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Forest for life

Our earth, our forest, our future

Thinking about the future of our planet, ourselves and the wildlife in which we share it with, we are doing some deep thinking on ways we can help. By providing guidance on building the future use for our land. We are adding large trees to our landscape that live a long time, to add stability and food that can convert carbon to energy safely. That way it shades the soil and provides a rich and healthy landscape full of resources for the future.

We are setting an example to restore 160 acres of old farmland by developing a food forest for ourselves and native wildlife. Doing this will provide many generations with a healthier landscape.

Ways you can help:

Save tree seeds. If you have leaves in your yard in the fall, you also have an abundance of tree seeds. 

Get the family involved, gather the seeds and send them to your local DNR. They will gladdly pay you for the collected seeds. Here is a link to the Minnesota State Forest Nursery.  They start seedlings from the collected seeds and help grow desease resistant trees that can withstand climate change.

Get to know the seeds around you

Here are a few varieties of collected seeds in our area.


Growing Trees

Creating a Feast for a Forest of wild game animals

Creating a landscape for a sustainable future takes time and planning. Here are a few trees to get started on your own plot of land. We are choosing to motivate the next generation to replenish what has been weathered over the years of farming. Trying to instill the values of preserving the natural habitat and the natural watershed process. The more people who can get on a similar path the better. Creating a happier food system from wild game meat. Happier animals create a happier outlook on life creating a more balanced life for us all.

Creating a Feast for a Forest of wild game animals

Minnesota's diverse landscapes provide an excellent environment for hunting enthusiasts, offering opportunities to pursue game such as deer, pheasant, and grouse. Landowners looking to enhance their hunting land can strategically plant trees to create a habitat that attracts and sustains these species. By understanding the preferences and needs of deer, pheasant, and grouse, you can create a balanced and thriving ecosystem. This article explores the best tree species to plant in Minnesota to attract and support these popular game animals.

  1. White Oak (Quercus alba):

    White oak is a valuable tree for attracting deer, providing both food and cover. Acorns produced by white oaks are a favored food source for deer. These trees also offer dense canopies, creating shelter and security for wildlife. Planting white oaks along the edges of open areas can create natural funnels for deer movement.

  2. Apple Trees (Malus spp.):

    Apple trees are not only a favorite among deer but also attract pheasants and grouse. The sweet fruit is particularly appealing to deer, providing an additional food source during late summer and early fall. When strategically placed in open areas or along field edges, apple trees can become hotspots for wildlife activity.

  3. Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana):

    Red cedar is an evergreen tree that provides excellent cover for deer and serves as a habitat for grouse. The dense foliage offers protection from harsh weather conditions and predators. Planting red cedars in clusters can create bedding areas and increase the overall diversity of your hunting land.

  4. Dogwood (Cornus spp.):

    Dogwoods are valuable for attracting deer, as they produce berries that are a food source during the winter months. Additionally, the shrubby structure of certain dogwood species provides excellent cover for both deer and grouse. Planting dogwoods along edges and in transitional zones can enhance the habitat.

  5. Alders (Alnus spp.):

    Alders are deciduous shrubs that are beneficial for grouse habitat. They thrive in wetter areas and provide cover and food for grouse, particularly during the winter. Planting alders along the edges of wetlands and water sources can create ideal conditions for both nesting and foraging.

  6. White Spruce (Picea glauca):

    White spruce is an evergreen tree that offers cover for deer and provides nesting sites for grouse. Their dense branches and foliage create a protective environment, making them particularly suitable for northern climates. Planting white spruce along the edges of open areas can enhance the overall habitat diversity.


Strategically planting a variety of trees on your hunting land in Minnesota can significantly enhance the habitat for deer, pheasant, and grouse. Consider the specific needs of each species, such as food sources, cover, and nesting sites, to create a balanced and sustainable ecosystem. By mimicking natural habitats and incorporating a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, you can contribute to the overall health of your hunting land and increase your chances of a successful and enjoyable hunting experience.

Planting Guide for Upland Birds and Deer Habitat:

Creating a diverse and wildlife-friendly habitat for upland birds and deer involves thoughtful selection and strategic planting of various plants. Below is a planting guide that includes specific plants such as Elderberries, American Plum, Dolgo Crabapple, Black Walnut, Honey Locust, Apricots, High Bush Cranberries, and other considerations for establishing a thriving ecosystem.

1. Elderberries (Sambucus spp.):

  • Planting: Elderberries prefer well-drained soil and full sun. Plant them in clusters to provide dense cover.

  • Wildlife Benefits: Berries attract a variety of birds, while the shrubby structure provides cover for nesting and roosting.

2. American Plum (Prunus americana):

  • Planting: American plums thrive in various soils and sunlight conditions. Plant in groupings near open spaces.

  • Wildlife Benefits: The fruits are favored by deer and upland birds. The dense thickets offer secure nesting sites.

3. Dolgo Crabapple (Malus 'Dolgo'):

  • Planting: Crabapples grow in well-drained soil and full sun. Space them for optimal growth and sunlight exposure.

  • Wildlife Benefits: Deer enjoy the fruit, and the flowering attracts pollinators beneficial for the ecosystem.

4. Black Walnut (Juglans nigra):

  • Planting: Black walnuts prefer well-drained soil. Consider their allelopathic nature; plant away from other crops.

  • Wildlife Benefits: Deer browse on foliage, and the nuts provide a valuable food source for various wildlife.

5. Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos):

  • Planting: Honey locusts tolerate different soils. Plant in areas with sufficient sunlight.

  • Wildlife Benefits: Deer feed on the foliage, and the thorny branches provide nesting cover for birds.

6. Apricots (Prunus armeniaca):

  • Planting: Apricots thrive in well-drained soil and full sunlight. Allow for adequate spacing between trees.

  • Wildlife Benefits: Deer are attracted to the fruit, and the blossoms attract pollinators.

7. High Bush Cranberries (Viburnum trilobum):

  • Planting: High bush cranberries tolerate a variety of soil conditions. Plant in groups for better pollination.

  • Wildlife Benefits: Birds, including grouse, are attracted to the berries. The dense shrub provides cover.


Additional Considerations:

  • Water Sources: Ensure the availability of water sources, such as ponds or small water features, to support wildlife.

  • Native Grasses and Forbs: Integrate native grasses and forbs to enhance cover, provide nesting sites, and attract insects that are crucial for upland bird chicks.

  • Preserving Natural Features: Maintain existing woodlots and natural features, such as hedgerows, for additional habitat diversity.

  • Deer-Resistant Plants: Consider planting deer-resistant species around sensitive areas to minimize browsing impact on desired plants.

  • Create Clearings: Designate open areas within the habitat to encourage foraging and increase visibility for both wildlife and hunters.

By combining these plant selections with proper planting techniques and habitat management, you can establish a balanced and attractive environment for upland birds and deer on your property. Periodic assessments and adjustments to your planting strategy will contribute to the long-term success of your wildlife habitat.

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