Getting Creative with Wildflower Plantings

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Travis Harmon (Creative Habitat) discuss the current state of the weather and why you are not behind if you have not started preparing for or developing a meadow or wildflowers mix on the landscape. Travis discusses the ideal time to seed plants to achieve success this time of year. Travis explains the importance of chemicals and burning. Travis identifies why it's extremely important to reduce weed competition early to support our warm season plantings.

Travis explains more about seed germination, the importance of a sterile seed bed and managing the existing seed bank is essential as more broadleaf plants develop over time. Jon discusses the method of planting a pollinator blend versus a meadow and how they should be laid out. Why soil samples are not the top of the list of activities for Travis when he is creating his habitat layouts.  

Travis and Jon discuss the use of herbicides and burning, and why discing is a bad idea to establish pollinator plantings. Travis explains the significance of moisture and timing of plantings to ensure plants take root and become well contacted with the soil. Travis explains the mix he would use to create habitat for bees and butterflies and attraction for deer. Travis details what seeds he would not plant in his blends. Jon discusses how to handle deer populations and their preferences as well as strategies to keep your deer away from specific areas.

Travis explains the minimal maintenance that is required to keep weeds at bay. Travis explains why mowing may be a better option than burning a wildflower area. Travis explains how wildflowers used in a hunting design can create separation from neighbors that may or may not align with hunting and harvest goals.  Travis suggests that listeners think more about transforming their yard and save money from less mowing.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to Maximize Your Hunt, the podcast dedicated to those who want the most out of their hunting property. This podcast explores land management habitat improvement and hunting strategies that will help you maximize your time in the field. Follow along as industry professionals that live and breathe whitetail deer, share their secrets to success.

And now the founder of Whitetail Landscape. Your host, John Teeter.

Jon Teater: Hi, I'm John Teeter, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximize Your Hunt. Welcome back. On my docket, I've been really busy. I've been cutting timber every week. I've been consulting here and there. My consulting season is about to pick up and I like consulting through the summer months and early, early fall periods into hunting season.

I've been changing it up and it allows me to work with my clients a little bit different. So I'm looking forward [00:01:00] to this summer. I'm cutting timber throughout the summer and I've got a bunch of big projects from turnkey projects, so that's my world. One thing I wanna mention to everyone, stay safe out there.

If you're out there cutting timber, take your time. This isn't a rush for a sport. Cutting timber is probably one of the most dangerous things you could do, and it's being knowledgeable and taking your time. I've been cutting with my partner and we've been trying to slow down and doing things real strategically, and I'd suggest everyone, I know time is precious and we don't have a lot of time to be in the woods for some of you all.

And I would just say step back and think through that. Just a tip and a word of advice for from my end. All right? So I'm excited cuz it's been a bit. Travis Harmon's back, and I don't know if you remember, but we we talked about pollinators and pollinator habitat and we built this whole kind of concept around the importance of it on the landscape.

Travis, are you on the line? Hey, I'm here, John. How you doing? Good, man. Hey, quick, why don't you buzz your company, [00:02:00] let us know, your business, and then we'll get into kind of some topics.

Travis Harmon: Sure. Sounds great. So I'm Travis owner of Creative Habitat. I'm more a wildlife habitat company based in Northern Indiana.

We're going into our sixth growing season. It's really my side gig. I have a full-time job. I'm a black belt at a medical device manufacturer 45 years old and, been in that corporate grind for. 20 plus years and was ready to prepare for partial retirement. So started Creative Habitat.

I've always had a passion for growing things. Wildlife, land management. I've been doing it on my own personal property for over 15 years and so thought I'd give 'em a hand at trying to turn my passion into a business and something that maybe I can retire into. It's been a great experience so far.

Do about 40%. Work around deer food plots Turkey hunting plots, wildlife focus for [00:03:00] hunters. And then the other 60% is really turned into wildflowers and pollinator habitat. A lot of excitement around, pollinators and the bee situation and carbon and green.

And the wild flower really fit into that gets the outside the hunting public involved with wildlife habitat. It's been a really good experience and it's gone over well. So we're hoping for another good season. We've got some great projects this year. Lots of different variety. Some U pick flower operations, a wedding venue.

Personal people in their backyards that are looking to make pollinator habitat, got some really cool food plot installations going on. So pretty excited for this year as long as the weather cooperates. And you know how that is, John? Just the weather patterns. So unpredictable. Last year was really rough.

