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Old 01-21-2003, 09:12 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2002
Location: iowa,saskatchewan,michigan
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Default red cedar trees (security cover)?

hi everyone,i am looking for a place to purchase red cedars preferably 3 to 4 year olds.also has any body ever tried to transplant these trees?if they can be trans planted with a shovel that would probably be a good way to get some going,there is no shortage of them on the pastures around the goal is to plant around five acres of them right in the middle of the farm,i figure in around 5 to 10 years a bruiser will call this home,mature timber just doesnt get it,in one side and out the other!what is your favorite security cover?any info would be helpful,thanks Tim
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Old 01-22-2003, 06:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: red cedar trees (security cover)?

Never tried to transplant a cedar, but the way they grow like weeds I suppose it could be done with smaller ones. Deer around here like cedars, but also really like wild plum thickets. I would think if you let some fruit trees go they would produce some cover and food source in addition to cedars.
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Old 01-22-2003, 06:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: red cedar trees (security cover)?

Hey, TK. I have transplanted probably fifty or so at my farm. I think I only lost two of them the rest are thriving. Exellent trees for cover. I am using these as a wind break. You are right they are easy to find and also very easy to transplant.
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Old 01-22-2003, 07:47 AM   #4
Thunder Ridge Extreme 1
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Default Re: red cedar trees (security cover)?

tk, I transplanted 50 this past spring and never even watered them in and I can only see two or three that may not make it!! Spade works great!! Later, T$
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Old 01-22-2003, 08:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: red cedar trees (security cover)?, cedars are easily transplanted as the others have stated...depending on where your ground is, you may be able to contact the local county conservation board about taking some cedars out of a wildlife area that is managed as a prairie...some (not all) are more than happy to get rid of these "weed" trees and prefer their removal by hand rather than through fire...another source may be the local Pheasants Forever chapter...they should be able to point you in the right direction...

...all that said here are my opinions on cedars...they can be great habitat for several Iowa game animals including deer...though, it seems to me after they have been there for 20+ years their benefits become reduced greatly as the bottom branches begin to shade out and die...the thicker the grove the sooner this begins to happen...the best way to avoid this is to make sure you plant your cedars some distance apart to allow for full sun and each tree's growth also it can be a good idea to thin them out every once in a while (maybe just once every 5-10 years)...good luck!!
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Old 01-22-2003, 09:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: red cedar trees (security cover)?


Hershy hit the nail on the head. Very easy to to transplant and they will thrive. They will also spread on their own rapidly. Make sure and mix in other type of trees and cover. In my mature cedar patch the deer tend to use it most with bad weather or heavy snow, but prefer thicker areas with downed trees and heavy underbrush for secure bedding sites. I wish you were closer to SE Iowa because I could offer you endless naturally spreading seedlings until you were tired of the shovel.

Good luck with your habitat improvement [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

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Old 01-22-2003, 09:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: red cedar trees (security cover)?


Good idea. Whitetails love red cedar for bedding and thermal protective cover during winter, especially.

However, what you describe is a lot of work! And expensive if you must purchase stock of that size! You would find it much, much cheaper and much, much easier if you elected to plant bare root seedlings over older, larger stock. Just a thought.

You would want to plant several hundred trees per acre to ensure a good dense stand (400 - 800 bare root seedlings or, say, 300 - 500, 2-3 year old trees). Keep in mind, also, that eastern red cedar is very slow growing.

There are other habitat changes you might consider to attract big bucks to your area. I don't know if the 5 acre area you speak of is presently forested. If it is, you could clear out a 5 acre area in the center and simply let the area resprout into new growth. The open area will grow in super thick within a year or two and will really be attractive to all deer, as both a bedding and a feeding area.

You could also put in a 5 acre food plot. Depending upon food supplies in adjacent areas, and time of year, having a constant and deer-attractive food source might be your best means of getting big bucks to hang around your property.

If you are strictly looking for cover, and not a food source, you might opt to plant switchgrass. I will assure you that this 5-8 foot tall vegetation is a favorite bedding area of big bucks and does too! Deer simply love bedding in this thick protective stuff and it’ll hold them in all but extreme cold and heavy snow. An excellent option, too, would be to plant a food plot right along the edge of, or in the middle of, a few acres of switchgrass. It takes 3 years or so to get a really good stand of switchgrass growing but it is worth every moment of the wait!

Cost share programs may be available for some of these projects. Contact your local NRCS for info on that. Also, your local conservation groups (Pheasants Forever, NWTF, etc.,) can help with food plot and native grassland establishment.

Good luck with your habitat work!

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Old 01-22-2003, 10:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: red cedar trees (security cover)?


You've gotten a lot of great advice. Red cedar is one of my favorite cover species in southern Iowa. I've also had great luck transplanting them. They seem to almost always make it.

I've also gotten them from the state nursery and planted thousands, bare root, either by hand in forest openings or with a tractor pulled tree planter in open ground.

As mentioned above, switch grass is also a great cover provider. I use a tall aggressive variety called 'cave in rock'. It is great for cover and screening.

A third cover plant in southern Iowa is shingle oak. They grow quite fast for an oak tree and produce small acorns utilized by lots of different wildlife species including whitetail deer. One of the things I like the most is that they hold their leaves until March of the following spring for the first 10-20 years of their lives. The down side is that they are about impossible to buy bare root and I have trouble collecting acorns because the turkey, deer and other wildlife clean them up so fast.

The other place I think lot of people miss an opportunity to provide good security cover is through TSI, timber stand improvement. With TSI you can simultaneously create brush piles, increase understory cover and food, encourage oak regeneration (they need sunlight), increase acorn production and alter the species composition of your forest to favor wildlife.

It is too involved to explain it all here but your district forester can provide more information. You can learn a lot on a walk in the woods with a knowledgeable person.

On another thread (Iowa Habitat Workshop) Tony posted info on a habitat workshop in Ames, Iowa. One of the seminars is 'TSI for deer and turkey'. I'm not sure where you are from but this is close for people in central Iowa.

A key point for all is that there is much you can do to make your land better for wildlife. Personally, I enjoy creating cover, planning and planting food plots and other wildlife friendly work just as much as I enjoy hunting, and that's a lot!

Good Luck,
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Old 01-22-2003, 11:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: red cedar trees (security cover)?

There are programs available through the IDNR forestry and wildlife biologists that will pay part or all of the costs for habitat improvements. Also, some groups like Pheasants Forever have programs to help with the costs of habitat improvement. You should call your regional IDNR forester and wildlife biologist and have them visit your acreage and let you know what programs are available that could help you.
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Old 01-22-2003, 06:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: red cedar trees (security cover)?

TK, sounds like every thing we have been talking about is headed in the right direction. You cant go wrong with any of these suggestions! My first choice is still the " cave in rock", that combined with food plots of all kinds will draw and hold deer. Old Buck, I dito your satisfaction on the habitat and food program. I get almost as fired up in the spring as I do on opening day! I have planted over 25,000 tree's (all with a shovel) in the past seven years. My first year tree's, mostly White Pine are now 8' to 10' tall. For me it's a yearly event and only gets better with time. Also, carefully placed food plots can change deer movement to fit stand sites and wind directions. Its all about effort! Good luck
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