The Press Room
Editor’s Note: Today many Mossy Oak Properties’ folks have discovered the wisdom of planting fruit and nut trees for wildlife and humans. To have more game on your property, you can plant green fields and wildlife openings that will feed deer, turkey and other game for a season or two. Too, you can plant fruit and nut trees that will continue to feed wildlife for a lifetime.
An elderly hunter once told me about times past when the woods held abundant deer and turkey and hunters didn't have to take their lunches with them when they went hunting. "Back in the days before the Great Depression of the 1930s, the woods were full of food. You'd find apple, pear, plum, pecan and walnut trees as well as blackberries and every kind of fruit and nut you could imagine in the woods. The members of our hunting club were required to plant five fruit or nut trees every year on our club's property, which meant we had plenty of food for the animals and the humans. But then when the Depression came, the hungry people from the cities came to the woods to get the fruit and nuts there. They didn't ask the landowners' permission but simply trespassed, left cattle gates down and broke down fences. To protect the land, farmers cut down all the fruit and nut trees. Our hunting club has started the old tradition again. We ask each member to plant five fruit or nut trees on the property we hunt each year, and once again we're seeing the game come back. We have squirrels, rabbits, deer and turkey and plenty of food in the woods for us to eat just like in the old days."
Depending on the area where you live, you can plant a wide variety of trees and shrubs that will produce food for wildlife year after year. If each member of your family plants one or two fruit or nut trees a year, and this practice becomes a family tradition, the amount of wildlife on your property can grow tremendously. You'll also greatly increase the value of your property. Here's a list of trees and shrubs that will help you grow wildlife. You can check a planting map for the zone where you live. Some of the best trees to grow include: Allegheny Chinkapin, American Beautyberry, Arkansas Crab Apple, Autumn Olive, Bald Cyprus, Black Cherry, Blackberry, Burr Oak, Callaway Crab Apple, Cherrybark, Chickasaw Plum, Chinese Chesnut, Crab Apple, Elderberry, Honeysuckle, Kieffer pear, Live Oak, Mayhaw, Nutall Oak, Overcup Oak, Persimmon, Strawberry bush (Heart's A Burstin'), Sawtooth Oak, Shumard Oak, Southern Crab Apple, Swamp Chesnut, White Oak, Wild Plum, Willow Oak, Yates Apple. For a map of planting zones and what plants will grow in your area, visit http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html.