We had a couple dry periods in June and then later in the fall, and I'm just hoping we slide by. It hasn't been a great spring so far. It's been real [00:04:00] slow. We've been cold wet had a warm spell started to get things fired up, but we went right back to cold. We had two hard frost in the last week.

I know farmers that have had beans and corn in the ground. For over two weeks now. No germination, soil's just too cold yet. So hoping it warms up soon. We're starting to do some spraying and preparing seed beds. Just seeded some clover yesterday ahead of the rain that we had today, but that was the first seed that I've dropped this year.

It's getting late, projects get stacked up, but we're anxious to get started.

Jon Teater: It's a lot of information and a lot of things that are going on in this weather pattern that, I'm conscious of it, it's greened up earlier. We would still be cutting clients right now.

I'm leaving and a couple days to go cut outta state and then I'm back and I'm actually cutting with another consultant the next week. And I struggle with this because today I got home. I did a bunch of stuff. I got home, I went over my land. I cut all my switch grass, I cut it right to the ground.[00:05:00]

I'm not gonna burn it. You can't burn in New York state, but at least you can't, without a permit. But there's some of the things that, that I was trying to get done today that I usually have a little more time for pruning trees, et cetera, that I, it's just, it's, everything's just blossomed out.

At the same point, you brought up another topic, I think going in the summer you're gonna have this erratic conditions and these erratic conditions create a lot of dry spells. And one of the topics I brought up previously is how to, I think I've talked about this a little bit, but drought proofing your property, thinking about.

How you collect water in the landscape. It's not as critical typically in my areas, but some of the areas in the south and the Midwest, thinking a little bit more on how you actually populate water in the landscape, that's a really important topic and probably a topic we're not gonna get into on this podcast.

But to think about, and on my own property right now, I'm planning this season around drought proofing my property, and there's a lot of concepts around that of how you collect water, how do you distribute on the landscape. And my partner, I've been talking a lot [00:06:00] about that. And then how to just add value and ensure that the plants that are on the landscape are doing well.

And there's just a lot of principles around that. So you're not getting into this and I'm talking about natural native plants in the landscape as well. So there's some theories around that. Some strategy that. That I'm starting to employ and share with clients, et cetera, on how to drop proof your property.

So new ideas, new concepts, think different things to think about. All right, so I want to get into some of your projects and when and where, because we've got our cool season grasses just flourishing right now in my particular area. A lot of people are trying to spray those out.

And the question comes into play. I didn't do anything last season. I'm coming into this year. What? What should I do? I wanna have pollinators or wildflowers. And you're thinking time of your contingent like. What are my steps? What are things that I should do to get this rolling?

Travis Harmon: Yeah, definitely.

With you're coming into the spring season with nothing prepared from last year. If you started some pre-work last year, you're in a great situation. But [00:07:00] it can still be done in the spring with a even a late spring start. When you're seeding, when you're talking wildflowers and Native seed.

It's not like beans and corn. There's no rush to get it in the ground, especially when it's perennial seed. Because once that's established, you know it's gonna come back year after year. And it annuals. Yeah, annuals got a specific growing season, but there's nothing wrong with starting perennial perennials in the middle of summer.

Even into the fall. So I would say if you're starting fresh this spring, take your time in preparing the seed bed. Don't get too anxious just because you see farmers in the field putting cash crops in. I would suggest you you're looking at a June when you're starting to seed in those types of situations.

The worst thing you can do is rush. Getting your seed on, work the soil till it do what farmers doing that's not gonna set you up for a success. So you're better to be patient, especially when you're trying to establish [00:08:00] perennials. Now chemicals definitely help move the process along.

If it's a fallow situation where you got a lot of weeds and grass, I want to. Kill that off. And then I prefer to burn it if possible cuz it'll help burn up some of that loose seed weed seeds that are sitting on top. Clear, clear the surface. But if it's not that type of situation and you're coming into a crop situation where it might have been beans prior or some kind of ag you can get.

To seeding much quicker. There's not as much seeded preparation that needs done. And it's mostly because once you put your perennial native seeds on, you're at the mercy of mother nature and weeds. There's no chemical treatments for other broadleaf competition. And those, that first year is critical to getting a long lasting, stand that they established.

That first year you talked about the cool season grasses. Right now, this time of year is big for treating older stands where you get those cool season grasses creeping in. Now, [00:09:00] we welcome warm season grasses, clump grasses, that won't crowd out the other flowers the broadleaf plants that we want.

