Pines for Cover in the South

By GrowingDeer,

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Dr. Woods,

You say you like as large of areas of bedding as possible, such as NWSGs.  I have a 10 acre part of my property that I want to turn into cover that has a 1 acre food plot in the middle of it.  Is there any benefit to increasing edge by putting half that acreage surrounding the plot in SG/NWSGs and the remainder in loblolly pines?  Or would it be better to plant just one type of cover in this situation (all loblolly or all SG)?

Also, being in the South where pines grow well and are a good form of income, do you recommend planting pines or still prefer SG in terms of cover?  Longleaf (which I understand might be a better choice) won’t grow where I am as well as loblolly, so I’m stuck with loblolly although I plan on increasing spacing to 15 x 15 feet.



I’ve used pines many times as cover for wildlife.  This strategy works fine!  In fact, excellent cover can be created by using a 15’ x 15’ spacing, suppressing unwanted hardwoods such as sweetgum with the appropriate herbicide, and thinning the stand as soon as economically practical.  The key to creating cover in pine plantations is to ensure sunlight reaches the soil.  Not only can cover be created, but if managed correctly, a good forage base that is drought resistant can be maintained by using the correct combinations of herbicides and prescribed fire.

I often create food plots in the thinned rows of pines.  This creates fabulous wildlife cover that is relatively easy to hunt.  You might watch GDTV 19, Food Plots in Thinned Pine Stands, where I visit with Bobby Watkins and show a mature pine stand managed as I’ve described above.

Growing Deer together,