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Old 02-12-2013, 09:17 AM
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yellowfin yellowfin is offline
 
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Default Sweet Tea Seed, grasses/cover

Saw this ad in GON for southern habitats Sweet Tea Seed. Claims to be a natural cover and natural browse. Looks like something easy to plant and maintain. Does anyone have experience with this? I have some areas that I would consider planting this in because I don't have the time/energy to do it at that location.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:12 PM
GAFLAjd GAFLAjd is offline
 
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Default sweet T

Here's an IFAS link on tea weed for wildlife.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr168
Sweet T is Southern Habitat's selected and collected strain.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:34 AM
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Sounds like decent stuff, now the question; where can you buy this stuff bulk without going through that company. Their price is a little ridiculous.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:04 AM
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Reading some more about this stuff one a QDMA site says it will grow and grow and grow and hard to kill. Say the deer dont care for it much.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:12 PM
southernhabitats southernhabitats is offline
 
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Default Sweet Tea Wildlife Seed

Yellowfin I feel your pain with the price of Sweet Tea. Because it is an indeterminate seed producer, meaning very little seed is ripe at the same time, it must be hand harvested. This is a slow - hence expensive process. It is not hard to kill but I don't think you will want to kill it when you see how much the deer like it. I would love to know where you got the information about deer not caring for it much. Would you mind sharing? I have also found populations that the deer didn't just kill but they always browse it somewhat. However, our production comes from wild stands that deer were totally hammering! If I didn't keep milorganite on my production fields the deer would really hurt my seed production. I encourage you to read the IFAS link the other member posted. This study was done on teaweed that was not chosen selectively but rather they just found plants and picked the seed. Even still the deer were all over it. We now also offer Sweet Tea in bulk. I agree with you, it is expensive, however comparing price per pound of this native perennial to iron clay peas is like comparing the price of a 270 to a BB gun. Your talking about a plant that grows in the shade and can stand browsing prressure like nothing I've ever seen. I am standing behind this product personally. I grew it and experimented with it for two years before I introduced it. The only seed dispersal vector I have ever seen for this plant is the rubber tire. That is how it is spread. It follows tires. Obviously being a native plant that has been here from time eternal if it were going to go crazy and be invasive it would have already done so. I tell my customers when they mow it in September (to bring it out of the sluggish reproductive state and stimulate new growth) to stop and brush of their tires if they don't want to spread it. It's hard having your cake and eating it too so having a plant that is this easy to grow you have to take a little care with the tires. Not a bad trade off. Please feel free to call me at 850-879-7900 or email me directly at joe@southernhabitats.com and I will be happy to share more information.

Best,

Joe Reams
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:17 PM
southernhabitats southernhabitats is offline
 
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Forgot to mention that regarding Yellowfin's comment:

".....Claims to be a natural cover and natural browse.."

Sweet Tea is not a very useful cover and we don't claim such. Natural browse for sure. Thanks!

Joe
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:43 AM
southernhabitats southernhabitats is offline
 
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Default Cover revisited

I may have been too quick to point out that Sweet Tea is not good cover since we have never made this claim. However as it turns out Sweet Tea is great escape cover for turkey poults and quail chicks, especially as it gets thicker. They disappear in this stuff!
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:26 PM
8pointduck 8pointduck is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southernhabitats View Post
Yellowfin I feel your pain with the price of Sweet Tea. Because it is an indeterminate seed producer, meaning very little seed is ripe at the same time, it must be hand harvested. This is a slow - hence expensive process. It is not hard to kill but I don't think you will want to kill it when you see how much the deer like it. I would love to know where you got the information about deer not caring for it much. Would you mind sharing? I have also found populations that the deer didn't just kill but they always browse it somewhat. However, our production comes from wild stands that deer were totally hammering! If I didn't keep milorganite on my production fields the deer would really hurt my seed production. I encourage you to read the IFAS link the other member posted. This study was done on teaweed that was not chosen selectively but rather they just found plants and picked the seed. Even still the deer were all over it. We now also offer Sweet Tea in bulk. I agree with you, it is expensive, however comparing price per pound of this native perennial to iron clay peas is like comparing the price of a 270 to a BB gun. Your talking about a plant that grows in the shade and can stand browsing prressure like nothing I've ever seen. I am standing behind this product personally. I grew it and experimented with it for two years before I introduced it. The only seed dispersal vector I have ever seen for this plant is the rubber tire. That is how it is spread. It follows tires. Obviously being a native plant that has been here from time eternal if it were going to go crazy and be invasive it would have already done so. I tell my customers when they mow it in September (to bring it out of the sluggish reproductive state and stimulate new growth) to stop and brush of their tires if they don't want to spread it. It's hard having your cake and eating it too so having a plant that is this easy to grow you have to take a little care with the tires. Not a bad trade off. Please feel free to call me at 850-879-7900 or email me directly at joe@southernhabitats.com and I will be happy to share more information.

