Do you have any suggestions of how we can improve a recently timbered area in the Arkansas Ouachita Mountains?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersHabitat Management
Hello there Dr.Woods!
I have an interesting situation for you. The property (200 acres) we own is located in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, encapsulated by National Forest and mountains that have a minimum of 1000 ft elevation. The majority of our property sits in a valley and is heavily timbered with oaks, pines, and gum. We do however have 2 or 3 areas that are small open fields. We also have several ponds, creeks and springs. The only kicker is we do not have a tractor or equipment to make drastic habitat improvements.

After a tornado hit our area this summer we decided to hire loggers to remove the fallen trees and a sizeable portion of land (50ish acres) that is infested with gum trees. I feel like this winter/spring is a golden opportunity to create a food buffet for the wildlife in the newly logged area and our existing fields.

I feel like it is a great idea to plant some soft mass bearers and an assortment of oaks from Flatwood Natives in the newly opened area along with an array of food plots to offer food year round. I would love to hear your opinion on how you would try to accomplish this idea without a tractor/equipment, what food plot seed/tree types you think would be beneficial, and any other idea that comes to mind while reading this! If you feel a visit would further help you determine a plan of action please send me an price estimate, I would enjoy meeting you in person as I have spent countless hours watching almost all of your videos trying to gain more knowledge on deer habitat improvement and hunting.

Thanks, James.


That’s a beautiful area!  I suspect there are plenty of oaks on and around your property!  I like to create tree plots that produce fruits and/or nuts that are available only at that location. This creates a source of desirable food that’s only available where I can hunt.  I suggest you focus on fruit producing trees and plant multiple species so there’s fresh fruit available during the early, mid, and late season.

The folks at were very helpful in designing such a tree plot at my farm. Give them a call and discuss your location and what varieties of fruit trees will perform best at your location.

Enjoy creation,


November 12, 2015