May 10, 2015

Unique And Special Apple Trees For Deer

By Steve Jordan

When I first saw the advertisement for Deer Candy Trees™ and Deer Rut Trees™, my first thought was how could there be a sweeter, more desirable apple than what I have in my little apple orchard?  I have fifteen mature apple trees with a nice variety.  All of them were planted back in 1986 with a few new additions through the years.

I have always been curious with advertisements of new products that I know nothing about.  Whether it is a new food plot variety or a gadget on the market that got my attention, I usually have to buy it or do some research on it. 

WOW, did I get an education on researching the Deer Candy and Deer Rut Trees!  Here are some of the things that I learned from Bob at Wolfrath’s Nursery located between New London and Hortonville, Wisconsin.  First of all, Bob has been deer hunting for 50+ years.  He is a conservationist and has enhanced wildlife on his property from day one.  His food plots are irrigated and fenced in until the plants are established enough to withstand grazing from the deer (don’t you wish we all had this set up?).  Here are some of the reasons Bob trademarked his Deer Candy Tree and Deer Rut Tree

  • Many varieties of apple trees that you can purchase today will only bear fruit every other year.  Like many of us, Bob thinks it is important for our apple trees to bear fruit each and every year.  We would like to draw deer in every year.
  • Bob’s Trees start out mainly with crab apple tree root stocks.  These root systems are deep and wide, thus adding stability to the tree and enabling the tree to grab and utilize more nutrients than a normal apple tree.
  • Different varieties of crab apples and regular apples can be grafted onto the same tree with the large root system.  The variety of apples on one tree allows for apples to ripen and drop at different times between September and March.
  • These trees grow from 12 to 25 feet tall and drop loads of fruit.  Fencing can be removed much sooner than most apple trees on the market today. 
  • These trees can be planted as far north as Zone 2 while most other varieties will die in that climate.
  • These trees will live a long time.  Many of the varieties that you buy today are dwarfs and short-lived. 
  • Most of these varieties use virus free stock which pays off in the future for your tree’s survival, especially in stressed years.
  • Most trees purchased in the 5-7 feet or the 6-8 feet height will bear fruit the same year as planted.
  • These trees have been bred and tested for the last forty years in a variety of harsh conditions.  The stock of today is superior to many on the market.
  • Some very large trees are available for some landowners that want to have an instant fruit drop.  These trees are dug and wrapped in a wire basket.  They will weigh approximately 300 pounds.
  • Bob’s Trees normally do not have to be trimmed and sprayed and do fine on their own.
  • There is a 60% guarantee on these trees for 2 years after purchase.  Very few trees have been returned over the years due to the hardy stock.
  • Bob will customize your trees to your climate.  The northwoods will want varieties that will do well up there and the southern areas may want some different varieties.  Varieties can be grafted onto one tree or the entire tree can be of one variety upon request.
  • These apple trees look unique in the spring with similar but slightly different blossoms.  Because of different varieties grafted onto one tree, the fall is when you really notice the different colored apples and the different sizes.
  • The Deer Rut Tree grows to 20 feet high once mature and can drop 1,000 sweet and highly desirable apples designed to start falling during our rut season, and continue falling all the way into March.
  • Grafted trees are kept at the nursery one or more years to heal before being put on the market.
  • The Deer Rut and Deer Candy Trees are both good pollinator trees with very sweet blossoms to attract bees to your area.  The bees will pollinate other trees and food plot plants during the growing season. 
  • The Deer Rut Tree can be grafted with the Deer Candy Tree for an earlier partial drop and a later drop, or both.
  • The Deer Rut and Deer Candy Trees are registered with the U.S. government.

Tying in apple trees with food plots can be like comparing milk and cookies, ducks and water, or muskrats and cattails.  Well… you get the idea.  Good hardy apple trees can be a huge draw to any hunting property.  Call Bob at Wolfrath’s Nursery and let him customize trees for your property.  His phone number is 920-716-2988.  Also, see his advertisement on page ____ of this issue. 

While investigating Deer Candy and Deer Rut Trees, I also learned of another way trees can be of help with food plots.  Some of our food plots are visible from roadways.  These food plots tend to get shined at night and tempt poachers.  A temporary solution would be to plant corn or some other tall crop running parallel with the road to block the view of the main food plot.  A long term solution is to plant pines or some other fast growing conifer trees.  Bob has 5-7 foot potted pine trees that can be staggered in 2-3 rows for an immediate hedgerow.  Or you can plant 3-foot potted trees the same way and plant your corn or other tall crops for 2-3 years until the pines block the food plot by themselves.

Have a great spring and early summer.