8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Rockwall, TX, USA
    Posts
    4

    Smile 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    Hey everyone. New beekeeper here. I'm in North Texas and have 8 acres of pasture that I would like to use for honey production. Any suggestions in what to plant (or what mix)? I dont have a tiller for my tractor yet but I can brush hog the pasture then overseed. Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    2,768

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    Can you grow buckwheat in Texas? Great honey producer.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Rockwall, TX, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    Not sure but i'll look into it!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
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    1,120

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    humbam sweet clover. Gets about waist high, it sounds like a bee hive when it's in full bloom. I did not have a lot of luck with it reseeding itself. Despite all the seed pods I mowed. My germination rate was very bad. I've very hot and humid, with very mild winters, rarely getting to freezing. Don't know about your area. It's considered an invasive weed that is very difficult to get rid of up north. If you get freezing weather in the winter, I'd give it a try. You really can't find a better crop for bees. Too expenisve to plant every year. I was hoping if I could get a good crop, it would reseed. I got a GREAT crop, but very little came up the next year.
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 5 Nucs / 6th Year / T {OAV & MMK}

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Rockwall, TX, USA
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    4

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    Thank you for the suggestion. I'm trying to find the best combination/mix of crops to get longer honey seasons throughout the year with a decent reseeding attribute. We do get freezing winters here in N Texas. I'd say it starts to freeze in December and we'll get some freeze days through March. Sometimes one or 2 days during April. We have a clay soil up here and get some decent rain (ideally) but can go 2 weeks without rain during the summer. I've been reading a lot clovers and they say the Louisian S-1 Variety of white clover does well in clay. Was looking for another variety to mix it with for a later bloom.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
    Posts
    1,120

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    I'm also heavy clay and the clover crop I had was awesome. It looks nothing like short clovers, like dutch. This stuff is waist high, with forked stems, each fork carries about 20 little bitty flowers. Bees go NUTS over it. I had a video, and you could hear them in the video. is considered the number one thing to plant for honey production. I couldn't find my video, but search youtube for sweet clover and you'll see what I mean.
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 5 Nucs / 6th Year / T {OAV & MMK}

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,253

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    I will support the idea of sweet clovers.
    I would do exactly this.

    A mix of both yellow and white is best (yellow starts/finishes earlier than white; thus you extend the flow season).
    Once established, should just reseed itself.
    However, the seeds will NOT readily germinate the very next year (it could be 2-3 years too - never know).
    Every year the clover patches seem to move around (exactly because they don't germinate year after year; those seeds from 2-3-4 years ago decide to go ahead this season).

    Good for soil too. Grows in any soil and any conditions (outside of swamp).
    Good for any insects, not just honey bees.
    Invasive or not, all bugs really love sweet clovers. Great general bug pasture.

    Add golden rod/native fall asters into the mix - for later flows.

    PS: I only assume these will work for TX; not for sure.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Rockwall, TX, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    I've done a ton of research on honey yield, honey taste, and flowering schedules out in this area of N. Texas. Here's the 4 flowers I came up with based on yield per acre, taste, schedule, and many other factors such as overly invasive behavior, toxins to other wildlife, etc. The objective here is to plant in such a way that the first flower blooms as early as possible, and subsequent flowers blooms throughout the season and finish out as late as possible. I also considered things such as nitrogen release into the soil, compatibility between plant species when seeding together, and re-seeding qualities. Here's what I think so far (however I do have 1 issue I can't find an affordable solution to):

    -Plant Crimson Clover in mid November for March - May bloom. One of the earliest bloomers and great yeild and taste.
    -Plant Tansy (Phacelia tanacetifolia) in early spring after last frost - Blooms 6-8 weeks between April and July. Very hardy plant and incredible yield potentials. Good taste and behaves well with other plants.
    -Plant Hubam Sweet Clover in early spring after last frost - Starts out later but large yield and delicious honey. Blooms between May and July. Its a legume.
    -Plant Borage in early spring after last frost- Large yield and good honey. Blooms the latest of the flowers between June and Oct. Best planted in dense clumps of area.

