Wildlife Habitat and Food

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by bigandy, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. bigandy

    bigandy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    Has anyone ever considered branching out into wildlife habitat development. I was thinking of planting food plots for deer, turkey, and quail. I was also considering clearing brush for shooting lanes for deer hunting and anything people might want. Has anyone ever made any money at this. Also considering a wildflower and GrowNative Business.
  2. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Went to a seminar a couple of years ago and there's a UC Davis project encouraging farmers to "deadhead" some of their acreage near borders, streams, canals, etc. (Quite a few impressive before/after slides.) According to them the farmers who buy into the program don't lose much in overall production but a tremendous increase in quail, doves, fox, etc. is realized. Some farmers swear that it's "just like it was when I was a kid growing up" and they're trying to save it for their grandkids.
  3. leadarrows

    leadarrows LawnSite Senior Member
    from N/A
    Messages: 925

    Yes we have. Were practicing on 2 acres now. My wife is really into it. The county we live in has a five acre law that restricts you to the purchase of 5 acres or more of undeveloped lots. We hope to encourage owners to let us help them develop habitat instead of grass on those lots. We started a test plot on 2 of our acres 2 years ago and have learned a bunch but were still not ready to take this show on the road just yet. We tried to smother out the thistles with other plant life wit very limited success. I'M afraid were going to have to resort to round-up. Something we expect to encounter some resistance too with some of the customers we believe would be interested in this sort of thing.
    3 years ago in this 1st picture it was all just grass. This is part of our back yard. The second picture I'll post is of our 2 acres that was a hayfield 2 years ago.

    Back yard.jpg
  4. leadarrows

    leadarrows LawnSite Senior Member
    from N/A
    Messages: 925

    You can see the problem were having with the thistles. It's really too bad there such a problem The GoldFinches love them.

  5. leadarrows

    leadarrows LawnSite Senior Member
    from N/A
    Messages: 925

    Were also trying to attract elephant ears by making these cement decoys.


  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Leadarrows,The reason Goldfinchs love those thistles so much is because the thistle duft or fluff is THE only material that they use to line and build their nests with.They need it to reproduce.

    If you hand pull before they go to seed and do this for several years you will notice a huge
    difference in the amount of them.Useing Roundup kind of defeats your purpose does it not?
  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Wildlife habitat is a cottage industry here. Whenever someone wants to make improvements on their property within the jurisdiction of the local conservation commissions they have to mitigate by giving up some of their lawn or other use of their property to have it planted with native plants. This is a response to wetland laws.

    It is more complicated than just sticking in native plants. Engineers, surveyors, and environmental consultants. All the wetlands and their buffers have to be accurately delineated and put on a plan. How much planting has to be calculated according to the resource area and the rules for them. A complicated application has to be filed with the state and local wetland agencies. Then a hearing and probably revisions and more hearings. Finally they give you an Order of Conditions which is pretty much a set of rules and standards that you need to meet when doing the job. It is recorded on the property owners deed. In the end, you have to get a Certificate of Compliance by having it inspected and being accepted. Then that gets recorded on the deed.

    It is a lot of hassle and not a lot of landscapers or designers want to deal with it. It is getting to be a bigger and bigger industry as there is more and more regulation. People can not make improvements near wetlands without people that can do these services. There is money to be made and not a whole lot of choices for property owners.

    ... it is not hunting habitat, but I like that idea as well. The big difference is that no one is forced to pay sopmeone to create hunting habitat. Advocating hunting is not done by those that control regulation in Massachusetts. We are crawling with huge coyotes in every neighborhood. They were never here in history until the 1980's. You have all these people worrying about their pets and their kids. Can they get relief by shooting them? Nope. But they have to make more habitat for them if they want to expand the deck for their kids to play on. Go figure.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,134

    thistles. The GoldFinches love them
    i have an area i let it grow just for the birds
  9. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    "If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?"

    Because she's soooooo plastic?
  10. leadarrows

    leadarrows LawnSite Senior Member
    from N/A
    Messages: 925

    "Leadarrows,The reason Goldfinches love those thistles so much is because the thistle duft or fluff is THE only material that they use to line and build their nests with.They need it to reproduce."

    Already know this. That's why we leave some but they are prohibited plants in this state. We were sent a notice... which I expected... I told my wife it would happen.. to control them or the county would and then send us a bill. You don't pay the bill they put your land up for auction and sell it to satisfy the bill. When I told my wife that her thistle patch would get us in trouble she didn't believe me. If I had insisted we get rid of them she would have been mad at me. So I waited till the county sent us a letter and the county agent stopped by to talk to us. When he told me I had to get rid of them I told him we didn't want too and why and that he would have to tell my wife, because I wasn't going too. LOL. He looked really surprised then stated that know one had ever said no before. LOL As you stated it's the only thing Gold Finches use for there nests. We were even ready for him with a copy of another law that states that during nesting season you cant disturb there habitat. He wasn't aware of that and we were allowed to let it stand that year. But the next year he was back with more complaints from area farmers and this time he came before nesting season so we had to mow it down. It's control the thistles or we can't let the habitat thrive. So were growing a thicket around our property to hide the thistles. LOL It's just going to take some time. Not to worry I have a feeling when I spray the thistles I may miss some. :)
    Pulling them all by hand ....there is 2 acres of them. I have to work sometime. LOL

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