Timing is Everything

As the old saying goes, timing is everything. For those wildlife managers that have started their cool season discing, kudos! For those that have not, it’s time to make plans and check the oil in the tractor.

Native Sunflower Resulting from Fall Discing

Fall or cool-season discing is the cheapest way to supplement the Bobwhite diet. Of course, most wildlife benefits from this as the forbs (weeds) produced offer much more nutrition than the dormant grasses and dead warm-season weeds you disk under. With the recent rain, now is a great time to lightly turn the soil and jump-start Mother Nature.

How much to disk and where can be as simple as discing along roadways as shown above, to detailed disk stripping based on preferred soils. A recent consulting job I did mapped out the better soils on the ranch, then recommended discing 25% of those areas now, another 25% after January 15. The reason for that is, some forbs, like the native sunflower sprout below, come up earlier than others. Splitting the season gives you the chance of getting two different responses to your efforts, sunflower now, croton later. At any rate, stop all discing by March 1 in South Texas and try to avoid discing the same ground two years in a row. That may exhaust the seed bank and is the reason for the 25% rule above.

Native sunflower sprout in December.

A good general reference on this subject can be found at the link below. I know, it’s from Arkansas, but it’s still good info.

https://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/land/habitats/oak_prairie/habitat_management/

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