Food Plots New to food plots ..help

Tn_Va_Hunter

Tn_Va_Hunter

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Ok guys. I’m wanting to plant something to attract more deer and help hold them on my place. There’s nothing around me other than fields that are cut for hay. I’m gonna send I’m a soil sample soon. From my reading most love to plant clover. But when do you plant and how low/high do you mow it ? When do you know when to mow ? Can you broadcast wheat into it later in the fall ? Sorry for all the newb questions. Thanks for your help

Edit to add. Plot will be around half acre. Maybe more once I learn what I’m doing.
 
bigtex

bigtex

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I'm no expert on food plots but i'll tell you what works for me. Sounds like your on the right track with getting a soil sample, that is very important.
Regarding Clover, I usually sow Clover in the Fall and overseed it with Winter Wheat. The wheat acts as a nurse crop. If it looks like I don't have a good stand of clover i'll "frost seed" it in December or January. I also overseed my clover with wheat every Fall. I have sown clover early Spring with pretty good results but IMO it does better if it's sowed in the Fall.
I sow Ladino clover because that is what works for me, but there are many varieties that are just as good or better. I usually mow my plots two or three times a year. Early Summer and last of August or first of September, if we have an unusually wet Summer I may mow three times, I usually mow it when it's a foot tall and never mow it lower than six inches. Since a bee keeper keeps 4-5 hives on my place I always let my Clover bloom before I mow.
I don't worry too much about weeds unless they try to choke out the clover, heck, the deer seem to prefer the weeds anyway.
Good luck with your plots, it's very satisfying to see deer and turkeys utilizing them.
 
T

TheLBLman

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bigtex":3cez75fh said:
. . . . heck, the deer seem to prefer the weeds anyway.

If you can simply selectively spray to eliminate grasses (such as fescue, but good luck on that),
the weeds that are "forbs" can greatly increase your amount of forage,
and are in fact often "preferred" by the deer over whatever we plant.

I often see deer picking the native ragweed out of a nice clover plot,
while seeming to ignore the clover.

Whatever you do, try to offer a compatible mixture, since different plant species mature at different times, and some are more hearty in either dry or wet conditions. Plant a variety of clovers and chicory, not just a single one, and allow your native forbs to co-exist with your clover plot ---- just try to eliminate the foreign grasses.
 
H

Hunter 257W

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Regardless of what some people say, the clover that Whitetail Institute sells is preferred much more by deer than clover you just buy at the CO-OP unless you are in an area where the deer are really hungry. And when you are just planting an acre or two or even much less than that, the cost/acre doesn't amount to enough money to worry about. The small bag of Imperial clover will run about $35 and should set you up well for a Spring through late Fall plot. I like to plant mine in February right before a snow or freeze so that the seeds get covered with dirt by the expansion of the top layer of freezing dirt. The soil sample is very important for clover for sure. You need a pH in the high 6 range at least and if you are really low, remember that it takes a few months after adding lime for the pH to go up. In other words, it's not recommended to add lime and plant the same day. Not saying that you won't get decent results that way but it would be best to lime then wait a few months before planting.

I don't mow my clover as the plot is small enough that the deer handle that for me. Grass has been my enemy in the past more than weeds in one particular part of that plot. Clethodim has saved me on that matter. Last Spring I had an overwhelming amount of wild grass in my clover but on April 1st I sprayed Clethodim and a month later I had a picture perfect plot. One strategy I like to do is to plant a taller annual around the edges of the plot, which is in the woods, then leave the center strip mostly clover. This allows the deer to graze the clover while feeling more secure. For the taller annual I've used both corn and a mix of corn and Pennington Seed Spring/Summer Deer mix. I've also mixed corn in with the latter for a really good plot that produces amazing amounts of feed. The Pennington mix does die with the 1st frost so keep that in mind if you go that route. That's one reason I like to put corn in it, to leave lots of feed available after frost and standing corn will hang there for weeks or even months and not mold like corn in a feeder so the deer can get it whenever they are ready.

https://www.pennington.com/all-products ... er-mixture
 
Tn_Va_Hunter

Tn_Va_Hunter

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Hunter 257W":eba3w48b said:
Regardless of what some people say, the clover that Whitetail Institute sells is preferred much more by deer than clover you just buy at the CO-OP unless you are in an area where the deer are really hungry. And when you are just planting an acre or two or even much less than that, the cost/acre doesn't amount to enough money to worry about. The small bag of Imperial clover will run about $35 and should set you up well for a Spring through late Fall plot. I like to plant mine in February right before a snow or freeze so that the seeds get covered with dirt by the expansion of the top layer of freezing dirt. The soil sample is very important for clover for sure. You need a pH in the high 6 range at least and if you are really low, remember that it takes a few months after adding lime for the pH to go up. In other words, it's not recommended to add lime and plant the same day. Not saying that you won't get decent results that way but it would be best to lime then wait a few months before planting.

