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Deer Food Plots in Seven Easy Steps

the single most effective way of growing

holding attracting and hopefully

harvesting during your property is

through the use of food plots and when

we think about food plots we want to try

to shoot to have between five and ten

percent of our property in food plots we

arrived at that number over 25 years of

being in business we realize that with

normal deer densities if you're less if

you have less than five percent of your

property in food plots there probably

will come a time when you're going to

run out of food and as a result your

deer going to leave or you're going to

lose your deer to neighboring property

so try to have between five and ten

percent and of that five to ten percent

you want to break that up into

perennials so about half your plots

should be in perennial species like our

trophy clover mix that has clovers and

chicory in it that's going to be the

basis for your program that's going to

provide the whole deer family the high

protein high energy diet that they need

spring summer and fall for growing

antlers and for growing large bodies but

you don't want to forget about the rest

of the year you want to have a

year-round program so you need to have

late fall and winter species also

species like our Slam Dunk or our honey

hole or a fall winter spring even our

red zone that contain high energy food

sources that are going to be more sought

after by the deer in the late fall in

the winter months by doing that you're

going to have a year-round program and

you're going to offer the deer on your

property everything they need for

maximum antler growth and maximum body

growth and overall health

what I want to talk about is really

seven easy steps on how to plan a food

plot we're going to talk about the

importance of testing your soil

specifically for the pH of the soil

we're going to talk about conditioning

your soil through the use of liquid soil

conditioners and eliminating weeds going

to talk about importance of liming

fertilizing tilling seeding your plot

and then lastly maintaining your plot

through mowing and or liquid fertilizers

now the first step in planning food

plots is taking a soil test and what

we're really looking for there in a soil

test is the pH level of the soil that's

the environment that the plants have to

live in so we actually offer an instant

pH soil test kit to do it yourself and

what I did here is I went I got a soil

sample out of the field that we're in

added an equal amount of distilled water

to it you must use distilled water when

when using this kit broke off a stir

stick from a nearby tree stirred this

and this has been sitting here for about

15 minutes and now I'm going to take one

of the litmus strips that we get from a

soil lab dip it in here shake it off and

I'm going to compare this to the color

chart that we provide and this is

probably looks to be about a 5.5 and now

there's another chart here that'll tell

you how many pounds or tons of lime

you're going to need to add to your plot

to bring your ph up to a 6.5 or a 7 so

that's the first step and very very

important stuff

so the second step in planting food plot

is trying to eliminate the weeds I'm in

an area here we've got quite a bit of

vegetation growing and if I don't

eliminate these weeds even if I disc

them disks them up or till them up

they're probably going to come back and

create competition for the plants that

we want to grow so what I'm going to do

I've got a little backpack sprayer I've

already put a glyphosate roundup in here

along with some water and I'm going to

add a product called plot max to it the

plot max is a soil conditioner that

basically raises the pH of the soil

helps the soil retain moisture raises

the organic matter which basically is a

measure of the overall health of the

soil and in really in a nutshell what it

does is it creates the most fertile

environment for seeds to start growing

and for plants to thrive so that's what

I'm going to do we're going to spray

this area we're going to have to wait

seven days then for the roundup to do

its thing and then we're going to start

putting some lime down and fertilizer

down we'll be good to go

so the third step in planning a food

plot is applying lime if you need to

we took a soil sample we know we need to

apply lime now we're going to go about

doing it it's very very important what

lime does is raise the pH to create the

proper environment for plants to thrive

if we don't do that and we neglect or

ignore liming and we plant something

that needs a high pH and unfortunately

most things that we want to plant for

deer need a high pH basically a neutral

a 7.0 pH so if we ignore that and go

ahead and plant anyway we're going to be

very very disappointed with the results

because we're asking plants to thrive in

an environment they can't thrive in so

we need to apply lime we can buy it by

the 50-pound bag by barn lime pelletized

lime comes either in bulk or in 50

pounds pelletized lime is going to be

more expensive but you use about half

the rate and it breaks down and raises a

pH much much faster than barn light or

if you're fortunate enough to be in an

agricultural area and you can get a dump

truck into your plot you can get bulk

lime spread and that's going to be very

inexpensive and obviously you're not

going to have your labor involved in

doing that

irregardless of the method make sure you

get it done do not skip this this step

so the next step basically the four step

in planning a food plot would be to

apply our fertilizer we need to put our

lime down and our fertilizer down prior

to tilling so that we work them into the

soil so that when the the seeds

germinate and the roots starts growing

there's plant food available for that

plant so it's important also to marry up

the type of fertilizer with the type of

plot that you're planting there's

basically going to be three numbers

involved in it that identify fertilizer

the first is nitrogen your second is

phosphorous in the final number is

potassium for example legume type

