Ask the Quail Guy - Larry from Michigan
The other day I received an e-mail from Larry in Michigan. I replied to Larry, and he agreed that I could copy his e-mail and try his questions to the best of my abilities. I've never been to Michigan, but I hear it's nice.
Here's Larry's e-mail.
I have an 80-acre farm that hasn't been farmed in close to 40 years. Think old fields and woodlots, about 50-50. Twenty years ago, I planted several autumn olive and roselow crab borders. The autumn olive is set back every so often, and the escaped plants are kept mowed and sprayed. I've just started working on TSI projects a couple years ago.
I have five or six food plots planted. Some are corn and cowpeas, some grain sorghum, and some just native weeds, like ragweed. I planted my fire lines to cowpeas, which I'm sure the deer will get, but maybe it will keep them out of my plots. The powerline bisects our property from north to south. I lease the section on our property. I've carried out some light disking and am pleased to see blackberry canes expanding.
I would really like to do some burns to eliminate some of the dead grass and weeds, but I only have one field where that's feasible or safe without professional help. Most of the other grass areas are narrow or have pole-size trees growing. Disking or spraying may be the best option. I plan to build some kind of a three-point thatch rake this winter.
Most of the grasses are cool season: timothy, orchard grass and quack grass. I get a few clumps of red top and a small stand of broomsedge later in the summer. I do get some clover in the disked areas and have lots of golden rod. Panic grass is scattered. Vetch is fairly prominent is several areas. Bergamot blooms profusely and a few butterfly milkweed seem to be expanding.
I have lots of brushy cover: blackberry patches, dogwood thickets, young basswood stands, maple sprouts, sumac and oak saplings. One patch holds hazelnut, dogwood, oak and black raspberry canes. Walking around I see lots of smaller oaks that could be edge feathered. This past spring I cut three or four aspen copses that are