When it comes to planting wildlife food plots (including nut and fruit trees) this is the time of year to begin thinking about what to plant.
Since different seeds and trees need to be put in the ground from spring to early fall, making a written chart about what seeds and trees you want to include in your plots and when each should be sown is a crucial element to planting success.
Whether you plant a lot of plots on a big piece of land, or just a few plots on an acre or less of land choosing the right plantings is important. There are several categories of plants and trees to think about. Some plantings should be perennials and others should be annuals. There are also many different seed brands to consider. Different brands are specifically intended to do best on different types of soils, and equally important different locations from state-to state aka different planting zones.
The plants and trees mentioned below are all the types of plants that will attract deer to your food plots when you want them there the most – during hunting season from October to December or later.
Clovers: There are countless varieties of different types of clovers. The most important element for a food plotter is to plant extreme winter hardy red and white clovers like Marathon Red (my favorite brand), Outsidepride Red, and Mammoth Red brand clovers. Cold tolerant white clovers like Jumbo 11 Ladino, Alice White Clover, Aberlasting Clover, and Fixation Balansa Clover are top-shelf extreme winter hardy cover plantings that will also attract and benefit deer through spring and summer. For poorly drained wet areas and/or acidic soils Alsike Clover is an excellent choice.
Other Legumes: Sanfoin is a deep rooted perennial legume that is very drought resistant an excellent deer attractant. Hairy Vetch is a vining, winter- active legume. It may be annual or biennial. Subterranean Clover an annual that is very winter hardy freeze out takes place between zero and 10 degrees.
Herbs: Chicory is part of the sunflower family. It is a winter hardy perennial. It is an excellent food plot choice and no food plotter should be without it.
Brassicas: Forage rapes, radishes, swede, kale, and a variety of turnips. Any of these plants will withstand winter temperatures and consistently attract deer. I will touch base on each brassica variety in much more detail in my next blog. They are very important plantings for having deer in your plots during hunting season.
Beets: Sugar beets: This plant is a top-notch, very nutritious, leafy, palatable forage for deer. They are an exceptional winter hardy carryover potential with a high sugar and loaded with protein content. A must have planting for those who have enough land to plant.
Grains: For food plotters that have enough land to plant grains, the top-notch winter grain attractants include Winter Triticale, wheat, and barley. Other grains like Secale cereale (rye) feed corn, sorghum, and winter peas are also very good choices.
Oats: Buck Forage Oats are a wildlife specific oat variety that is late maturing into the winter. Other oats are created as early and late brads, short and long plant heights, high- yielding types, insect resistant kinds, etc.
Inoculants: Remember to provide the best growing clovers the seeds must be inoculated. The rhizobacteria commonly applied as inoculants include nitrogen-fixers and phosphate-solubilisers which enhance the availability of the macronutrients nitrogen and phosphorus to the host plant. These bacteria are commonly referred to as plant growth promoting rhizobacteria which clovers and other legumes require very specific types of inoculants.
My next blog will cover details about all the different brassica varieties and chestnut and other nut and fruit tree plantings.