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Planting Season is Coming – Think Weed Control!

In what seems to me as a mere blink of my eyes, another planting season is about to spring (pun intended) upon food plotters. As the planting season begins, the inevitable thought of what types of herbicides should be used to reduce or eliminate weeds in wildlife food plots comes to the forefront.

Broadleaf Elimination

A common weed problem is broadleaf control. There are two herbicide options to manage broadleaf weeds. Herbicides have 41% or 53.8% Glyphosate or Glufosinate. The latter is more effective in killing broadleaf weeds; both are expensive. There is a more affordable herbicide called 2,4-D that will kill weeds. 2,4-D has the highest level of weed control when the temperature is above 60° F.

Weed Free Grain Plots

When growing small grain crops including wheat, rye, oats, barley, and triticale the first several weeks of early growth periods is when weeds become a serious issue. That is the time when it is important to minimize weed competition in small grain plots. If weed control measures are not implemented in time, weeds will eventually overtake a food plot. A good rule of thumb is to apply 2,4-D to weeds that are 3 to 4 inches tall.

Because 2,4-D is a systemic chemical, it works best when weeds have some leaves. The chemicals get absorbed by the plant through foliar uptake and are absorbed by the exposed leaves and stems, to effectively kill the plant. Unlike other herbicides, 2,4-D has very few soil residual properties. It is also applicable in aquatic environments where legal.

2,4-D Products

2,4-D products are available in either ester or amine formulations. Ester formulations have a high vapor pressure therefore they are prone to drift. That’s dangerous if you have young fruit or nut trees, or even other legumes, clovers, or brassicas planted near the grains. Therefore, the amine salt formulation is a much better and safer choice.


There is a conundrum about using 2,4-D on grains, however. If you search the web about using 2,4-D, you will undoubtedly find conflicting information regarding the use of 2,4-D on cereal grains. However, this advice refers to small grains grown as agriculture for farm animals. Not as grains grown for deer forage.


2,4-D can kill very pesky milkweed. To totally eradicate it, apply 2,4-D when the plant is dry, actively growing and buds have formed. At this stage, glyphosate travels to the roots quicker and kills the plant more thoroughly. If the application rate is too low, or even applied during the wrong stage of milkweed growth, 2,4-D may not kill milkweed thoroughly, and it will eventually grow back. Kill the snot out of it the first time.


It is important to note that 2,4-D is NOT an herbicide for all types of plants. For instance it should never be used on brassicas. They are very vulnerable to 2,4-D. Always wear eye protection, gloves, long sleeves, long pants, socks, and leather shoes when working with herbicides.

Booking A Food Plot Consultation

For more than 25 years, I have specialized in helping food plotters design well-rounded food plot programs.

Some topics covered during an on-site consultation:

·      Identifying winter hardy clovers that survive sub-freezing temperatures

·      What clovers survive and thrive in wet ground or even in standing water

·      What plantings make absolute fail-safe food plots

·      How to grow chestnut trees that produce nuts starting at 2 to 4 years old

·      Identifying fruit tree varieties that drop fruit in November or December

·      What are the best brassicas and how to plant them for the best results

·      Planting brambles, shrubs, and vines for food and cover

·      The value of small hand-dug water holes

·      How to create an effective sanctuary that will work to harbor deer

·      Soil evaluations, using herbicides, food plot placement, fertilizing, developing cover, stand locations & much more

·      Each client receives a complimentary autographed copy of my latest book “The Definitive Guide To Planting Food Plots”  

March – booked; April – I have 2 openings; May - 1 opening; June - 2 openings; July - entirely open; August - 2 openings; September - 2 openings. Please call email me at or call 607-783-2055, or 845-341-3326 to book a half-day (4 hours) or a full day (8 hours).

Check out my latest food plot book on our website: “The Definitive Guide To Planting Food Plots” at or Read what Daniel E. Schmidt, Editor-in-Chief of Deer and Deer Hunting magazine has to say on the front cover of my book.









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