Good Perennials for cover

ilhunter

New member
I'm looking for some advice on perennials to plant for winter cover. I have a long creek bed that is too narrow to plant any anual food plots in but I'd like to plant sort of perennial grass for thick winter cover.

Currently the creek has quit a few willow trees that will need to be removed as well as some multiflower rose. the multiflower rose can stay but I plan to remove the trees so that lower ground cover can be sustained.

Any advice will be appreciated.
 

oldandnew

New member
I appreciate the multiflora rose. It's public enemy #1 in most states. But quail love it, eat the berries, holed up in bitter weather. We spent 20 years getting rid of multiflora, incidently we got rid of quail too! Pheasants like it as well. it's hard to hunt, so are blackberries. Try bushbrush, wild bush honeysuckle along stream banks. If you can get gamma grass in the basin it's great. It might take a while to get it going. Need moisture and sunshine at the soil.
 

Prairie Drifter

Well-known member
Your post is a bit vague on what type of planting you want, grass, forb, woody. If it's grass, stay with the clump grasses, heavy on little bluestem and sideoats gramma; less switch grass, big bluestem, and indian grass. If it's forbs, you may want to check with your local NRCS office for locally adapted species. Maximillian sunflower should be on the list as with giant and western ragweed. By all means on all the categories, PLANT ONLY NATIVE SPECIES. Don't import a problem that will crawl away and infect the neighbors. As for woody species, NRCS again. Check on sandhill plum, american plum, fragrant sumac, buck brush, golden currant, and chokecherry.
 

ilhunter

New member
thanks for the input guys. Sorry if I was vague. I was looking for advice on grasses. I will look into the ones that you both suggested.
 

UGUIDE

New member
I'm looking for some advice on perennials to plant for winter cover. I have a long creek bed that is too narrow to plant any anual food plots in but I'd like to plant sort of perennial grass for thick winter cover.

Currently the creek has quit a few willow trees that will need to be removed as well as some multiflower rose. the multiflower rose can stay but I plan to remove the trees so that lower ground cover can be sustained.

Any advice will be appreciated.

whats adjacent to the creekbed? how wide an area do you have to work with.
 

ilhunter

New member
crop fields are next to the creek bed; rotating between corn, soybeans, and winter wheat. Its not a very wide area, I'd have to guess 30 feet on both sides.

Last year I saw a few pheasants in the spring but I didnt see any during the winter. I'm thinking there's not enough thick cover for that time of year. Theres also a few rabbits around that I'd like to give some more cover to.
 

Prairie Drifter

Well-known member
If you're not too concerned with nesting in this cover and are focusing on thick winter cover, you probably could just plant Blackwell Switchgrass at about 5 pounds per acre and get by just fine. It will need some management along to not get too rank to provide benefit.
 

UGUIDE

New member
crop fields are next to the creek bed; rotating between corn, soybeans, and winter wheat. Its not a very wide area, I'd have to guess 30 feet on both sides.

Last year I saw a few pheasants in the spring but I didnt see any during the winter. I'm thinking there's not enough thick cover for that time of year. Theres also a few rabbits around that I'd like to give some more cover to.

who owns it? FCS will cost share a riparian buffer and you can plant either trees or grass. I think widths can be anywhere from 30-120'. It's one of the better CRP programs?
 

Prairie Drifter

Well-known member
If you want to work on the multiflora rose, I have been having good results using Spike herbicide pellets. They are easy to work with and don't involve a sprayer or mixing. Just toss a few under the drip line of the plant and the rainfall will take it to the roots. You will need to give the creek some distance.
 

UGUIDE

New member
Farm Credit Service - there is an office in every county. I assume you are in Illinois.

I did not do a lot of research but their is a lot of taxpayer money that wnats to help you put in a riparian buffer next to that creek. The program is call CP22 and this link will get you started.

You can go into your local FSA/NCRS office and get more info. Better yet, try contacting your local pheasants forever farm bill biologist who can assist you in planning the whole thing out. Looks like there is 2 in ILL

Brandon Beltz Dewitt, Logan, Mason, Mclean, Tazewell IL bbeltz@pheasantsforever.org (217) 853-0801
Brady Wooten Edwards, Wayne, White IL bwooten@pheasantsforever.org (217) 853-9621

https://www.pheasantsforever.org/page/fieldstaff.jsp

Good news is it is a continuous CRP program (CCRP) and there should be acres and dollars available NOW to do it. The payment and cost share of it is as excellent as any CRP program will be.

http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/newsRel...e=detail&item=pf_20120426_consv_en_arkil.html

Here good CCRP general info
http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/newsRel...tail&item=pf_20060601_consv_en_crpcsup06.html
 
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UplandHntr

Well-known member
Its my recommendation that if its a family farm, you talk to the family about widening it to 60 feet on each side. HUGE impact
 

ilhunter

New member
60 feet on both sides would be awesome but convincing my family, and the farmer, that its a good idea may be tough.
 

UGUIDE

New member
I like 180' on each side:D

We'll be there to help you with the closing arguments:D

Prepare your case......

Here are the highlights....$100/acre signing bonus....$100/acre cash rent for 15 years (guess on rate based on soil type)....and 90% cost share to implement the project habitat. 15 years of good huntin!
 

mnmthunting

Banned
180 feet is nice:cool: 200 feet would be better.:thumbsup:
We want pheasants right:cheers:
I say GO for it.:10sign:

Narrow buffers, really aren't all that pheasant friendly.
 

ilhunter

New member
uguide I am doing some research on the riparian buffer. I will let everyone know if that works out for me.

mnmthunting there is more cover around. This is just the area that I want to work on this year. I'll do my best to get it as wide as possible.

I think the property is more suited for quail. Like I said, I did see some pheasants in the area last year but there's been a quail population around since I was a kid. My plan this year is to improve the creek habitat and build a johnny house.
 

Prairie Drifter

Well-known member
So as not to confuse, ilhunter, if you are focusing on quail, you will want to go with a native grass mix with little bluestem and sideoats gramma being a dominant part of the mixture. You will also want to include a diverse mixture of forbs that are beneficial to quail. So you understand, the push for you to go wider is because your benefits increase with added width and predators are less successful as the width of the strip increases. You will find that the ground you are planning on planting is probably not highly productive for crop production due to the tree root influence extending out into the field. The grasses will be able to excell despite those conditions. You may find that some edge feathering by half-cutting some trees along the new grass/woodland edge will provide your quail with some important ground-level predator protection too.
 

mnmthunting

Banned
ilhunter, have You mentioned the species of the grasses now growing in the creek bed?
 
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