Native Habitat Restoration for Diversification

Edge Feathering


Edge Feathering is a great way to improve your property for wildlife. It creates a great transition area between woods and fields which provides both food and cover for a variety of wildlife. My gun stand for deer hunting is directly above where I stood when I took the picture to the right and it was amazing to sit there at deer season and watch all the activity going on. There were several rabbits hopping around below me every morning and many different birds, especially cardinals, flying from the cover out into a milo food plot out in the field.

Edge Feathering is done by cutting down the trees in a 20 to 30 yard strip around the edges bordering a field. We accomplish this on our farm by using our skid steer and tree clipper. We stack the bulk of the trees in brush piles and then some of the larger trees we cut down and leave lay for more open cover for quail. It can be done just as well using a chain saw and a chop and drop method, cutting the trees down and letting them lay where they fall.

The area in which this is done will quickly grow up in brush such as: buck brush, fragrant sumac, briars and tree sprouts. This creates great cover for all wildlife. Bobwhite Quail can use this area for escape cover to fly into when being pursued by predators and also to move through when feeding. With the brush piles it is also great for the rabbit population. We killed several rabbits in the stretch in the photo this past winter.

P4270005The biggest challenge with these areas is maintaining them. After the sprouts grow to more than 15 ft tall they need to be cut down again. It really helps reduce the sprouts if you treat the stumps of the trees with an herbicide to kill the roots as you cut them in the beginning . We also spray herbicide on the sprouts when we go back and cut them. If you maintain 1/3 or 1/5 of your edge feathering around each field/year it will help make the work more manageable and keep the areas at various stages of succession.

We have completed edge feathering around every field on our farm and have seen great results.