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Food plots and fertilizer and maintenance?


BLACKJACK

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I know when you fertilize your lawn its good for it, keeps it healthy, even though you end up mowing more often. Correlating that to my food plots, especially the clover spots, I had them soil tested and they recommended putting on just potash, so as I'm making calls on fertilizer and a spreader I'm thinking that if I put on their recommended amounts, the clover will grow great guns and early in the year I'll probably end up mowing it to keep it young and fresh for the deer or else it getts too stalky. I've also learned in the past not to mow it too late into fall, it doesn't have time to grow back and by Nov 1 the deer have it mowed down to the roots. What do you guys do with your clover spots for fertilizer and maintenace? How long do your clover spots last before you end up retilling and replanting? Seems like I'm lucky to get three years before the grass overtakes them.

Also on the annual planting like turnups, rapeseed, etc., what do you do for maintenance on them? Do you mow them or just let them grow tall and woody?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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I top dress my clover plots at least one time throughout the Summer and in some plots, I top dress a couple of times depending on how the plants are looking. You will need to mow the clover a couple times throughout the Summer. I like to let the plant flower out first so the new seed is dispursed throughout the plot. If you do this, a plot will last longer than three years. One of mine is on its fifth year. Be sure to take a drag section or disc and lightly work the plot a time or two to regenerate growth in the plot, you will be surprised how well this will work to bring new growth. There are a couple of chemicals you can use to control grass but they are pretty expensive. Off hand I do not remember the names but Vantage comes to mind...I could be blowing smoke however....I am getting old! I mostly just mow for weed control. Anyway, that is my method. Good luck with your plots!

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Your Plots will not last unless you are proactive and take action with chemicals. Anyone whot tells you it will

work without them are wrong. Herbicides and fertilizer are not that expensive if you know where to look.

Go to the same places where your local farmers go. Ask a farmer around where you live where he buys his stuff.

You can buy Poast Herbicide for about $125 for 2 1/2 gallon jug. This is enough for about 10 acres. It will

last for more than one year as well. You can also then spray your clover 2 or 3 times a year and you will never have a

a grass problem again. Also buy your fertilizer in bulk. Yes it is messy to put 1500 pounds inthe back of

the pickup, but you will pay about 1/2 what it would cost in bags. Put a tarp down before they dump it.

Clean up is then a snap. Food plots are much cheaper when you treat it more like actually farming than a

hobby. By buting your fertilizer in bulk you can save some for several applications all summer. It stores well

in the plastic garbage cans. The top few inches will get hard from moisture, but the rest will remain fine.

Also don't more your clover plots past about the first weekin August because the deer hit them so hard you will

need all the growth you can for them. It is nice watching how your clover dissappears in the fall even though it

is growing like crazy.

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I fertilize my clover plots around the beginning of May and again in early/mid August. I follow my soil tests as closely as I can and usually end up going with something prebagged like 5-14-42.

I've found that mowing my clover in early/mid June is critical to controlling weeds and having a nice stand of clover over the summer. I mow again in early/mid July and usually again in early August but I don't mow after the middle of Aug.

When I first started my plots I was hesitant to mow, but it's great at knocking back the weeds. And it sparks new growth in the clover, which in turn sparks an increase in how much the deer use the plot. The mowing is pretty much a pain in the rear end, but it gives results.

Last year was the first year I did much spraying for grass, using Poast Plus. It cost about $130 for 2.5 gallons and I split the purchase with a buddy that does food plots. The spraying really worked well and this year I'll definately spray again for grass and may even try 2,4D-B for broadleaf control in my clover.

I've got 2 clover plots going into their 4th year and they look great already.

For the turnips and rapeseed you mentioned, don't mow them. You want them to get as big and leafy as possible before the deer devour them in the fall. I use a general fertilizer like 19-19-19 when I plant them and usually hit them again with trip-19 in August.

Good luck, I hope some of this helps.

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They don't make Poast Plus anymore, only regular Poast which is exactly the same thing. Also 2,4D-b will kill your clover unless you know exactly what you are doing. Another thing you canbuy generic Roundup sold under the name Mirage Herbicide for about 1/2 what roundup goes for.I think I paid about $70 for 2 1/2 gallons last year. Rmember the more you save the more you can plant.

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Just remember one thing, many will recommend that you plant rye or other grasses with your clover the first year. Be sure you know what chemical you are spraying or you will kill the rye grass as well. In the second year, you will be ok. Also, don't spray round-up or generic round-up on your clover. Use is for weed control prior to planting your clover. Just FYI!

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Here are a couple of good information sources on weed control the first link is for the U of M and the other is for NDSU. Both are very informative and cover some of the same information but the NDSU link has a number of minor crops covered in it as well. It is important to know what you are doing before you either buy herbicides or apply them. It is kind of like to old adage measure twice cut once. I don't mean to make it out as being difficult but you do need to take your time and ask lots of questions so you buy the proper product for the job and use it correctly. I'm not sure it is OK to post these links but since they are not selling anything I don't think anyone will care.

http://appliedweeds.coafes.umn.edu/weedbul.htm

http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/weeds/w253/w253w.htm

Good luck and post your questions here and you will get some good information in return.