species like clovers alfalfa's soybeans

really need a lot of potassium so if we

use a high nitrogen fertilizer on a

clover plot all we're doing is

encouraging grasses and weeds to grow

because that's what grasses and weeds

thrive on is nitrogen so make sure you

read the label on the seed that you're

going to use and virtually all seed

companies are going to suggest the type

of fertilizer that you want to use for

your plot

so we're on to step five so basically in

the tillage procedure what we're trying

to do is trying to disturb or loosen up

as much ground as possible and bear in

mind anything you can do to loosen up

the ground and will allow more seeds to

germinate and sprout and eventually grow

and be successful plants so you know if

you don't have equipment available you

might want to use a steel garden rake

and granted I I'm kind of aggressive but

I don't think I'd want to do a half acre

plot with a steel garden rake but

nonetheless anything you can do perhaps

using a drag section behind a

four-wheeler or a small disk behind a

four-wheeler or in this scenario here

I'm going to use a large disk behind

this tractor or tiller but anything you

can do to disturb the top hopefully six

inches of soil would be awesome great

all right in step six now we go on to

planting we've done our tilling we

fertilize we put down line we put down

our soil conditioner kill the weeds

we're ready to plant what we're going to

do is plan a little strip of our antler

king trophy clover mix here I disc the

area up and if you step out into that

plot after you've disc I sink down about

three inches okay so I'm going to need

to firm up that soil if I just broadcast

the seeds and drug over them or even

Cult a pact over them before I firmed up

the soil I'm going to bury these seeds

too deep these are tiny they have to be

less than a quarter inch deep so our

next step here is going to be the

cultivar to basically firm up the soil

we're going to broadcast the seed and

then cult a pack over one more time to

basically get good seed to soil contact

and that's all we're going to need to do

if if rain was in the forecast you know

what I would broadcast this stuff after

cult packing and walk away

let the rain work it in but in this case

we don't have rain coming for a week so

we're going to cultic broadcast and cult

effect now with some of the larger seeds

like our red zone for example seeds are

much larger and what we can do there is

broadcast them and then drag over them

with like a bra a spike toothed drag or

you can actually use a drill also so

those seeds can be up to an inch deep so

just bear in mind when you're planting

to keep in mind the size of the seed and

not to get the seeds too deep one thing

to keep in mind when you are broadcast

spreading seed for example our trophy

clover mix the seeds are tiny and seven

to eight pounds is the seeding rate per

acre okay an acre

bear in mind an acre is basically a

football field so we're only putting

down approximately eight pounds of seed

on a football field so just barely crack

open your cedar go over that whole area

go over your whole plot and take a seed

inventory if you got more seed left go

over it again if you still have seed

left maybe you could open it that

setting up one more click but if you

have it wide open you're going to be out

of seed before you get across a tenth of

size of your plot

so basically we're on the seventh step

we've planted our plots our plots are up

and growing what do we do with them now

in the case of annual crops like corn or

soybeans brassicas and so on we really

don't want to do anything as far as

mowing them we want to encourage their

girl so basically what you can do is you

could spray them with a liquid

fertilizer fertilizer like our jolt we

realize that few people can plant five

to ten percent of their property and

food plots so we've developed jolt to

stimulate growth this has been developed

to provide plants food for a 30-day

period so once the plants are up and

growing we'll spray these plots once

every 30 days and we can really maximize

the tonnage on each and every food plot

in the case of a perennial mix like our

trophy clover mix with the chicory I've

got some grasses coming up in here so I

can either mow these when they get to be

a certain height or if I see that the

clover starting to flower I definitely

will mold them if I want to get rid of

these grasses what I can do is what

we've got going here is we've got a

grass killer in this sprayer

specifically only kill grasses we're

going to add jolt to it and in one pass

mike is going to get rid of the grasses

and fertilize the clover so we'll get

maximum growth out of this particular

pot and get rid of those grasses so

pretty simple but very very cost

effective and it's a great way to

stimulate the tonnage on each and every

plot

all right

finished up remember those seven steps

we took a soil test and what we were

primarily interested in was the pH level

of the soil we put a soil conditioner

down along with a glyphosate or roundup

to kill the weeds we applied our lime

applied our fertilizer tilled that soil

up planted it and then after those crops

up we maintained it either mowed them if

they're a perennial sprayed the weeds

that were in them if they're a perennial

or fertilize them or did all of the

above so our goal at antler king is to

provide products and service to make you

guys successful any questions visit our

website at www.allaboutdoors.com

come back in and I'm going to broadcast

our no sweat which is the most

user-friendly

mix that we have ever ever developed

it's a mixture of perennials and annuals

so we can get a couple years maybe even

up to three years out of this plot so

I'm going to wait a week come in and

broadcast broadcast spread the no sweat

as the existing vegetation dies it's

going to fall back down to the ground

and form a mulch in this no sweat will

come right up through there once the no

sweat plants emerged then I'll come in

and hit it at least every month with

jolt and you will be absolutely amazed

what you can do what you can accomplish

without any equipment at all