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Food Plot Question

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Food Plot Question

Postby FireCloud » Sat May 07, 2011 10:26 pm

Ok, fellow members, I need your advice. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which has been far too much work, I have not been able to deal with my food plot for the past several weeks. During that time, many of the seeds planted last year "overwintered" and regenerated in the early spring. I now have a variety of wildlife food items growing in the plot, some of which are fully matured and need to be taken out.

Last fall, I planted a mix of Austrian Winter Peas, Bob Oats, Winter Wheat, and Elbon Rye. Most of the three grains are well over knee high and all three have matured, with the heads fully ripe with plenty of grains. The Austrian Winter Peas are slightly smaller in height and have not produced any peas but do have plenty of foliage.

I don't really want to leave the three cereal grains or the winter peas in the plot any longer. The coming hot weathe will kill all four of these plants very soon. But the problem is that underneath at least half the plot is a decent, healthy stand of white clover. The clover is from seeds planted two seasons ago which managed to get established fairly well. I want to keep the clover in the plot for the summer and help it grow. Here is a photo of the clover.

- 030.jpg


I am considering simply mowing the plot down to two or three inches high, which should get rid of the three cereal grains pretty effectively, while also distributing the grains everywhere throughout the plot which might help a turkey or two. I suspect the winter peas will continue to grow however. I know the clover won't be hurt by the mowing at all.

Is this a good idea that might allow the clover to continue to grow and spread in the plot this summer? And if I do that, should I overseed some more clover in the areas where it is thin, perhaps using a different kind of clover to add some variety? What about fertilizing? What should I use, when should I apply it, how much should I use, etc. to give the clover it's best chance? The grains and peas are so tall and thick in the plot if I mow, it will create a lot of "hay" all over the ground. Should I rake the plot after I mow in order to remove most of the straw? Or should I disk it all up and plant something else for the summer? Seems like the clover would be as good a deer attractant as anything else for the summer plot.

Can some of you expericenced clover plot growers help me out here? Thanks for any suggestions.

Here are a couple pictures of the grains and peas growing in the plot. You can see the clover is pretty healthy underneath the other plants. You can also see how tall the grains and peas have grown.

- 025.jpg


- 026.jpg
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Re: Food Plot Question

Postby FireCloud » Sat May 07, 2011 10:34 pm

Here are a few more pictures.

- 027.jpg


- 038.jpg


- 032.jpg
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Re: Food Plot Question

Postby gtk » Sun May 08, 2011 7:29 am

I say leave it. The cereal grains my keep some of the weeds from growing. I wouldn't bushog it till the fall.
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Re: Food Plot Question

Postby huntall » Sun May 08, 2011 11:37 am

Mowing it will really help the clover grow!
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Re: Food Plot Question

Postby brewer03 » Sun May 08, 2011 8:24 pm

mow it at about 5 to 6 inches but let the clover finish seeding first then come back with a fertilizer that does NOT have nitrogen in it. clover produces its own nitrogen..
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Re: Food Plot Question

Postby FireCloud » Sun May 08, 2011 8:57 pm

Thanks Brewer. The clover came from seed in a commercial Wildlife mix I planted two seasons ago. It did germinate, made a fairly good stand back then, probably reseeded a little, and has definitely spread a lot more this year.

I don't remember what clover was in the Wildlife Mix but I am guessing it is NOT the oridinary "small leaf" white Dutch clover that is essentially a weed. My guess is it might be Ladino clover as the leaves appear to be "intermediate" sized clover leaves that seem too large for Dutch clover. Can you tell from the pictures if this clover is Ladino or some other white clover variety, such as "Patriot" or "Durana." Because of the expense of these last two seeds, I am doubting the Wildlife Mix had any clover better than the Ladino in it.

Still, the Ladino would be fine with me and if that is what it is, it should grow well at this site. I did apply 280 pounds of bagged lime last October to this 5,000 SF plot. I did not do a soil test, but I am thinking that should be enough for right now based on the application rate. The site is sloped enough to be well drained but does have partial shade in the summer. The soil has some clay in it too and is below average in quality however I will be working to improve it by adding organic matter. I'm thinking if this is Ladino clover it would be about the best thing for a summer food plot.

However if this clover is White Dutch, I am probably going to disk everything in the plot under and plant something else. I really don't want a White Dutch clover plot so I need help identifying what kind of clover this is.

Also, when will the clover finish seeding so I can mow? Thanks for any help you can provide.
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Re: Food Plot Question

Postby brewer03 » Mon May 09, 2011 9:21 am

from the picture it resembles the durana clover we have in our plots. We will wait til the middle of June to cut ours because of turkey nesting then we fertilize with a 0-8-8 fertilizer...all this is dependant upon getting some rain... The thing you dont wanna do with the clover is cut it to short because with our hot Mississippi summers you can burn it up.... One of the ways to tell more of a difference in the clovers the higher quality whites have a sweeter smell... My grand dad used to tell by the number of honey bees that would be attracted to it..... We attempt to save any of the white clovers that come out in our plots because reseeding can get expensive....
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