    The issue I see with the planting schedule is that I would need to plant in fall (Crimson), then somehow plant a cover crop in spring while the Crimson is getting ready to bloom. How do I plant the rest without destroying the crimson? I've considered a no-till drill but thats not very affordable. I've considered using a straight disc to score the ground without hurting the Crimson too much, then broadcasting seed over the area. (Has anyone done this with any reasonable success?).

    Anyway let me know what yall think!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Wise County, Texas, USA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    I have used a plain old seed drill to put out oats over a hay field with good results. you can find no till drills for rent in my area ( still expensive). I did plow a field and broadcast sunflowers then dragged pipe and chains to cover them. didn't work to well. So this year I just broadcast . the sunflowers like nature does. They are growing. So what I'm saying is that if a seed needs to go into the ground , just drill them in some how and if they just need to be placed on top of the ground; broadcast. Find out for each plant you want. Same way with chemicals. I mixed some up for cactus. My nephew thought if it was tough on cactus it show do great on grass;NOT!!!! two different plants. weed poison can be selective just as plant styles. Contact your County Extension Agent about planting your combo to see if they will grow together.
    You may need to contact your

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    783

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    I plant crimson with a disk, cutting straight a day after rain. Just to cut into soil. Work great with my crimson,oats,rye,and wheat. It's a 4 way deer Turkey mix. 15.00 per 40 lbs. 100lbs per acre, and cattle and bees can graze well into spring, and bees get cleanup duty. Works great for me.also, I sow Dutch clover, and my 31 rescues, to mix with my existing crabgrass. No chemicals, except fence lines. All works well, as there are enough weeds, things that flower for the bees

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockholm, NJ, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by ultraweir View Post
    Hey everyone. New beekeeper here. I'm in North Texas and have 8 acres of pasture that I would like to use for honey production. Any suggesistions in what to plant (or what mix)? I dont have a tiller for my tractor yet but I can brush hog the pasture then overseed. Thanks in advance!
    If I had that much land,

    1. a. I would plant while and yellow sweet clovers, two years in a row. They are biannual, this mean, the first crop will grow the first year and flower the second year. At the end of the first season or the very beginning of the second season spread more seeds. The second season crop will yield while the first season crop is taking a break.
    b. Have a patch of common milkweed, butterfly weed, and borage (reseeds and travels to other parts)

    2. on the perimeter of the land and subdivisions, I would plant linden, sumac, black locust, catalpa, maple, privet, evodia, sephora (japanese Pagoda), chestnut (american and chinese), bottleneck bush, black gum (as an understory)

    3. If there is a pond or stream, or a swamp I would plant buttonbush, pussy willow, eastern baccharis, joe-pie, swamp tupelo (best if there is running water), and water loving blueberries.

    4. Vines: Sweet autumn clematis, or the Virginia clamatis (this will flower very late in the season), and silver lace.

    5. If you have the invasive knockweed, turn a blind eye. They are a nectar source in late season.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Muenster, TX, USA
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    I kind of doubt planting nectar bearing plants solely for honey production is profitable, you'd be better $ ahead to plant bermuda and cut/sell hay or rent the pasture. That being said planting trees is said to yield more honey. The main nectar tree of North Texas is Western Soapberry. You can also try to grow black locust but it seems to do better in acidic soil. Which brings up soil acidity. IDK Rockwall very well. Most alkaline soils are black with underlying white limestone. Many of the plants listed above won't grow in Texas due to the heat and drought and several won't grow in most areas d/t the pH of the soil. You maybe far enough east to have a more acidic soil you'll need that for crimson clover. If your soil is black and alkaline then you can grow white clover (Apache), sweet clovers (don't bloom until the second year but a very good honey plant). Hairy vetch is also a very good honey plant and blooms the spring after planting in the fall. My brothers actually grow this for seed production and we made some very pretty honey from it this May. Weedy things that grow in North Texas are milkweed (green and antelope horn), sunflowers,and horsemint. If you wanted to till the soil and have more of a field setting then you could grow soybeans or buckwheat or sesame (honey crystalizes fast)

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Muenster, TX, USA
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: 8 acres of pasture, recommendations for planting for honey? North Texas

    I forgot, persimmons are also a big nectar tree. They bloom the same time as milkweed

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