But those cool season grasses can be detrimental. Later on. So I like to get in now and hit those with a grass selective herbicide, here early in the spring. Doing spot treatments maybe bull thistle or some stuff coming in. And you can take care of it early. This is a great time to do a walkthrough dressing, small trees or saplings that might be coming into older plantings, hitting those cool season grasses and then spot treating, early weeds.

That'll set you up for. Success later in the summer. And as habitat managers, we're always working four to six months ahead of where the fruits are gonna come. You gotta be getting started early and if you do that, it sets you up for that success. It makes it a lot easier later on to maintain it.

So spring is a really a critical period for older plantings, and then if you're establishing [00:10:00] something new, getting in there quick and trying to clear off the existing vegetation and the problematic things that are there. If you're coming in behind fallow and back to not putting your seed on too early, you wanna let that ground rest after you've cleared it off.

There's gonna be a lot of weed seeds in the seed, in the soil. There's gonna be a seed bank there. You need to give it time for that stuff to come on. And then fry it back again. You're looking for as sterile as a seed bed as possible when you're applying them perennial seeds. And because wildflower seeds are very slow to germinate, you really don't get into serious germination.

A lot of times they'll ask. Out past 20 days I've seen seed that I was certain laid there for a full season before it germinated. That next round, sometimes seed needs cold stratification and so you'll put some seed on, some will germinate, some will lay till the next season. And having that sterile seed [00:11:00] bed that you're not gonna be able to apply chemicals to later, you may be able to apply grass herbicides if you're, not.

Trying for a meadow type look. But you can get in there with a grass herbicide, take care of that. But at broadleafs they can be a real problem. And Travis,

Jon Teater: I got a question for you. You just brought up a point of having a meadow look, and I think some people are thinking meadows and pollinator kind of blends.

Would you prefer to have them clumped separately when you're doing your layout and design? So they're clumped where you have your metal sections and then you have your, flowering type plants. You have them segregated.

Travis Harmon: Definitely long term. I think they'll turn into that the first year.

Chances are it's gonna be a lot of annuals. You're using the annuals as a cover crop for your perennials that are established and underneath, but then you get into year two and three, and that's really when the planting's gonna start coming into its own and showing what it's gonna be and your management technique for each spot.

I'm a big advocate. For diversity. I'm the [00:12:00] same way with my food plots. I very rarely plant just one large planting type. I I like edge. Edge looks great in habitat, it looks great in backyards, lots of different varieties and mixing it up a little bit. One section might be met. Managed for perennial flowers, that meadow look, then you're dropping in another section and replanting it every year with the annuals to really give you a strong color pop.

And it's gonna last much longer. A lot of your perennial plantings will peak out in July, depending on the heat and the dryness. Of the summer, and I agree with you a hundred percent that, things just can seem to keep getting drier and drier. But those plantings will dry out early, but your annual plantings will go well into frost putting on good color all year.

So it creates a better. Visual when you're doing a little bit of both. There's definitely appropriate scenarios for each, but I think the best plannings have a little bit of both and allow both the perennials and [00:13:00] the annuals to shine.

Jon Teater: I got two questions for you. The first question is, in these areas where you're doing these pollinator, plantings, meadows, what have you are you taking soil samples and going through the same process you may do for food plots?

Travis Harmon: So that's interesting that you bring that up. I'm not a big advocate for soil samples. I'm not growing a crash cash crop here. Now, at times when we're doing U pick Plantings, of course, you're trying to maximize blooms, and there is, there is a cash factor there. And so I try to steer away from using any type of fertilizers on wildflowers and those kind of plantings.

Because a lot of times the annual weeds will benefit from them fertilizers more so than the flowers. And you're really, if we are applying fertilizer phosphorus is a big one for Blooms nitrogen produces a lot of green leafy growth. That's not necessarily what we're going after for the flowers.

We [00:14:00] want those big blooms, lots of color. So anyways, we try to steer away from that only in extreme cases. If you got really poor soil, it can definitely benefit from like a 19, 19, 19. Not a lot, but if your soils are decent. They're gonna produce nice flowers. They're very resonant, they're drought resistant, certain varieties, I could plant the same mix in three different locations and the same time, within a day of each other.