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Good links Beeber. Just wanted to thank you for your effort in getting all this good information to all of us. I see that you are into ag research so I really respect the information you provide all of us wannabe farmers! Keep the information coming!

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Anytime, jlm

I enjoy helping out when I have a chance. Now if I can just get someone to share their favorite fishing spot grin.gif

Later

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I am giving a food plot a try this year. I have many different types of seed from gander mountain fleet farm, and you know what ever else catches my eye in the store. I was just planning on tilling up the land where I want it and trimming branches to let light in on it. I will probably just bye the bags of Fertilizer they have at Gander Mountain for around $10 a bag then spread it in with the seed. If Anyone thinks I am going at this wrong or has pointers I am open for them. I am not going to plant until around May 20th. Thats when all my apple trees are arriving. Want to do it all in one shot. Also wondering? I have been buying those big salt blocks from fleet farm. I was leaving them all whole. Someone mentioned to break them up and mix them into the ground with the soil. Anyone have thoughts on this? The land is old River bottom so things seem to grow well in there, but I can't get out there to often. I am definatly putting fencing around the apple trees for a few years until they are big enough to handle themselves. Any other things deer can't resist? I have heard all kinds of weird stuff like pumpkins, potatoes. Who would have thought. Could all be bull___ though. Anyway I'm very excited to see the results later on this summer. Thanks in advance. grin.gif

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Cervids love pumpkins & apples but might suggest going easy on the potatoes. The vines contain solanine, same toxin as in black nightshade, which can make an animal sick or if enough is ingested, can kill them. The potatoes themselves are no problem.

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Be a little careful about mixing the fertilizer with your seed as you run the risk of burning your seed and it will not germinate. This is dependent on the amount of N in your fert. mix and how much you are spreading. I would not mix the two and plant in one pass rather apply them separately.

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Has anyone ever tried planting sugar beets in a food plot?I just recently ordered some seed and was going to give them a try.We just planted several other plots with different blends and was looking to see what works the best! Thanks Jigster

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I know that they sure like suger beets in ND. You will see deer in their often. I am sure that they would work.

Question for all of you? What is a good form of spray for clover. I have already planted it but want to spary here in the next few weeks. Just woundering what you would recommend that will not harm my clover?

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Jigster, I tried a few sugar beets last year - they were in a brassica mix and were less than 10% of the mix. As far as I could tell none of them grew.

iffwalleyes, you need to be careful spraying your clover. Sethoxydim, which is sold as Poast and Poast Plus and some other names, will take out grass and not hurt your clover, but it won't take out any broadleaf weeds. You're really limited in options for spraying broadleaf weeds in clover - I've only heard of 3 things that work. One is 2,4D-B, one is a herbicide called Slay that the Whitetail Institute is selling this year, and the other is a 1% solution of Roundup (sounds risky to me but there's some guys on the QDM site that swear by it). I've only sprayed Poast for grass control, or used full-strength Roundup to kill everything. Mowing your clover is a pretty effective way to keep the weeds in check.

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OK I was thinking that mowing would be the best. Next question I have some ground worked up that I haven't seeded yet. Can I spray it and then seed it right after spraying or would that be a dumb idea.

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If the ground was already worked I don't know what you'd spray on it. All the herbicides I'm familiar with are post-emergents -- you spray them on growing weeds.

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iffwalleyes,

For clovers you have a number of options postemergence:

Pursuit: Annual grass and broadleaf weed control

Raptor: Annual grass and broadleaf weed control and Quackgrass suppression

2,4DB: Annual broadleaf control and decent activity on perennial broadleaves

MCPA: Annual broadleaf control.

POAST: Annual grass control

Select: Annual and perennial grass control

Bronate Advanced: Annual broadleaf control and some perennial broadleaf suppression.

Follow label directions and watch your rate and your adjuvants as some of the above can injure seedling legumes

Good luck

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Where have you purchased your Poast Plus from and your 2-4-DB? I am from the Rockville area and I am looking to order some. I contacted the Cold Spring Co-op and they do not carry this. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Weeds are starting to grow rapidly in my clover plot and from the research I have done I will need to apply these herbicides as well as mow the plots. So, if anyone in the local area knows of where to purchase them, I would really appreciate the information! Thanks.

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2,4DB is not a commonly used product in most Ag areas. Your best bet is to get in touch with the distributor that supplies the Cold Spring Co-op and ask them directly. I wouldn't mix your POAST and the 2,4DB together however as I'm pretty sure 2,4DB will antagonize the grass control of POAST.

Good luck

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I agree beeber. There can be some antagonism with 2,4-DB so a separate operation will generally give you the best weed control. And, for those who can't get Poast or Poast Plus, there are some other products including Select, that will work in its place. Dealers try to limit their product line to cut down on inventory.

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