When it comes to putting in food plots to attract and hold deer, there are tons of options.Most of your decisions come down to what kind of equipment you have at your disposal, what’s the soil like and the amount of sunshine/precipitation. Finally, when do you want it to be most productive. I’ve helped put in a wide variety of food plots, but this year I decided to try something a little longer term. Fruit trees.
The main reason I haven’t gone this route in the past is primarily because I am leasing or hunting on land that I don’t own. This year we purchased a piece of property that we plan to build on and I would love to have deer come right into the yard someday. It’s always been my dream to have a deck overlooking an area where deer frequent and now I’m one step closer to making that happen.
We started off by planting six fruit trees - two apple, two pear and two plum trees. I did a little research before purchasing the trees, but honestly it was very easy to decide what to purchase as there are charts right by the trees showing what trees will pollinate one another. Eventually I’d love to have an entire orchard of fruit trees, but like anything you need to build your way up. We dug out the holes a little deeper than the actual pot and filled them back in with soil. We left a slight dip where the trees were planted so water would settle right over the tree. I also purchased fruit tree spikes that we inserted into the ground to help keep them healthy and growing. One of the most important aspects of planting fruit trees is keeping them heavily watered in the beginning. The next more important aspect is keeping deer away from them until they’re big enough to handle the abuse!
First, when it comes to water it can be very difficult for anyone planting fruit trees somewhere other than their home residence. For us since don’t currently live on the property, I needed to find a way to bring water in. As I was going through ideas I realized I already have the perfect solution. I use H2O Whole’s throughout my hunting areas and these are basically a 150-gallon reservoir that helps anyone create a waterhole anywhere on their property. They’re extremely tough and even have a ramp so critters can get out if they happen to fall in. To fill the water hole, they have a product called an IV Bag that you can put in the bed of your truck or UTV and carry out 100-gallons of water. This is what I’ve always used to fill the tanks, but what a perfect solution to also water our fruit trees! So, with a few attachments purchased at our local farm supply store we hooked up a hose out of the IV bag and were able to water all the trees with water from our house.
Next, came the issue of deer eating our trees down before they’re ready. I’ve read how hard deer can be on the trees and figured we could go with a fence for now or try some of the sprays. The first night we planted the trees and didn’t have the spray along so we figured we could put it out the next day. Well, the local deer population didn’t waste any time! In one evening, they came through and ate tons of leaves and any small apples that were on the trees. Literally in a matter of 12-hours the deer had made a mess of trees. We quickly mixed the solution together for the deer spray and put it on the trees. Luckily, they had not been damaged too badly and the leaves grew back within a short period of time.
Overall this was a wonderful experience to take the kids out, plant trees, and ultimately get a food plot going that will keep giving year after year. Not only will deer be able to enjoy fruit down the road, but we will too! If you’re looking for a way to attract wildlife to a specific location near your home entertain the idea of fruit trees. They’re an affordable way to attract deer and put in without any big equipment needed!