grows back, but apparently if you fertilize native grasses the deer will congregate on them over the non fertilized areas.



I hunt down south and we all know how hit and miss the rains can be down there, so has anyone tried this or have any experience this?


Have you thought about burning it? You might contact the NRCS in your area and speak with him about a prescribed fire


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Old 02-08-2021, 12:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bowhuntertx View Post
Have you thought about burning it? You might contact the NRCS in your area and speak with him about a prescribed fire


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Oh trust me, I'm the only non-firefighter on the lease so those guys drool thinking about a prescribed burn, but the owner is not too fond of them. They are concerned with "collateral losses" mainly the very nice quail population we have on the place. It is definitely something that we might revisit once we look at some more options.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:00 PM   #6
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I’d burn it also. Do about 1/4 of it a year on a rotation. Burning isn’t going to hurt the quail population. Disking would be another good option in the fall or winter. Disking and burning promotes Forbes which is what provides the food for deer and quail. Spring and summer disking promotes less desirable vegetation. Fertilizing could actually be negative for quail. To high of a grass density inhibits movement and crowds out forbs. Both disking and burning keep it from getting too thick and promote forbs.

Last edited by Etxnoodler; 02-08-2021 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:29 PM   #7
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Burn and dormant season strip disking is your best bet. Fertilize will help but not if you havent done a soil test to know how much fertilize to use, and if your ph is high enough for you plants to uptake any of that fertilize
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:40 PM   #8
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Allow me to give you a compliment. If you have a healthy quail population, you are obviously doing something right. Agreed with the others on disking or burning, but do it in small patches. Quail and deer need thick cover too.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:48 PM   #9
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Good points, I think this weekend I will grab some soil samples for testing and I do plan to disc a bit in some of the areas we've shredded already. Concerning the quail, they are really thick, like so much so that we have to make sure we don't drive over them when driving around, some are too slow..
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Old 02-09-2021, 02:59 PM   #10
Steel185
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It depends on your goals. Have you looked at fallow disking or sometimes called strip disking. I have a similar situation with my property being a old cow pasture, lots of grass not much anything else. Slowly working in other items. Everything Iíve read says not to ďmowĒ or shred.

Dr Harper goes over this in his book and Texas A&M has a article on strip disking with seeding other forbs at the right time of year to work broad leafs back into the area.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:54 AM   #11
Dusty Britches
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This is quite interesting to me because I've been told the benefit of cattle to grazing native grasses is that it does not need fertilizer to have the same or more protein than introduced grasses like Bermuda.
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Old 02-11-2021, 04:27 PM   #12
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Generally speaking, God designed native plants to thrive and survive in the environment they're designed to grow in. That is, they don't need fertilizer especially if rangeland health is good. Judging by description of quail production, rangeland must be good.

So, ask yourself - what's the expected gain from the investment of fertilizer? Increased antler growth? Better fawn production? Can any of that be tied to fertilizer applications? No, not that I'm aware of.

I would recommend not applying fertilizer.

Deer don't eat much grass. They could starve to death standing in belly deep monocultures of grass. Weeds are #1 and browse is the staple of the diet. Instead of mowing, try discing in the fall to create weeds the following winter, spring, and summer. Just careful not to disc same ground in consecutive years.
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Old 02-12-2021, 09:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Top Of Texas View Post
Generally speaking, God designed native plants to thrive and survive in the environment they're designed to grow in. That is, they don't need fertilizer especially if rangeland health is good. Judging by description of quail production, rangeland must be good.

So, ask yourself - what's the expected gain from the investment of fertilizer? Increased antler growth? Better fawn production? Can any of that be tied to fertilizer applications? No, not that I'm aware of.

I would recommend not applying fertilizer.

Deer don't eat much grass. They could starve to death standing in belly deep monocultures of grass. Weeds are #1 and browse is the staple of the diet. Instead of mowing, try discing in the fall to create weeds the following winter, spring, and summer. Just careful not to disc same ground in consecutive years.
I think you are spot on there. I've been contemplating which way to go and it sounds like the discing is the way to go, with no extra fertilizers. And yes, deer are like freaking goats, they'll die in good grass before they'll eat it sometimes. Weeds seems to be best for some reason.
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Old 02-12-2021, 01:07 PM   #14
lovemylegacy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top Of Texas View Post
Generally speaking, God designed native plants to thrive and survive in the environment they're designed to grow in. That is, they don't need fertilizer especially if rangeland health is good. Judging by description of quail production, rangeland must be good.

So, ask yourself - what's the expected gain from the investment of fertilizer? Increased antler growth? Better fawn production? Can any of that be tied to fertilizer applications? No, not that I'm aware of.

I would recommend not applying fertilizer.

Deer don't eat much grass. They could starve to death standing in belly deep monocultures of grass. Weeds are #1 and browse is the staple of the diet. Instead of mowing, try discing in the fall to create weeds the following winter, spring, and summer. Just careful not to disc same ground in consecutive years.
About the best advice you can get. I disagree in part on fertilizing native vegetation, I think it helps.
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Old 02-18-2021, 05:40 PM   #15
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We are on a large ranch that does not allow any food plots or non native grass to be planted. Recently a large pipeline went through part of the ranch and the land owner has had a seed mix developed for his type of soil/rain fall etc. He has had this blend developed from past types of grasses that used to be in the area, should be interesting to see the results. BUT, my point is that he has done a lot of cedar gubbing over the last several years. One would think that the reduced cover would affect the deep population, but it has significantly increased our herd count and overall health. The newly turned up soil has become a natural food plot of its own that spreads throughout several thousand acres. The deer and wildlife absolutely flock to these areas that were grubbed and have new growth. The rancher has not needed to reseed the area as it has done so by itself. Kind of off the subject but I thought is was worth mentioning that the turned up earth will produce the best natural food plot out there.
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