Best,

Joe Reams
Nah, I don't see a justification for your price. Yes you can sell it for whatever you want to ,but that is still a little too much for a small shaker of seed.

What is the coverage area? What would you recommend has a ratio with other forage plants such as chicory? What is not compatible with it? What is the specifics for planting;do you cover the seed or just let it lie naturally on the ground. What would be the best fertilizer numbers to use, a general 10-10-10 or something else? It might grow great in the sandy black dirt in NW Florida that you can grow just about anything in ,but how about the clay soils of the Piedmont here in Georgia? This is a big state, just because it might be native here does not mean its all over the state.
Bottom line: Just because U. of Fla. say what a great natural food source and the vagueness of information that is presented on your web sight doesn't make me want to drop what I know works just to try it for 35 dollars a pop .
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:35 PM
southernhabitats southernhabitats is offline
 
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Default Sweet Tea info

8pt.,

You are correct. It does not naturally occur in every soil type even though it does occur throughout the state. It does much better in well-drained soils that are low pH with fresh organic matter like pinestraw or oak leaves. In coarse sand I recommend covering it with up to 1/2" of soil. In clay you can top sow it and track it in. Coverage area is a personal preference. Since we get this question so often I decided to use 2,000 sq. ft as a reference. With 3,000 live seeds per container that is 1.5 potential plants per square foot. A lot of people are using it in deep woods where it is too hard to get a tractor into, edges of food plots, shady areas under the edges of oaks, etc. After the stand is established and has populated the seed bank it is ok to overseed with a cool season crop like clover, just don't disk the roots. I personally prefer to allow ST to have its own space and plant it in small plots. As for fertilizer analyses this is not very important. I use 19-5-19 because we have high phosphate levels and I can get more N for the money. You just have to be careful not to overdo it. I recommend applying 40-60lb. of N/acre at planting. If it is a high organic matter area then fertilization is not important until it's established. Once established it should get that much (or more) a year in spring. In really sandy soil you may consider a split application because of leaching.

Here in N.FL we have a wide range of soils but most of it is sandy.

As for the price, this plant is a perennial plant that easily gets three feet tall and 3 ft. wide. It makes a lot of browse. It produces a lot of seeds however only a small number of viable seeds are on the plant at any one time throughout the summer and fall. It will get thicker every year. No other food plot seed on the market offers that. Being a lifelong farmer and in the native seed business I am pretty good at finding the most efficient way to harvest difficult plants. There are several we grow that must be hand harvested and Sweet Tea is one of them and it is the absolute slowest hence most expensive to harvest. There is no good window wherein you can get a good crop of seed because of the intermittent production. Additionally, it is a seed that requires a lot of processing before being coated. Then when coated it is run back over a cleaner to get the purity up because the pelletizer picks up any flake and makes a pellet. We run the seed until we get it to 75% and then we bottle it. There are about 4,000 pellets per shaker, 3,000 or more of which are live seeds. Anyway I hope this answers some of your questions. I have never had anyone say that the info on my website is vague but I do plan to review it and make amendments as needed. I also want you to know that I have worked very hard to make sure all of my (nearly 400) customers are satisfied and have sent out extra seed to anyone who has had problems, no questions asked. Most of the problems we encountered were related to secondary dormancy related to cool temperatures. When I noticed the dormancy showing up in my own plots I reached out to all of my customers who purchased seed over the winter and ended up sending out seed to over twenty customers. All of them but one has reported success. I have sent about 10 times the seed purchased by the one customer and he still did not reported positive results, therefore I sent him a check for his money back. I remain available by phone or email to anyone who would like to discuss our product. We are in business for the long hall and want to make sure people understand that we are not playing games nor taking money from people without offering our very best in return.

Best,

Joe Reams
850-879-7900
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  #10  
Old 07-20-2013, 06:51 PM
8pointduck 8pointduck is offline
 
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Thank you for your response. You have answered all my questions and I appreciate it.
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