The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll
Last week we talked briefly about timber stand improvement and some of the specific projects involved. We didn't get to Mineral stumps. What exactly is a mineral stump? According to the Quality Deer Management Association, “This is a term for a tree stump that produces sprouts that will be high-preference forage for deer.” coined by Dr. Marcus Lashley when he was at Mississippi State University. Marcus found these sprouts are especially high in nutrients and minerals because they are fed by the root system of an entire tree, far better and more attractive forage than the buds and leaves on the branches of the same tree if you hinge-cut it.” Hinge cutting refers to cutting a tree about waist high, just enough to fell it, leaving enough trunk intact to keep the top alive for a year or two.
There are, of course, several species of trees that you definitely don't want to just cut and allow to sprout back. Osage Orange and Honey Locust come to mind. For those types of trees, use a herbicide like Tordon to paint the stumps, or the resulting clump of thorny brush that grows back will be a worse problem to deal with than the original tree.
Good trees to cut off and allow to grow a bushy clump of leaves full of minerals drawn from the soil in this area include, Black Cherry, Mulberry and Maple. All of these trees are grazed heavily by deer.
If you would like to read more about timber stand improvement, sometimes called forest stand improvement, visit deerassociation.com. There are lots of articles available there to help improve your knowledge and several more available for purchase.
Food plots are the normal way most folks improve their hunting properties. They are used by deer and are great for hunting, but deer spend most of their time in the woods or in thick cover. Any improvement there will really benefit your deer herd and other wildlife species as well.