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Author Topic: WP bud capping revisited  (Read 1070 times)

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Offline Sauna freak

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WP bud capping revisited
« on: November 29, 2022, 03:47:32 PM »
After a year of capping my white pines, I've made some observations.  Last winter was long and hard, bordering on severe and pushed the deer to utilizing even poor browse species by March.

I tried 4 different mediums based on internet babble.  Culinary wax paper, regular "office" paper, culinary parchment, and waxed butcher's paper.  Of those, the parchment was a dismal failure.  The deer evidently consumed the paper along with the terminal bud.  Similar results with the office paper, but not as pronounced.  Perhaps 40% browsed in my non-scientific sample.  Neither the office paper or the parchment were very effective at weathering wet November rain and snow either.  I re-capped roughly 150 trees treated thussly in early December.  The waxed butcher paper and wax paper were quite effective, both in deer prevention and weathering.  Probably 90% of caps were still working effectively at green up.

This year I have omitted the office paper and parchment, used up my supply of wax paper, and capped the majority with waxed butcher's paper.  We'll see how they fare this winter.  I have one very agressive pine browsing fawn.  The little SOB even has a taste for red pine, but so far has only taken the needles just short of the bud, as evidenced on game camera and with fresh tracks at browsed WP.  He's nailed a few along a main trail below the paper.  I still have a month of archery season, and he is wearing a bullseye.  I did manage to get enough good ones with strong terminals this year to leave a few decoy trees in the mix with poor, bushy form due to years of previous browsing without treatment.

Anybody have any tips to improve the effectiveness of my bud capping?
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Re: WP bud capping revisited
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2022, 04:05:19 PM »
Contact member Brad Marks at Home - Pacforest Supply Company
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Offline beenthere

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Re: WP bud capping revisited
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2022, 05:31:08 PM »
I was successful using small white popcorn bags that I found at Sam's. Surprised how well they lasted through the winter of rain/sleet/snow/wind and didn't tear up or disintegrate. I used them on the terminal bud of my red oak. Didn't try to protect the white pine with bags. 

Found similar on Amazon, and think the paper is treated for grease. Description here but not white.

300 Pcs Popcorn Bags Grease Resistant Popcorn Bags Disposable Paper Popcorn Container for Christmas Thanksgiving Movie Theme Party Carnivals Popcorn Maker, Red and White Stripes (3.5 x 2.4 x 8.3 Inch)
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Treeflea24

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Re: WP bud capping revisited
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2022, 12:31:37 AM »
Beenthere suggested the same idea to me last year (thank you) and I'm trying something similar this winter. Instead of popcorn bags I bought smaller 3" x 5" flat "Glassine" waxed bags (more like envelopes) that someone might use to sell or giveaway homemade candy or small cookies in.
We'll see how they hold up. My use will be for mostly hardwood seedlings and just a few pines.

While ramming around the internet I came across a couple of people who are using rubber balloons to cap their buds, which was a new idea to me. I found three write-ups about it. All are from Minnesotans, and I see thats where you're from, so maybe you're already familiar with the idea.

Heres a 2003 MDNR tipsheet outlining the balloon bud capping method:
According to the author, the UV degradation times out about right so that the bud can emerge in springtime.

The other MDNR tipsheet is from 2013 and is here:
Tens years after the previous tipsheet, this one seems to advocate more for paper capping rather than balloons. Here's a quote from it: "Although effective 65 to 75% of the time, balloons can have negative effects on about one-third of the trees, causing dieback on the terminal bud. ... Balloons need to be applied only when conditions are dry. If they are applied after a rain or even a heavy morning due, the terminal bud can rot, and die back."

The third source I found was a blog post from 2022 and has some helpful photos. It clearly shows degraded and decomposing balloons in springtime with healthy buds emerging, and talks about some of the details, methods, and stuff they learned.


Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: WP bud capping revisited
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2022, 01:03:09 PM »
My problem with white pine and red oak is hares, moose and especially bear. A popcorn bag, hmm what treats are inside for Mr bear? I used to tie old plastic supplement bottles to trees I wanted to track increment growth. Plastic candy to bears.  :D
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Offline Sauna freak

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Re: WP bud capping revisited
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2022, 10:51:12 PM »
Well, my neighbor's nephew put my WP eating fawn in the freezer in muzzleloader season from one of my stands.  Sad to take out a little buck fawn, but he was definately my prime pine eater.  His first deer ever, and a family first with a flintlock or any muzzleloader!  He read some books about the fur trade era, and fell into some bad company of people who do rendesvous reenactments and BP shoots.  Better than drugs, but probably just as expensive.  I'll have to bring him some telecom lead for doing me such a service.  He's been comsuming plenty lately!

Weird how a certain individual can be an agressive pine browser.  A few years ago it was one boss doe.  I put a camera on some regen destined for failure (on the ATV trail) and she was the only one eating the WP among 7 different deer.  She'd walk right by red osier to whack a WP bud.

Now we just got 20"of wet snow, so my regen is thoroughly blanketed for the time being.  Might not be a very good test of effectiveness against browsing this winter, but should be a good test of weather hardiness.
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