And they come out slightly different because when we're throwing the seed mixes on, we're putting, up to 40 varieties of flowers in there. And certain ones are gonna appreciate that soil more than others. The amount of sunlight, it just, there's a lot of variables that come into it and it'll come out different every time, I guess is what I'm trying to say.

So put the seed on. A good healthy mix, no fertilizer, and see what happens. And then if it's really struggling, then [00:15:00] I might add some fertilizer as a, a top dress to give it a little boost. But most part, no you definitely wanna avoid that. And that's one of the good things is not high cost.

You're not dumping a bunch of fertilizer into it, like you're growing corn or something like that which is a lot more costly.

Jon Teater: So the one, one thing I'm gonna add to, and you brought up the phosphorus and. A lot of areas, at least non-ag areas are usually phosphorus deficient, at least. My experience has been that with a lot of clients that I've worked with, at least in the Northeast.

One thing you could use as a slow release fertilizer is rock phosphate. So it's a less soluble form and it takes a while to disperse. And so that has to be tiled on the ground at certain depths, and I would say two to three inches depending on your root status or kind of what these plants are gonna be in, in the root.

Rise ofe. So the thing I would say is if you're gonna put fertilizer on any of these things, think about a slow release fertilizer that may be more advantageous to you. And then think about the other, calcium or borin deficiencies, because obviously that allows for that phosphorus to [00:16:00] become available to plant.

So just some minor things just because I deal with plants lots, so I'm thinking about that stuff all the time. You brought up a topic of burning And we're talking about we go into an area, we're dealing with maybe fallow. You're resetting it essentially, and you're spraying herbicide and you're burning it.

And in the cases of burning it, in order to get your seat in the ground, are you disking your seat or are you just spreading your seed?

Travis Harmon: I definitely try not to disturb the soil anymore than we need to. Cause you're just bringing up additional seed to the surface. Chances are it's seed that you don't want at the surface.

Try not to, do disking if we don't need to. Weather conditions at seeding are important. You're looking for, similar to establishing clover, a lot of the. Flower seeds, super small. So a lot of surface sewing. It can, it, it works well for, there's not a lot of effort to get the seed in, but it makes it very susceptible to drought conditions if it's on the surface because moisture dries up quick.

If the [00:17:00] sun comes out after your moisture comes in dries the surface out real quick and the seed doesn't get started. So trying to time your seeding with, a lengthy period of moisture that helps get that seed in the ground there's is certainly times that will work the top surface.

Try to not to go any deeper in two or three inches. If it's a really hard pan and it's obvious that the seed isn't gonna work into the soil we might do some work and try to stir it up some. But if the soil is soft we let Mother Nature do its thing and help push that seed in the ground.

Patience is key and then the right moisture.

Jon Teater: Yeah. Great. And thanks for getting into some of the details cause I think it's important people understand the process. All right. Let's go into selecting seed, cuz I think it's probably the next topic. We've talked a lot about kind of the basics and a little more in depth strategy, but let's select seed, let's talk about some plants, things that you think about when you're working and let's think about this in the aspect of maybe we're building pollinator habitat for an example, we want some.

Visual, preferences. I'm thinking of [00:18:00] clients that I've been working with where they have this, cabin, they want to have their wives and families up there and they want to have these beautiful lush gardens, but in concert of that, they want have some food source for deer.

And in concert of that they wanna have it manageable. Selecting the right seeds, thinking through that process may be something, that people wanna hear about.

Travis Harmon: Absolutely. I li I like a good 50 50 mix. I think that's right on the money where you got 50% perennial, 50% annual.

We creative habitat, we have four mixes that we sell and they cover about 80% of our. Installations, there's a short mix, a couple taller mixes, and then a meadow mix that has the warm season grasses. A good 50 50 mix. That way you can get good color the first year off the annuals while the perennials are establishing, they'll kick in on the second and third year.

I. Have been planting a lot of different flowers, a lot of different locations. The wildlife love it. Deer love to feed on that green [00:19:00] growth, especially in the fall and in the early spring. Right now, they're hammering the wildflower plots because the perennials have an established root system, so they're putting on some green growth a lot faster than the other stuff that's coming on.

So they're really pounding it right now. The turkeys really love it. Later when they have the. PTs, there's a lot of insect activity, a lot of MOGs and things they can feed on. So it really pulls in a lot of wildlife in throughout the summer. I think if you put down a good mix, one of our mixes as an example, and you're throwing 40 varieties of flowers at it, you're gonna have a decent variety stick.

