by Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist
It is a common folk tale that buckeyes bring good fortune to those that carry one around. That may be so, but the tree itself does not bring good fortune! Aesculus pavia, or red buckeye, is a common understory tree that is native to this region. The rich soil along the coastal plains is part of this tree’s native geographic area. Right now, these trees are producing long, red flowers that really stand out. They begin producing “buckeyes” in the fall. The fruit is named buckeye because some believe they actually look like a buck’s eye. However, do not let the beauty of this small tree fool you; it is not wildlife forage. Hummingbirds and bees are attracted to this tree, but the red buckeye has no importance to mammals or game species from a browse standpoint. The family to which this tree belongs (Hippocastanaeae) contains a toxin that is poisonous to humans and livestock (making it unpalatable to deer). With that being said, this may be a perfect tree to plant on the edges of food plots to provide a “curtain” for skittish wildlife. This tree also grows really well along fence rows and may be a good deterrent to keep deer and other wildlife out of particular plots. The ornamental tree does not get very tall, but it does provide nice aesthetics. Next time you are walking through your land, take a look through the pine or hardwood stands. If you spot a red buckeye, transplant it to better benefit your management needs. I have spotted hundreds of these trees along county roads and under the shade of forest canopies so I thought I would shed some light. Do not fret if you lose these trees in the next thinning; if you would like to find a use for them, plant them somewhere to either deter wildlife or to attract hummingbirds and bees. Otherwise, collect the buckeyes in hopes of good luck!
I hope everybody is busy on their food plots and having a great season for those that are busy turkey hunting!
“Meaghan English is available to help with any of your wildlife planning needs. Call us at 800-200-LAND for Meaghan’s help and/or for help with forestry services and buying and selling land in Georgia, Alabama & Mississippi.” – John Burnham, TrueSouth General Manager
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