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  • Writer's pictureSam Bilhorn

7 Ways to Prevent Annual Screen Failure

Introduction


Annual screening products are an excellent short-term way to block your movement from deer as you move about your property.


However, most of the screens we see have failed long before the hunting season ends. Here's a list of common mistakes - avoid these and you will be in a great spot next fall!


Product Selection

screen cover seed bag

We are primarily referencing hybrid sorghum and Egyptian wheat products throughout the article. Knowing the use of each is important.


Egyptian wheat


A member of the sorghum family that produces lengthy and narrow stalks that will reach between 7-10 feet in height. Egyptian wheat does better in damp soils.


Hybrid Sorghum


Also a great option for lengthy cover that can't be beaten if the soils are well drained.


Seedbed Prep and Weed Control


till drill for food plots

This isn't a no-till product, so it is important to get the ground worked up, just an inch or two loose so soil contact is high. Getting a pre-emergent herbicide down also helps prevent early weed competition which is key.






Timing


Screen Cover Not Dense

These products need warm soils to germinate and mature in just three months. Planting too early is common, which negatively impacts germination, causes overdeveloped stalks, and consumes some of the late season time the crop would still be standing as it dries and breaks early.






Screen Too Narrow


Well Planted Screen Cover

Too often we see 5-10 ft wide screens, we like to see 12' wide, and 15-20' is even better. This allows more structure to last in the wind and snow and still function even with some stalks going down early. Here is a great example of a well planted screen.







Screen Too Dense


Thin Screen Cover

Overseeding is too common! This leads to crowded stalks with stunted growth. While it might get 8'+ tall and look good in September, the stalks are fragile and will fall in the first winds of October.








Improper Fertilizing


Much like planting it too dense, if it doesn't reach its full growth potential, the stalks will be fragile and not make it through the season. Get the right amount at planting and add nitrogen during the final month of stalk development.


Blind Isn't Screened


Blind Not Screened In

Continue the screen past the blind you may be hunting. It helps conceal the blind, your access in and out, and also keeps deer from being directly beneath you.








Conclusion


Oftentimes, it is very easy to make mistakes when planting screen cover around your whitetail property. We have a dedicated team of professionals here to help you every step of the way leading you to change your property for good!

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