First, let’s look at some of the advantages of perennial plantings for shooting preserves: First, the time saver. Once established, perennials don’t require the intensive work that goes with annual plantings, although most perennials still need some maintenance attention. Second, the money saved. Most perennials require and initial outlay for purchase, which at times may be considerable. But, considering their years of usefulness, they cost much less than would be spent on annual plantings on the same space in the same years. Third, barring some catastrophe, perennials can be counted on for cover year after year once established since they normally are not seriously affected by the weather changes that can spell ruin for annual crops. Fourth, most perennials, particularly the “woody” species stand up better under trampling and weather than do most annuals. Fifth, used with annuals, and native vegetation, perennial cover adds variety and the sought-after “natural” look to a preserve.
At this point, let me make it clear that no operator should consider using perennials, or native vegetation alone for his preserve cover, just as he should not use planted annual crops alone. It’s the mixtures that do the best job; that look like, and are, the best type of hunting-field management.
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