Why Do We Burn Before Growing Season?February 12th, 2016 by Matt Dye
Do you hunt timbered ground? The Proving Grounds is dominated by timber. That means we have a lot of timbered ground that we have to manage. As often as we can, we choose to manage our land in the most natural way possible. This helps to keep our land progressing in its intended fashion.
One of the best ways we chose to manage our timbered acres is by burning each year before the start of the growing season. This accomplishes many goals for both of our habitat and deer management plans. The intention during each of these burns is to remove all the duff or leaf litter on the forest floor. These leaves or fuel have built up over a few years since the previous burn was completed. During this time of the year on days when the humidity levels are low, we begin our prescribed fire!
Each burn unit has set fire lines that have been blown days in advance. This allows us to act fast when the weather conditions turn favorable to burn. These prescribed fires we conduct within the timber are slow backing fires. We do not set a head fire in our timbered areas. Our goal is to remove all the leaves, exposing the soil. We do not want to damage our large hardwood trees. When we remove the leaves from within the timber, the soil is then exposed. When the growing season begins, sunlight and the warming soil temperatures allows for germination and new growth to spring up. These burned areas are quickly converted from simple leaf duff to a “timbered food plot”. Deer are natural browsers, so with the diversity of vegetation that begins to grow, this area becomes highly attractive to them. Turkeys also frequent these areas as they will consume earthworms and grubs that are exposed by removing the leaves. They will make a return when the new vegetation begins to sprout out of the ground.
Burning is not just a management tool that benefits your timber; it also creates additional forage for wildlife. We are looking forward to spring green up so we can provide you with updates on the progression of our prescribed burns.
Warning: This blog contains information about prescribed fire which is a management tool for trained professionals using the appropriate tools for the situation.