Editor’s Note: Jesse Raley is the marketing manager for Mossy Oak’s Nativ Nurseries. Good wildlife management and increasing wildlife on the properties you own or hunt on involves much more than just planting green fields. To have more wildlife on your property, consider planting fruit trees and nut trees and various types of grasses and shrubs that produce food and cover for wildlife. We’ve asked Raley to tell us why we need to consider planting trees, shrubs and native grasses to increase food and habitat for wildlife. By starting now, you can decide where and when to plant additional food and habitat for this fall.
I'm often asked, “What are the most-popular nut and fruit trees that Mossy Oak’s Nativ Nurseries sell?” The sawtooth oak is an extremely-popular nut tree, and some other hybrid nut trees we offer also have gained in popularity. Many people really love white oak trees.
The best fruit tree is the Wild “Deer” Pear. We also offer soft mass like wild blueberries and different types of plum trees. A real favorite has been the paw paw - the largest fruit that’s native to America. Native Americans ate the paw paw fruit. Until the white man arrived in this country, there weren’t any apples, oranges and other types of fruit. The paw paw’s taste is much like a cross between a mango and a banana, and they hang on trees like bananas. Today paw paws often are hard to grow. They like moist soils and prefer to grow close to creeks and wetlands. Most people never have heard of Paw Paws or even seen them, but Nativ Nurseries sells them. I don’t know why they’re not found in more abundance and nearly have vanished from the landscape. Of course, you have to develop a taste for them. They’re not real juicy like a big red Delicious apple.
We also have a number of thornless blackberries, raspberries and other berries that wildlife love. We have a bush called a strawberry bush or the ice cream plant, but the true name is hearts a bursting. You hardly ever see it growing in the wild, because just about every time this plant puts out a leaf the deer eat it. To keep the plant growing and attracting deer, we advise our customers to buy chicken wire and create a cylinder about 4-feet tall and 2-feet wide. Then plant the strawberry bush inside this wire cage. This way, the strawberry bush can become established as it puts on leaves, without the deer destroying it by feeding on the leaves. If the wire isn’t put over the plant, the deer will eat the plant all the way down to the ground and kill it. This plant is so popular that we have some customers who will plant an acre of it on their lands.
The thornless blackberry is another plant that’s often overlooked, but the blackberry has a tremendous amount of vitamins and nutrients that the deer need as winter is approaching. The deer will eat the leaves off the blackberry bushes as well as the berries.
For help with your property, call 662-494-4326.