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Whitney crab trees for deer


Cooter

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A local nursery has some whitney(sp?) crab apple trees, was wondering if anyone is familiar with them and if they would be a good option for deer. Also, what to fertilize apples trees in general with? Thanks.

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Yes whitney crabs are good for deer, they love mine. But remember you need a nother variety for pollination. I have whitney,chestnut and dolgo as far as crab trees go and then other apple trees that are hardy for zone 3 if you are up north. Also protect the trunks in fall and winter so the bucks dont wreck 'em. I think they like the smell when the rub them and the rabbits and mice in the winter.

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Cooter, I believe newly planted trees aren't supposed to be fertilized until their third year in the ground, I'll stand corrected but I am sure I've been told that on non fruit trees at least.

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Being in the landscape industry, When I buy trees they usually have a guard on them. All it is is a piece of drain tile cut lengthwise. The paper only works for mice and rabbits. but any plastic tree guard will work. Dont fertilize the first year but after that you should be ok (in my opinion). Some of my trees I have also put a chicken wire fence around because the deer browsed them back to the trunk.

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Thanks much, when would you recommend planting them? It will be tough for me to water them regularly once planted. Still have them at home right now in pots.

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If you can water them right after planting, go ahead and do it this fall, like the end of september or wait till the leaves start to fall but still water them well. I will be planting more up north this weekend but will be able to water them once a week or so through fall.

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If you use drain tile, spray paint it white. The black soaks up winter sunlight and can cause frost cracking on south exposures. In case some don't know, this happens when sun warms a trunk in the middle of a sunny winter day, which expands the bark a bit. Then, if it's still clear at night it gets colder than if it's cloudy (clouds hold in earth's heat), and the bark contracts from the cold, causing long cracks to form in the trunk. It can eventually kill a tree by allowing in disease and simply from weakening the tree's wood. Trees such as apples and mountain ash are among the most susceptible.

That's why I always spray the drain tile white, which reflects the sun's heat instead of absorbing it. If you live in an area where deer or rodents aren't a bark-chewing problem, you don't need drain tile — it's a simple matter to spray white LATEX paint on the side facing south and southwest. Spring rains will wash it away. As trees get older and produce more branches, they'll provide their own trunks enough shade to prevent the problem, but those leggy young saplings need protection. If you have other trees or a forest fairly close to the south/southwest of where you're planting these trees, you may not need to protect from the sun, because even branches with no leaves can offer enough shade if they're fairly thick.

If you're planting crabs, plant some apples as well. The crabs will pollinate the apples and vice versa, and there are plenty of zone 3 apples out there. Also, apple trees tend to be cheaper than crabapples, which are more sought after for ornamental purposes. The big apples offer more of a feeding punch to deer than the crabs. The late-maturing varieties of crabs and apples will hang there all winter if they're not harvested. For apples, the Haralson and Haralred are two good late-maturing varieties. Hopa crabs also mature late. If you're lucky and you're planting these trees near a traditional yarding area, you may just get deer packing trails to and from the yarding areas as long as the apples hold out, giving you a nice late bowhunt season pattern to hunt. Of course, that'll be some years down the line if you're just planting now, but there's nothing wrong with a young fellow making a place that's convenient to hunt when he's an older fellow, right? grin.gif

If you can't get up to keep watering them after planting, plant them as late as possible, as close to ground-freezing time as possible. Then water hard when you plant them and mulch the crap out of them. That will help insulate against extreme cold if the snow doesn't get thick enough that winter to do the job, and the mulch also will keep that initial watering from drying up as quickly. With luck you'll get most of them through the first winter, and the spring snowmelt will soak in, which the mulch will keep in much longer than if they go unmulched. Sucks to have to buy bags of shredded wood mulch. Much better if you can find a tree service that shreds their own and get a pickup load or go to a composting dump and snoop around. The tree services put that in compost dumps pretty often, those that don't sell it on their own.

Good luck.

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Hey catfish I sure appreciate the reply. I could certainly water once a week with no problem, probably twice. Tons of other apple trees in the area, but its a cattle grazing area and they scoop em up pretty quick. Might try fencing off a couple of the better ones, but still want some near our food plot which is already fenced off. Yes indeed, certainly something for down the road, although at 29 I'm not a young fella anymore crazy.gif I'll look into those varieties of apple trees you mentioned, the plantings would be near Eau Claire so not really up north.

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I'm from LaCrosse originally. You'll be in zone 4 around Eau Claire, so that should add a few possbilities for apple varieties.

Wish I was still 29. Young is relative. grin.gif

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