When planting food plots for deer, most hunters think of clover, alfalfa and perennial grasses such as trefoil, triticale and orchard grass because they have proven themselves.
In recent times, blends and new varieties have appeared to better suit a variety of soils, weather and terrain.
There are some general principles for planting however due to the wide variety of seeds now available, always refer to the instructions or video relating to the particular seed you are planting.
It is assumed that a soil test and appropriate liming will have been carried out several months prior to planting.
One of the most common mistakes hunters make when planting [particularly clover] is to plow and/or disk a weed field and then plant their seeds. This is because the area will quickly be taken over by weeds that have grown from the seeds turned under.
The best way to avoid this is to first use a herbicide such as Round-Up or Arsenal to remove the competition for your seeds. Using an Atrazine-Princep blend is even better as it also prevents dormant weed seeds from germinating.
10-14 days after applying the herbicide, the ground should receive fertilizer based on the soil test.
This is now the correct time to plow and/or disk the ground ready for planting.
To get the best rate of germination, don’t plant the seed and wait for rain! It is better to wait until some steady rain is forecast and plant the seeds about 72 hours before the rain is due to fall.
The question is often asked “how deep should I plant the seeds”?
As a general guideline, the seed should be planted at a depth equal to 4 times the length of the seed.
This means if you are planting clover seeds that are very small, its not necessary to bury the seeds, and all that is required is to go over the ground with something like a drag-roller to simply press the seeds into the soil.