And really it's seasonal. So you look at a planning. Once you come back six weeks later and it looks like a totally different planting because the flowers go through different bloom periods, certain flowers are gonna bloom earlier and then boom be gone, and then another variety's gonna come on. So a good mix with a lot of variety.

Is [00:20:00] key to have an extended color. If you have one flower that over dominates the others you really wanna make sure when you're seeding, you're not seeding too thick because one flower will dominate and then you'll get one super massive bloom and then it's over. The show stops. And really the good plannings can put on a good show for, three, four months.

The perennials, different colors, a white, blue, a yellow, with. Purple and it's just constantly changing as the season rolls on. And then your annuals really start kicking in mid-summer cuz you've seeded those in the spring and producing a lot of color. So I, I would just recommend a lot of diversity in the seed.

I see a lot of mixes that, you know are. Five, six varieties. I, the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned. I'm not a big stickler for native versus non-native. Certainly don't want to introduce invasives. And there's some seeds out there that I would certainly avoid[00:21:00] Chinese for get me knots.

One that comes to mind because it has a really nice. Blue flower, but it produces a very small burger. And it's a super aggressive grower. I've had problems with it. Catch fly would be another one. In the right situations they can get pretty aggressive, so try to avoid some of those, but I, like I said, I'm not a big stickler, so I really like zens, produce a ton of col color cosmos, same way.

They're not really native to Indiana. They're annuals and so you don't see a lot of receding. I've never seen any kind of issue with those. Sunflowers are always great, and you're, like I said before, you're primarily using these as a cover crop for the perennials that are underneath. And establishing.

And as long as you don't get your seed too thick that first year there's a really strong chance you've got a lot of perennials that are gonna establish because just like when you're doing plots or any other cover crop, if your cover crop's too thick, it leaves no room for the [00:22:00] perennials to establish.

Yeah. And making sure you don't oversee, you're better to come in underseed, you can always add more seed, but it's very difficult to pull seed off. So I definitely like to seed on the shy side and then fill in later. I learned over the years, don't put all your seed down at once. Hold a little bit back for problem areas.

And I'll tell you, John I'm not afraid to burn a whole planting down because it doesn't look right at germination. I think you gotta stay flexible, and I would rather delay my planting bloom by a couple of weeks by frying it back. And then receding the whole thing because you're really trying to set yourself up for years of enjoyment.

Four or five, six years of fantastic Blooms and delaying it another month because you had a bad germination or you had a bunch of problematic weeds come in with your seed. I, it's well worth delaying it receding for it to come out. So I think it's important to stay flexible on that.[00:23:00] But as long as you, time it with the weather, have a good seed mix.

I I, Very rarely have I ever seen a failure. The only times we've really had issues, deer will wipe a planting out in urban areas, they can be a problem. They're a problem in my backyard. Now I live out in the sticks, but because managing the property for so many years, we've got a ton of deer. And I have trouble growing an ice flower pu.

Patch in my backyard because they will come in and wipe 'em

Jon Teater: out. So that this topic has come up with some of my clients because of the number deer, the, the density of deer. And what would be your recommendation in those scenarios? Because this is, this becomes a controversial issue because you wanna have that opportunity, but at the same point, You're giving the deer too much leverage right on you.

So you, you gotta now think about your selection. We've talked about exclusion opportunities where we're excluding clumps that are most preferential, the deer of the plants that they prefer. But then, you've got [00:24:00] fencing, and then they're like what type of fencing? The wire netted fencing looks the best.

At least you can see through it, at least the easiest. But what are your recommendations in those scenarios?

Travis Harmon: So I do Maite. As a deer repellent. If you apply it every few weeks, it definitely helps keep 'em off of it. I've had some success with it on sunflowers. I'm using it this year in some locations, trying to keep deer off of it.

The flowers, I think, I don't think the flowers are super attractive, like a nice clover plot. Soybeans, they're not that high value, but when the deer are so thick, they start feeding on lower value plants and then they're, the flowers are right there next on the list, and so they can receive a lot of pressure.

The best I can tell you is, there could be situations where you're not gonna get the type of planning that you might see in pictures. Sometimes it can help prolong the bloom when you have heavy browsing because the plants are constantly in regrowth and [00:25:00] it'll delay it. And so when a planning that hasn't been browsed heavily is already done in past.

