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Freezing After Germination
First time poster and first time food plotter here, so bear with me! Im located in Central Ontario, Canada
I have an acre plot set up in a bush lot of maple/white oak mixed with poplar/aspen. The bush lot is very wet and is surrounding a large maple swamp which the deer use as a feeding ground and travel corridor all winter. My treestand is on the high water mark facing a clearing. The 1 acre clearing was turned and planted. The seed is a clover mix from the local feed and seed and was frost seeded two weeks ago during (what I thought was) the first week of spring weather. The seed all seems to have germinated, but mother nature threw a tantrum over the last 3 days with below freezing temperatures, snow and freezing rain.
All that to ask; is my seed still going to grow? Or should I be heading to buy more and wait a couple more weeks?
Thanks in advance Josh
Should survive freezing, especially if some snow fell on it. Are you sure the frost was out of the ground?
The frost was definitely still in the ground, but the way I understood frost seeding was that seeding with frost in the ground was the goal? We dont get snow on the ground without frost this time of year.
There wasnt enough snow to keep it insulated, 1-2" at best that only covered it for half a day at best (welcome to Canada where you get all 4 seasons in one day!). Lots of cold (-5C, 23F) and 50-80km/h winds (30-50mph-ish) for the last three days
Oh, that's not too bad. -6F here 2 days ago and has been snowing about 30 hours. Winds not that bad. Only time will tell, but I think your clover will be fine.
I highly doubt all, or even most of your seed germinated. We have had a prolonged winter here in Iowa. I can’t imagine your’s being milder. Agree with LKH. Good chance the frost up there isn’t fully gone yet. You will, most likely, see several more freeze/thaw cycles in the next month. I would bet you will be fine.
IMHO the cold is not a threat to your plot, but water is. Soil is best described as 50% dirt, 25% water, and 25% air. The biggest threat IMHO is the plot getting soaked and the clover getting drowned out after spring thaw
T-Roy, the seed has germinated, the spot was worked up and sunny with 10-15C weather for two weeks after, and its not hard to tell when a seed has started to sprout...
Michael, thats a worry of mine too as the ground where the plot is has never been submerged in 12 years Ive had this property, but it can get very damp in the spring... what would you suggest if it doesn't do well due to moisture?
The only thing you can do is install drain tile, aka a french drain. Big farmers do it with a large tractor and a specialized plow, or hire it done custom. For most food plot folks, the method described on this site by Pat (site administrator) is a good option, and well worth the effort IMHO given your case. A good clover/clover mix plot in the area you described would be killer!! Search this site for french drain or drain tile.
Clover seedlings love cold/wet weather
If the plot fails this year I would go in mid july and till/plant a mix of brassicas and winter rye/oats, and fertilize well. You will get a MAJOR draw for hunting season and this winter. You could just do it that way every year, put in buckwheat after last frost, then plow it down mid summer to put in the brassica greens and grains plot. Grandpa rays outdoors has some great mixes available, or if you are in a farming area do as I do and get ag seed at the farm coop for much cheaper.