Disking for Wildlife

Do not damage native prairie remnants with disking

Dense sod or vegetation is detrimental to wildlife feeding and movement and can be improved by light disking. The technique involves disking strips through a field during fall or spring.

  • Strips should be 30 to 75 feet wide.
  • Strips should be separated from each other by an area of undisturbed vegetation twice as wide as the disked strip.
  • Disked strips should follow the contour of the field to prevent erosion.
  • The disking should be 2 to 4 inches deep and leave 50 percent residue remaining on the ground surface.
  • Disking should be done between October 1 and March 30.

The disked areas will produce succulent forbs and legumes which attract insects and produce abundant seed, while the adjacent undisked areas will provide nesting and roosting cover.

One year later,

  • Disk a new strip of similar width in the adjacent, previously undisked area. This will leave another undisked strip of equal width.
  • Disk it one year later. This develops adjacent strips of vegetation of three different ages.

Light disking enhances habitat quality by releasing sod-bound grasses, reducing residue, creating bare ground, increasing insect populations and stimulating growth of desirable seed-producing plants.

Light disking provides more insects and desirable seed at a much lower cost than planting food plots and is an excellent way to enhance grassland habitat for bobwhite quail and other wildlife.

 

Related Content

CP33 Pays

Jan 02, 2006

Spring Strip-Disking for Quail

Mar 26, 2009

Property Reminders

Watch for the reddish orange blooms of the butterfly milkweed along roadsides and in diverse grasslands now through August.

Gray-headed coneflower is a great seed source for quail and good forage for livestock. It blooms now through September.

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