The plantings that have been browsed, he heavily are still blooming. Because it's almost like you mowed 'em back. And so there, I guess there is some positives, but I've experienced it on my property. You want to have all kinds of deer. You do things on your property after 15 years. The last five years we've had a lot of deer, a lot, and I think you have to be ahead of the curve when they start increasing in numbers.

If you're not in front of that curve, it's very difficult to bring it down. Yeah. Without, yeah, without damaging. I wanna say the hunting on your property if you're trying to kill mature bucks and those kind of things, but I've really noticed here in the last three to four years a lot more pressure on my flower plantings.

We just got too many deer and you can see it in the winter when they start herding up after the hunting season. And we really need to manage that now. I think we would've been in a better [00:26:00] position if we would've reacted quicker and got

Jon Teater: ahead of that curve. Yeah. That two, three year problem starts to creep up on you.

And so these opportunities that we're talking about, you diminish those opportunities I'm gonna put my 2 cents into this really quick. In order to facilitate what I was just suggesting, other than, we talked about, either chemical application or fertilizer application or caging, whatever the case may be, it's diversity.

And one of the things you could start with is spraying out those grasses. We started out with the cool seasons and giving you an opportunity for kind of those annual Forbes that kind of come to light. It's also having, and even in this case right now, those young sprouting seed leans become a food source.

So it's having that diversified landscape and thinking about the food value in concert with these plannings, particularly during that early time of year. One strategy that we just employed with the client is we're cutting all season long, so we're getting past this early leaf out period. And then once this leaf period, Kind of ends.

We're gonna start cutting more timber on this client, so we're gonna cut. It's a large property. We're gonna [00:27:00] continue to cut all season long providing value food sources. Increase the moisture level because of the tree tops. Adding diversity, those are areas where we can burn. You can spray 'em out, what have you.

And then thinking about that in concert with this kind of beautified look and feel. Another concept that Travis, I'm sure you've thought about this, is having adjacent, more preferred plants that are distracting. And it's like where you have that kind of candy garden and then you have this.

Available garden for the deer, and it's giving them some diversification when I met candy, more preferential for humans or visual aesthetics, what have you, versus kind of their preferences. So think about that in concert when you're doing your layout and design. Just want to add my 2 cents into this.

You talked about maintenance earlier, we're getting out of the annual end of the perennial. We're going in from year one. You talked about sunflowers, establishing, those different annual plants and we're getting in kind of the perennials and some are biannuals some of the plants that I'm thinking about.

But getting into those perennials, what's the maintenance [00:28:00] aspect of this? Because I think a lot of people are thinking work, so I wanna know how you handle that.

Travis Harmon: No, definitely not a lot of maintenance on an established planning. And I think the key to low maintenance the second year and after is having a good first year.

The first year is really critical to setting it up for success. Again I mentioned earlier, On some older plannings, a lot of three year plannings. This year we were going in and spraying for cool season grasses. Now I think some of what happened last season will impact what the planning does This season.

Drought conditions last year will affect things this year when you're talking about perennial plannings. And each year is different. I think a lot of it's observation. We're gonna come into the planning right after Greenup. And start observing how it's coming along, what's coming in with it.

Addressing spot spraying problem, weeds, on a half acre, which is probably our average size, plot that we're installing backyards and those kind of things. [00:29:00] On a half acre, we're talking maybe 10 or 15 minutes of walking around. That's really my expectation is that. If I did the first year the second year, very limited maintenance the third year.

A lot of these plants don't reach full maturity until year three. So I've seen a second year planning come out looking totally different in year three when a certain variety really came into its own and started to mature. So this is really a long game you're playing here. The first year being the most critical, the second year early maintenance in the spring addressing, problem weeds that have come in.

There might even be small spots that I'll kill off completely. It could be a 10, 10 foot by 10 foot area that. Canadian thistle or something is infested. I have no issue with frying that back, throwing a handful of seed on it and kickstarting it because if you let that go, it's like an infection and eventually it's gonna take over the whole thing.

So if you address it early you're way ahead of the game there, moving into [00:30:00] the later season, then it's a matter of enjoying it. Might do a little snip here or there or a spot spray if there's a problem. But for the most part, you're enjoying it up till the fall where you decide to set it back.

I'm not an advocate for burning to manage a wildflower stand. I've found that, it's great for managing for grasses. And specifically, if I'm trying to get a nice, thick stand of grasses, I will burn. I think that's the best way to manage it. But for flowers, I prefer just a mow, and I'm looking to disperse the seed.

