That's the best thing my place has going for it. The closest ag is 2 miles away & requires crossing a not insignificant river. On our side of the river, there are no crops for 5 miles. Big steep hills with mature hardwoods. Aside from my place, the most anybody else in the immediate area does is set up feeders when season nears.I am always of the mindset when planning to provide something they don't have
That depends...there are a couple varieties, the Japanese is the most invasive and aggressive, but in my experience it is also the fastest growing and most desirable to deer. When I started planting it in the manner that I detailed above, I have certainly found it to be reasonable to manage. Although it grows fast and is rather invasive, most of that growth takes place in and throughout the treetop. The vines overtake the top and as you see them starting to spread a quick pruning and you're good. Keep in mind, while it grows quickly, you are still planning on a few years before any pruning is needed when planted in a dead-fall. Wildlife will spread it as they visit, but have never had an issue with it being out of control because of that....if you research though, you will find severl mentions of it spreading in that way (birds, bees, mammal droppings, etc..) I would not plant it in my yard or garden, I'd choose a different variety.Is it reasonably controllable?
This has been my experience as well. Apple trees are much more work and not as disease resistant. I have Kieffer and Doc's special pears and the deer love them both.I’d recommend pears or crabapples over apple trees. Straight up apple trees are harder to care for. Ask me how I know. I know you asked about apples but sharing my experience.
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Enterprise and Empire are great choices...don't need much attention once in the ground. I've witnessed too many break the bank, but not follow-up with the necessary elbow grease, resulting in money down the drain. Chinese chestnuts are the same way after they are established at say 3-6' all. I define established as at least 2 winters under their belt IN their permanent location.
Some here know that I have worked hard to help re-establish the American Chestnut. I have successfully grown 9 from seeds (what a chore - started with 80)...all 9 are roughly 3 feet tall now and planted in what I am hoping are their forever locations. I worked with an Eagle Scout and the West Chester University's Ag Department to help establish a small grove on the University research property and transplanted 30 to locations in South Coventry Township. There was a time when "the Coventry Townships (North, South, East), and West Vincent townships were littered with these trees and to be fair, some still exist in locations and people have no idea what they are. The blight came through and wiped many of them out and folks began replacing them with the Chinese which is almost fool proof. The differences are subtle and unless your looking for it specifically many will miss the distinction.
A friend is working to establish a grove of Dunstan's on his farm in KS...he has really done the work and I suspect in 2022 will be reaping some of the first rewards of his labor. I won't tell you what he paid, because you just might throw-up in your mouth ($5 per tree)...he found them on clearance, but did have to drive several hours to pick them up.
If I were to plant any one tree with the sole purpose of improving hunting (and yes, here are NUMEROUS health/nutrition advantages to a chestnut as well), it would be a chestnut tree, most likely Dunstan or Chinese, only because of their tolerance to blight, soil deficiencies, and temp swings....once established deer will travel through corn fields, apple orchard, grape vineyards to feed on them....I had the distinct pleasure, for 23 years, to have access to a unique property with two separate groves (6 trees in one, 9 in another)....it was about as amazing experience as you can have...took more than dozen folks to that property to get their first deer with a bow and almost every single one, scored their first trip out. We had a "kill" stand in the back grove in one of the Chestnuts, was a 2-man ladder, that was about a close to a guarantee at a shot under 20 yards as you could get. As the trees go older, they started dropping earlier in Sept, but in the regulated WMU's the season is open then....when the nuts are on the ground, all of the critters come out...