Yesterday I met a duck walking along a road. When I asked him why he was walking along the pavement, he replied, “I’m trying to dry out. Even we ducks are fed up to our neck feathers with all the rain!”
The amount of rainfall throughout the Northeast and New England has been profuse over the last three months. There is no doubt the excessive amount of precipitation is causing significant issues regarding the planting of food plots for deer. The muddy ground makes it difficult (in some cases nearly impossible) to successfully disc, seed and prepare a seed bed. Additionally, trying to compact seed to achieve good seed to soil contact is next to impossible in this wet, muddy soil.
Over the last month, I have received innumerable emails asking what type of seeds can be planted in “wet” areas. Many of you have mentioned that the dry areas that you have normally planted are now too “wet” to plant seeds in. There isn’t much that can be done about the excess rainfall except to adjust to the types of plants that will tolerate and/or even thrive in wet and even flooded conditions. One of the very best plants I know to plant in wet, heavy is ALSIKE CLOVER.
Alsike actually does extremely well in poorly drained soils and will tolerate flooded and even completely waterlogged soil. I have used alsike in areas on our land that have been waterlogged, by the persistent excess rainfalls of the last couple of months. Alsike can even be planted successfully in areas that are termed to be “wetlands.” So, if your normally dry areas are currently too wet to plant clovers, brassicas, small grains and other seeds, you should seriously consider planting Alsike Clover as soon as possible.
For more food plot planting information visit our website. An autographed copy of my book “Shooter’s Bible Guide to Planting Food Plots,” is currently on sale for $14.95 plus shipping costs.
Alsike Clover (Trifolium hybridum)
Alsike is a cool-season perennial legume.
WINTER HARDINESS: Best brands of alsike clover for winter hardiness are called Aurora and Dawn.
PLANTING TIME: Spring to late summer when soil moisture conditions are favorable.
INOCULATE: Alsike must be inoculated with the proper strain (B).
PLANTED ALONE: Broadcast Alsike at 8 to 12 lbs. /acre.
PLANTED IN A MIX: A common mix is 6 to 8 lbs. /acre of alsike, 5 to 6 lbs. /acre of Birdsfoot trefoil and 50 lbs. /acre of cereal winter rye (adjust mixed seed depth to ¾ of an inch). Alsike can also be mixed with just red clover. Broadcast 8 to 12 lbs. /acre of alsike and 6 to 8 lbs. /acre of red clover (Marathon Red).
DEPTH OF SEED: Alsike should be planted ½ inch deep, and then cover the seed lightly using a drag and/or harrow.
FERTILIZER: Planted alone use 300 lbs. /acre of 8-24-24 at planting. Planted in a mix use 300 lbs./acre of 19-19-19
pH LEVEL: Alsike thrives in soils with a low PH.
SOIL CONDITIONS: Alsike does very well in wet soils where other clovers won’t survive.
MOWING: Like all clovers, alsike must be mowed at least twice (June and again in July).
HEIGHT: Alsike is a semi-erect plant. It reaches 1 to 3 feet.
ATTRACTION: Like all clovers, deer are highly attracted to alsike clover.
PRODUCTION: Alsike will achieve it best production from May to September.
PROTEIN LEVELS: Alsike cover will produce up to 25 percent protein.
CAUTION: Alsike clover can be deadly to horses. In either hay or pasture form, alsike is poisonous to horses and can kill horses within 24 hours of exposure. Alsike clover contains a toxin, thought to be an alkaloid, which causes severe damage to liver cells.