And that's one of the great things about these flower plantings is they're constantly putting new seed back in the ground every year. Yeah, birds are taken off with some of it, they're really reseeding themselves, producing a ton of seed to spread into the surrounding area as well.

So we've definitely seen flowers popping up in areas. Yeah. Where we know the seed came from the planting that we put in so that it's real satisfying to see that kind of spreading all those good things. But we're [00:31:00] mowing those down after the seed heads set, usually the last bloom.

We're getting into that. Blackeyed, Susan, the Astor in the fall? There'll be purple coneflower hanging on late and, we do honeybees as well, and so we don't mind some golden rod and some stuff like that for a later bloom. But we're really looking to set the seed back into the soil.

There are plantings, we'll leave stand and then mow them in late winter or very early spring. If we're trying to leave some wild. Wildlife cover we'll leave the planting stand. There's nothing wrong with that. And then mowing them down right before green up and then just, letting it come on you, you did mention about, really cream of the crop plantings for your gear and then some less desirable, but add the eye candy factor.

And I think that's where the wildfires really shine. I'm gonna be using 'em this year. I, and I think it's important to stay flexible. With her plan. I've been a property owner for 15 years. [00:32:00] Small property. A lot of the properties we work on are smaller properties, 40 acres or less. There's a lot of influence from neighboring properties on a 40 acre piece and you're not in control of what your neighbors are doing.

And over the years things are gonna change. And this year's a great example for me where. My food plots are located on the edge of my property because that's where I have tillable ground. In 15 years, I've never had anybody hunting on that side in Ag Field, but this year I got a new neighbor. A guy shows up and he sets up right on the property line along my food plots.

And that's really gonna change that game for me and my hunting strategy. But one of the first things I'm gonna do is. Take a portion of those food plots and transfer those over into wildflowers. It's gonna offer Forbes and brows and cover and pollinator activity. It's gonna look great, but it's not gonna be like a food plot sitting in front of that guy.

And so I'm gonna utilize the wildflowers and some native grasses [00:33:00] to fill that void, create a little bit of buffer between where he's gonna be and where my prime food plots are gonna be. It's gonna add value. It's gonna be low maintenance. So I think that's a great example where you can utilize wildflowers and native plantings to add value and be a part of your plan.

And then use those cream crops, soybeans, clover, those kind of plantings for your target locations where you're really trying to influence the movement of the deer on your place.

Jon Teater: Yeah, that's a great example. And something almost as a buffering, it creates that opportunity to buffer you from your neighbor.

And I like that. The other thing I wanna mention is, one thing to think about, and we're talking about flowering plants and most flowering plants, the way that they, produce seed or produce fruits are through animals. And, we're talking in this case about, various.

Natural plants or native plants. Some are non-native. We hit on those in a little bit. I think of one of the I'm thinking about a [00:34:00] bunch of plants that I've experienced cuz I've had the opportunity to build some of these blends with clients. But I'm happy you offer seed and that I think people should look at your seed blends.

I think that'd be helpful. So go online and look at, Travis's company his seed blends. I think that'll be really cool. The other piece of was thinking about, the percentage of. Benefit that you're getting. So if most of these flowering plants, a large percentage of 'em are propagated based on animals rather than wind, like conifers are, propagated by wind.

A lot of these flowering plants by animals. So it's having as many animals on the landscape. And so it correlates to the topic, a little bit broad, but bees for example, they're propagating our crops and. A huge percentage of the crop lands that we're dealing with. Probably 30 or 40% of the crops that, that we employ either for deer or our own, edible sources are propagated by, pollinating type insects and beetles, wasps, moss, et cetera.

So it's thinking a little bit more holistically. And the other thing I want to add to this is, I'm not necessarily a [00:35:00] proponent for, including non-native plants across the landscape, but I do suggest that in some instances and are there are benefits to butterflies and bees and I recommend that people look into that more by just sticking with this, the mantra that native is the best, native isn't always the best.

And I've worked with a couple ecologists and entomologists that have. Even stated that we think so deeply about native plants being the end state and all suggestion because that's what we hear and that's not always the case. So be open-minded to that and having a mantra that the native is right isn't always correct.

And I'm not gonna get any specifics cause I don't wanna be controversial today cuz I'm a little chill right now, but I would suggest keep an open mind about that. So just to add to the discussion, the last piece of it is thinking about kind of the plants that are host plants for butterflies and thinking about, when the caterpillars are young, you know what they're eating right.

