Planting fruit trees to attract whitetails

Written by TheDeerwhisperer on Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Planting fruit trees to attract whitetails

Experienced hunters know that it pays to hunt the whitetail's belly.

If you're a hunter who thinks long-term and has dependable access to a piece of private land, consider planting some apple trees to create a permanent, Fall whitetail-attracting area.

Spring is the perfect time to plant apple trees--the soil is wet enough to dig easily, and you usually can count on getting plenty of rain.

Plant your trees out in an open meadow or a field, but near a woodline.  Apple trees need sunshine 80% of the day to grow well.  If put in among other trees they just won't prosper.  On the other hand, if you like to hunt from a tree stand, you'll need someplace to set it up.  The ideal spot for planting puts the apples in the open and the hunter in the woods.

A good plantation can be anywhere from 5 to 20 trees, depending on your budget.  The trees should be spaced about 15 feet apart.  Talk to the nursery people about the best varieties for your location* and about proper planting procedure.  Make a day of the planting--you'll need time to dig good holes and mix up some good topsoil and peat moss to give the trees a good start.

Keep an eye on the rainfall for the first month, and be prepared to get out there and soak the young trees, if necessary.  This will help them establish good roots in the new spot.

To speed the the trees' growth and fruit production, fertilize them once each year, early in Spring. Never fertilize in the heat of Summer--you could burn the trees.

Starting a small orchard is a lot of work, and it can be expensive.  Consider partnering with hunting buddies or outdoors-loving family members.

If you're patient and plant and fertilize properly, in three to seven years you'll have your own apple grove that will attract large numbers of Fall whitetails.  They just love apples!

* some apple varieties that are recommended for USDA zones 6 and 7 (much of the U.S. eastern states) are: Arkansas Black, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith.

About The Author

A master of finding and harvesting big New Jersey whitetails with 5 NJ Pope & Youngs to...

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