Soft Mast Plants

soft mast plants for deer and wildlife management

Pears

pears for deer and wildlife managementPears are one of the most long-lived fruit trees and one is likely to see “wild” pear trees still fruiting around many old farmsteads that have been long abandoned. There are three basic types of pear trees in the U.S. The European pear( Pyrus communis), because of its extreme susceptibility to fire blight, is generally grown in the Pacific Northwest. These dessert pears account for the vast majority of commercially produced pears. They include such well known cultivars as Bosc, Bartlett, and D’Anjou. The Asian pear or apple-pear (Pyrus pyrifolia), is a relative newcomer that is gaining popularity. Shinko, Chojuro, and Korean Giant cultivars are all Asian pears. The Oriental hybrids (P. pyres x pyrifolia) were developed to withstand fire blight, making them more suitable for growing in southern climates (which are conducive to fire blight). Moonglow, Warren, Orient, and Kieffer are all well known varieties. However, there are no pear varieties immune to fire blight.

The selection of Sanctuary Timber and Wildlife pears were made after several years of observation of parent plants where drop time, consistent bearing, and resistance to fire blight were determined. These selections have proven themselves on a wide-array of soil types and under varied environmental conditions.

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Crabapples

buy crabapples for deer and wildlife managementThese native trees/large shrubs can be found throughout the southern U.S. growing around field edges, borders of forests, and fence rows. These small trees seldom exceed 25 feet in height and left unmanaged will form thickets which are excellent shelters for ground-dwelling birds such as quail. While preferring slightly moist sites, we have observed these trees doing quite well on sandier soils. While shade-tolerant, best yield will be with 6 hours or more sun.

The pink to white blooms in spring result in fall fruits utilized by whitetail deer, quail, turkey, raccoons, and many birds. Our selections obtained from wild native parents have been selected for the fruit to drop much later than most, making them excellent attractors during the early (Oct.-Nov.) hunting season.

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Apples

buy apples for deer and wildlife managementTrees of the genus Malus  were perhaps the earliest to be cultivated and manipulated by man. This has resulted in over 7,500 known cultivars worldwide. The oldest record of an apple orchard in North America dates from 1625 and was located near present day Boston. Apple trees are vegetatively propagated by budding or grafting the desired fruit wood onto selected rootstock to ensure the fruiting characteristics of the parent.  The rootstock selected will determine the final size of the tree, among other traits. Since most apple trees are self-sterile, they must be cross-pollinated with another apple tree to bear consistently. Crabapples work well as pollinators, and one should be planted with each group of apples planted.

Apples can be grown successfully across most of the U. S., but care should be taken to select apple varieties acclimated to your area, especially in the southern states. The wildlife apples offered here are generally heirloom apples with a long history of production in the Southeast and are late-droppers, usually maturing October-December.

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Persimmons

buy persimmon for deer and wildlife managementThe persimmon is a small to medium-sized deciduous small tree or large shrub that grows in open woods, old fields and forest edges from Connecticut west through southern Ohio to eastern Kansas and south to Florida and Texas. The fruit of the common persimmon, in many areas of its range, is one of the favorite “ice-cream” foods of white-tailed deer.  We offer persimmons that mature at different rates giving you sweet, palatable fruit from October into December.

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Other Soft Mast Species

buy other soft mast plants for deer and wildlife managementWe have a variety of other soft mast species to complement our assortment of crabapples, pears, persimmons, and apples. These species include dogwoods, Autumn olives, Chickasaw plums, and more. Click below to learn more about each product or to place an order.

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