When asked what are the most popular seeds for food plots – it is without a doubt clover!
Hunters like planting clover because it is easy to plant and is a perennial, so it doesn’t have to be planted every year. Deer like it because it is palatable and also nutritious.
So should YOU plant clover?
The answer depends on several factors.
Presumably your goal is to attract and hold deer on your property. To do this successfully, you would need to offer the deer something they can’t easily get anywhere else close by.
So if your neighbor has planted clover, you are unlikely to achieve your goal.
If your neighbor has planted clover you may want to consider planting other popular options such as alfalfa, ryegrass, triticale, birdsfoot trefoil, crownvetch and orchard grass.
So when choosing seeds for food plots, consider what has been planted by neighbors first, and go with something they haven’t planted if possible.
The decision to plant clover may be easy, however with the options available, choosing one may be difficult. There are many different types of clover and each one thrives better under certain soils and climates:
- Red clover
- White clover
- Ladino clover
- Osceola clover
- Webfoot clover
- Arrowleaf clover
- Millennium clover
- Crimson clover
- Kenland clover
- Berseem clover
To make the decision even harder some of the varieties has sub-varieties – such as ladino that has titan, tilman, osceola, arcadia, sonja and merit.
A lot of hunters are now using clover blends, that comprise several types of clover together. The reason is that each variety of clover does well under certain conditions such as the soil type, moisture level, heat range and insect/disease resistance.
When planting a blend, there is a higher rate of success because the individual characteristics are combined and so do well under a range of conditions.
An example is formulated by the Whitetail Institute of North America and is called Imperial Whitetail Clover which is a blend of ladino and many other clovers, and is suitable for most of the U.S. and southern Canada.
Remember to check the product literature to ensure that the clover blends you purchase are suited to your part of the country as some are only suitable for the deep South.
In the rank of seeds for food plots, alfalfa comes a close second to clover and is a strong favorite of deer.
As with clover, there are several popular varieties:
- Forever alfalfa
- Florida 77
Keep in mind when choosing alfalfa that it is legume and so has the power to extract nitrogen from the air and utilize it in its roots.
This means the fertilizer mix usually has no nitrogen, however it does need a lot of lime as it doesn’t do well in acidic soils.
Alfalfa requires good fertile and well-drained soils so does not thrive in the deep South.
Specialist Seeds for Food Plots
As hunters have wanted to improve their food plots to attract more deer all year round, newer blends and combinations have become available.
For plots in remote locations where getting equipment in is a problem, hunters wanted a seed variety that could be planted without cultivation or equipment. Products were developed such as Imperial No-Plow that were suited to difficult access areas with poor soils.
It comes in 2 varieties for spring/summer planting and a fall/winter planting.
Another brand in recent years that is proving popular is by Biologic [a subsidiary of Mossy Oak] and is called Biologic New Zealand Full Draw. They claim it is their most attractive fall planting because it instantly offers deer a high level of nutrition from the moment of germination until plant maturity.