Food Plots Is there any hope?

buckaroo

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This past year I had about 1/4-1/2 acre spot on top of ridge cleared off for plot.It would make an awesome spot to hunt as there are oaks around it. It was a dry fall and it looks pretty pitiful now, but mostly because its covered with leaves from the oaks. Is there anything I can do besides cut my trees? I thought of try a tall growing perenial clover in spring?
 

Ski

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I've got 5 woodland plots that size and smaller, and 4 of them are on ridgetops. None have surrounding trees cut or thinned to allow more sun or minimize leaf litter. And all 5 plots attract and feed deer. So yes there is hope.

A few things are CRITICAL. First is being able to broadcast seed into exposed, loosened soil. Unless you're using a drill, the throw and mow method doesn't do well in these type plots. You have to expose soil and the seed has to be strong enough to root.

Second is lime. Oak leaves are quite acidic. You need the soil pH to be compatible with the seed you're putting down. That means lotsa lime.

Third but not least is broadcasting immediately before a good soaking rain. The rain will beat the seed into the fluffed soil, and nature will do its thing. I've broadcast clovers, grains, brassicas, peas, beans, etc. and they grow plenty well enough to attract deer, and they stay visibly green all through winter. I won't win the heart of a row cropping farmer, but its good enough for deer.
 

Ski

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Here's my most recent plot. It's on a high point knob. Cleared a few trees, used ATV disc to fluff and expose soil, then broadcast clover, peas, oats, and brassicas. First pic August 27th, bare dirt when I broadcast seed. Second pic is September 22nd. Less than a month and it's green and beginning to thicken up good. I'll get another pic this winter when I'm on property again. It'll be a green oasis in a sea of brown.
 

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DoubleRidge

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Check out some of Dr Grant Woods videos on small hidey hole food plots. On one of the videos he mentions leaves, thick thatch, etc. Being in a remote location he will burn off the plot which returns the nutrients to the soil and exposes the soil for the next crop.
One good thing about small plots like this is you can bag lime them with pelletized lime and if your going to choose between lime and fertilizer go with lime and consider adding cereal rye and winter wheat for a fall plot. Cereal Rye handles poor soil quality and will still grow well and both the cereal rye and wheat will be green through winter. Be prepared though, if you have high deer density, many times these small plots will get mowed down....but the shorter answer to your question is yes there's hope, lime it and increase the seed rate well above the recommended rate then sow before a rain, you can grow green plots that the deer will use.
 

DoubleRidge

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Thanks, since its just leaves now, I will lime and disc this spring to get something started

Also...on small plots you can consider using a backpack blower to move some of the leaves....backpack blowers can also be used to help create a firebreak around a plot if you chose to burn leaves...good luck with your project...habitat work can be very rewarding.
 

Ski

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Also...on small plots you can consider using a backpack blower to move some of the leaves....backpack blowers can also be used to help create a firebreak around a plot if you chose to burn leaves...good luck with your project...habitat work can be very rewarding.

The fire is something I really, really want to try but am hesitant because it scares me. Ain't no fire trucks getting back there if I screw up. I know it would really release a lot of nutrients, and the fresh carbon cover just begs for green growth. I think maybe I should give it a try later this winter.
 

deerhunter10

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We blow the leaves out of our. We have about a 2.5 to 3 acre clover field tuck in a spot terrible with leaves with oaks and a few other trees. I blow them out it helps them a ton. Doesn't take to awful long. A 1/4 acre plot isn't huge. The deer aren't wiping it out are they?
 

buckaroo

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We blow the leaves out of our. We have about a 2.5 to 3 acre clover field tuck in a spot terrible with leaves with oaks and a few other trees. I blow them out it helps them a ton. Doesn't take to awful long. A 1/4 acre plot isn't huge. The deer aren't wiping it out are they?
Pretty much, and leaves aren’t helping
 

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