I don't mow my clover as the plot is small enough that the deer handle that for me. Grass has been my enemy in the past more than weeds in one particular part of that plot. Clethodim has saved me on that matter. Last Spring I had an overwhelming amount of wild grass in my clover but on April 1st I sprayed Clethodim and a month later I had a picture perfect plot. One strategy I like to do is to plant a taller annual around the edges of the plot, which is in the woods, then leave the center strip mostly clover. This allows the deer to graze the clover while feeling more secure. For the taller annual I've used both corn and a mix of corn and Pennington Seed Spring/Summer Deer mix. I've also mixed corn in with the latter for a really good plot that produces amazing amounts of feed. The Pennington mix does die with the 1st frost so keep that in mind if you go that route. That's one reason I like to put corn in it, to leave lots of feed available after frost and standing corn will hang there for weeks or even months and not mold like corn in a feeder so the deer can get it whenever they are ready.

https://www.pennington.com/all-products ... er-mixture


Thanks to everyone for the advice.

When you frost seed I’m assuming your plots are ready to go. I’ve not sprayed weed killer or anything to kill the grass and weeds. Assuming this would need to be done ??
 
H

Hunter 257W

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Weed killers aren't going to work very much at all this time of year since they require the plant to be growing to kill. You do need bare soil exposed for frost seeding to work. It doesn't have to be 100% bare on the entire surface to be successful but there does need to be a lot of bare soil visible. Do you have a disk that you could run over the area a few times?

Having said the above though, we put clover on our fescue pastures every February for years and years and over time got a decent amount of clover growing for the cows. Some years we would run a disk over the pasture and some we would just broadcast the clover with no disking. Of course you have to expect a low % of your seeds to come up that way.
 
Tn_Va_Hunter

Tn_Va_Hunter

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Thanks for the advice. What type fruit trees you guys planning? You making orchards or spreading them out ??
 
D

diamond hunter

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Chestnuts for me,I spread mine out since the nuts are often gone by the time I'm ready to shoot.I use them as another attraction to make my place better and I might eat one myself.
 
M

MickThompson

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Plant your trees in groups of 4-5 if you plan to scatter them so there are others nearby to pollinate. Space them 20-40 feet apart.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Tn_Va_Hunter

Tn_Va_Hunter

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Thanks to both of you guys for the help !! Spring or fall a better time to plant such trees ?

Also what are you mixing with clover when planted ? Wheat ? Any certain brand ?
 
M

MickThompson

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I always plant dormant (December - March) if I can. I like bare root seedlings better than burlap or pot grown trees too. I seem to get better survival.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
D

diamond hunter

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Ive got 30 chestnuts producing now,more to come,all within reach of pollination,I also have 70 7 year old sawtooths,will be an attration as well in a few years. As for timing, you can plant now and they will be fine.Plant and protect and wait.
 
Tn_Va_Hunter

Tn_Va_Hunter

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diamond hunter":20omqfjc said:
Ive got 30 chestnuts producing now,more to come,all within reach of pollination,I also have 70 7 year old sawtooths,will be an attration as well in a few years. As for timing, you can plant now and they will be fine.Plant and protect and wait.


When you say within reach of pollination what exactly do you mean ? Sorry to sound dumb but I’ve never did this.

Did you purchase trees local or online ?
 
D

DavidW

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this is a good site for various trees for wildlife...www.wildlifegroup.com
 
Tn_Va_Hunter

Tn_Va_Hunter

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Thanks David. I actually found that site by google last night !! Have already sent a email to them.
 
D

DavidW

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Another good site for apples that is not too far from you in Reidsville, NC is Century Farm Orchard at http://www.centuryfarmorchards.com/
Their site gives a great description of apples and drop dates that I use as a reference.
 

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