We typically think of milk weeds as a good example, but the type of species that they're eating that they're. They're [00:36:00] preferring and observing what's going on in the landscape. I think Travis was talking earlier about just paying attention to what's going on and thinking that there, there's natural tendencies of certain species to prefer certain plants, and it's having kind of that awareness factor.

You could read more about this, about, what. Plants relate to what insects, et cetera, but thinking a little bit more holistically about that. And then obviously look at the consumptive values for our deer and selecting plants that either, deer prefer or they don't. And thinking about that when you're doing your seed selection.

So just at a high level, I'd step back and you can investigate each seed. I do the same thing with tree species, right? Or coniferous trees. Selecting trees that meet my demand. So I figured we'd just add that into the conversation. All right. Travis, anything else you want to add to the conversation or you think would be valuable for people to consider going into this time of year or anything throughout the summer, whether it's food plots or otherwise?

Travis Harmon: John, one thing is we've been, in business six years, [00:37:00] One thing we hear time after time is from customers, how much they enjoy having the flowers right in the backyard, watching the butterflies. The Monarch Mar migration in the fall. People just go crazy over it and. They talk about how relaxing it is to just walk through, look at all the diversity, the color, the new blues, and I think what we're doing is outside the box people.

I don't think you understand until you see it or you experience it. And a lot of our customer base or return customers, once they've experienced it the first year, having that relaxing spot in their yard that they can go to and look at the colors and the. The pollinator activity they want that and they have a spec to keep track of it or do more.

And so I would really encourage, guys, this is something that I believe is new. There's a lot of, I've mowed a lot of grass for a lot of years and it's because it's what I knew. But since [00:38:00] discovering wild flowers years ago, I've transferred more and more of my lawn and other people's lawns to small pollinator habitats.

And it's just, It's excellent and I, I don't know how it's not more popular or you don't see it more, but I believe you will in the future once people see technology as changed. Seed mixes, the ability, chemicals it's, A lot of new technology has enabled us to be able to do what we're doing today.

And I think when people take advantage of it and they see it and experience it, they just, they love it. And I think your listeners, and it's something they should consider for their lawn and, everybody's got a little spot and out of the way spot. To throw some flowers down and watch what happens.

And I think they would really like it. So I encourage 'em to check it out.

Jon Teater: Yeah, I agree. And I'm, this motivates me. It shouldn't motivate any landowner to think a little bit differently, think a little more holistically. [00:39:00] And I just brought up the point earlier about. The birds, the bees, the bats, the moss, anything that's gonna pollinate and thinking about the seed food source and how that creates diversity in the landscape.

That's the whole principle behind this. It's that simple. And thinking more holistically in that sense, rather than just be focused on deer. I wish I had somebody like you in my area also to consult with me, but to deprive me recommendations on what's the best tact to go about if you're gonna establish this on your landscape, but, There's a ton of information in here if you listen to this again, and I suggest people listen to this several times, and also check out, your seed blends and varieties.

These are not the cheapest things on the world, right? But you can also, harvest your own seed, right? There's a lot of opportunities and once it's established, as you suggested, you know that will propagate themselves, assuming. The seed is pollinated, et cetera. And obviously, these flowering plants, the nectar's, the attraction for these, bees and wasps, et cetera.

It becomes, that at attractant, [00:40:00] that, that pulls in, these insects from all over the place. Like you said earlier, enjoying that and observing it, I think is really important. And that kind of echoes with me when I'm thinking about the benefit on the landscape. All right.

I think that was great. I appreciate you taking time outta your day to spend, on this podcast. And I'm excited to have you back on this summer.

Travis Harmon: Hey man, I appreciate you having me to your listenership. Last time I was on, I got some messages from some guys and words of encouragement and really appreciate that and you said it.

That it's expensive seed and every situation is different when you're trying to establish the best planning possible. So we're happy to help people out and checks out on Instagram. That's where we're doing most of our active stuff. Been a little slow posting lately cuz it's so busy right now with Spring.

But looking forward to some great shows this summer and really Just looking forward to sharing

Jon Teater: with people. Yeah, man. I thank thanks for taking the time with me today, and we'll talk soon. All right, dude. We'll [00:41:00] talk to you later. See you

Travis Harmon: man. Bye. Maximize your Hunt is a production of whitetail landscapes.

For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt, check out whitetail