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Food Plot

Part 4 of 5

Care and Maintenance of New and Existing Plots

Farming food plots is fun. Also, you will have more success hunting if you have food plots. Food plot maintenance has three parts:

  1. Weed control
  2. Fertilizing
  3. Hair cuts

1. Weeds

To care for your newly planted plots, you can spot treat volunteer weeds and wild grasses with weed killer in a hand pump sprayer.  It is important to kill weeds before they get big and stunt the growth of your crops, and before they go to seed.  I use Round up or glyphosate in a pump sprayer.  Later when weeds are dead, I rake and broadcast more of the seeds I want to grow.

2. Fertilizer

Fertilizer (granular) is best applied right before discing so it can be incorporated into the soil.  It can also be applied after you plant with a hand held or pull behind broadcast spreader.  You can also use a water soluble foliar fertilizer like Nutri-Plot for established plants.  If you fertilized before you disked, wait 6 weeks before fertilizing again.  Less is better.  Too much fertilizer can burn your crop. For larger plots, an ATV mounted sprayer for foliar fertilizing is more efficient.  You might consider fertilizing again late summer on a new field that is heavily grazed.   Foliar or granular fertilizer both work.

3. Hair Cuts

If deer are not grazing down your food plots, you may need to trim them.  Some clovers do well if you mow them when they are more than 12 inches tall.  For small plots, a push mower set high or a weed whip will work. Once your crops are sprouted you can broadcast seed on bare areas and rake it in so it doesn’t sit on top of the dirt and get baked by the sun.  In early fall when deer and turkey feed in prep for winter, your food plots may get ravaged.   In August you might consider over seeding brassicas for hunting late season.  Brassicas have high oil content and stay green even under snow.  Cold weather brings out the sugars in these plants too.   Food plot plants that get too tall tend to fall over and die.  Cutting them like your mow your lawn if they get too tall will encourage growth and extend their growing season.  Do NOT fertilize right after cutting as this might shock the crop.

Next is part 5 – The Big Picture: Epilogue – When things Go Wrong

Linda K Burch

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Regional Directors

Regional Directors organize
and participate in
shoots and shows

Julia Heinz
Alaska and the Yukon

Kathy Russell

Tammy Hartline
North Alabama, Mississippi p
and North Georgia

Synthia Wilson

Kim Hose
Rachel Baker
Beth Milligan
Jo Rice
Angelina Coopersmith
Jenny Paul
 Mara Osborne
North Carolina


Tracy Rowe




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