Sitka Mountain Gear
Type of Fertilizer
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Buck15 18-May-18
Zap 18-May-18
jwoods 18-May-18
buckhammer 18-May-18
Killbuck 18-May-18
Deerplotter 18-May-18
nutritionist 19-May-18
Stressless 21-May-18
Stressless 21-May-18
Fuzzy 21-May-18
Buck15 23-May-18
DavidGallegos 23-Mar-19
DavidGallegos 23-Mar-19
From: Buck15
Hey all,

I just joined this forum today and i'm looking for some information or suggestions on fertilizer for my first food plot. A friend and I are planning on making a few small plots on some old skid roads in old cuttings in Maine. I bought some Antler King game changer clover and some Whitetail Institute No Plow. My problem is the No Plow calls for 13-13-13- fertilizer and the Game changer says to use 0-0- 60 or 5-15-30 and I CAN'T find these anywhere around me. All i can find is 10-10-10, 5-5-5, 29-0-4.

Can i substitute any of these instead of what is recommended?

Any information or suggestions is appreciated

Thanks Buck

From: Zap
Buck15, I have a farm in central maine, we use 0-20-20 for clover and 19-19-19 for all non clover plantings such as brassicas. It is easy to convert the amount you need of 13-13-13 to another fertilizer such as 19-19-19. If you have a Paris farmers union near you they carry these also Knights in Augusta has it .

You will need a bunch of pelletized lime per your soil sample to make the fertilizer work effectively. It will take several years to get your ph into a decent range. Most of my plots started at around 4.5. Good Luck Zap

From: jwoods
Ditto above. It won't matter how much or what kind of fertilizer you put out there if you have acidic soil. The low pH will tie up your nutrients. Lime has very low soil movement, so just spreading it on top and leaving it won't help much. Spread it and till it in.

Also, I don't know how familiar you are with fertilizer formulations, but the numbers are N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) and they are listed in percentage. For an example, if you have 100# of 10-10-10, you have 10# of nitrogen, 10# of Phos and 10# of Potassium. You can substitute one formulation for another. In you example, you can't get 13-13-13, but you can get 10-10-10. Its the same thing, you just have to 3% more weight to get the same amount of actual nutrient.

From: buckhammer
Make sure you use pelletized lime not ag lime. Pelletized lime will give your soil the boost it needs this year. Ag lime will only give your soil the boost it needs starting next year. Also you will want to make sure you incorporate it into the soil as soon as you spread it. Exposure to the air and sun will cause your fertilizer and lime to evaporate.

From: Killbuck
Ah, rookie food plotters. What others have said you will need to up your PH with Lime. It's a whole lot cheaper to dump lime and actually have your fertilizer work than use way more fertilizer and not have the plants be able to utilize it. Do a lot of reading!!!

From: Deerplotter
I work with many guys on establishing food plots here in the Midwest and 19-19-19 is a pretty good go to in this area. All the suggestions above about soil types are dead on- its cheap to do a sample don’t skimp-get it done.

From: nutritionist
Step 1 , take a soil test step 2, have the crop you intend to plant figures out and the correct size of the plot. step 3, get someone who knows how to properly match soil test to crop and correct amounts to your plot step 4, right place, right time step 5 scout your fields at least 1x a month to identify deficiencies and if more fertilizer is needed

90% of food plotters improperly fertilize their plots. Never ever use generic recommendations unless you cant find anyone to help you dial it in. That is why reputable companies should be able to do that for you.

From: Stressless
From talking with folks and starting on Plots after retiring from 30 years with the Military I had some questions like this, went and chatted with the local agronomist got schooled up and figured I'ld let Bill Gates do some heavy lifting for me with excel.

The issue is most folks get sideways AFTER a soil test, so lets assume that part away, they did do a soil test, they did take the soil samples correctly and got the results back. Most folks aren't chemists, (I'm Not!) so I took the agronomists knowledge and made a simple little way to get at:

How much Lime to add & How much P, and how much K to add to your individual little love nest for wildlife.

I will email you the excel if you PM with your email, this isn't a SPAM trap, All you need to do is:

1. Change my plots names to yours 2. add your soil sample results into the spreadsheet 3. add your Love Nest's (plots) acreage: OK an easy way to do this -(use google earth pro(GEP) Polygon), drag the corners to match your plots area, go to area in GEP and change to Sq Feet. Divide 43560 (Sq Ft in one acre) / by Sq Ft in your plot = your plots acreage. or decimal of an acre.

I'll be happy to help as I wanted to get the PH right and add the correct Fert for the soils... when I did this I was astonished, with two bulk fert I put exactly the right amount of P and K and spent $ for roughly 1,200# of Fertilizer. If using 14-14-14 I would have had to apply 4,700# and gotten my P way outa whack.

I don't do N as I have all nitrogen fixers in my plots, Clover, Alfalfa and Chicory.

Best - Stressless

From: Stressless

Stressless's DeerBuilder embedded Photo
Stressless's DeerBuilder embedded Photo

Sorry here's a pic of the Plot Calculator:

From: Fuzzy
Ditto Pat's advice. Also if you have access to clean wood ash, try a light application of ash to "sweeten" the siol quickly, while you're waiting for the longer term benefit of lime.

From: Buck15
Thanks everyone for the responses! The plot has been prepared fertilized and seeded, now I'm just waiting for some rain!


Well, planting of food plots is one of the single most effective way of attracting, growing, and keeping deer on your property.

You should spread organic fertilizer, which provides food for proper root development and continued growth. You may also consult a pest exterminator who can guide you about using of proper fertilizer, and can be used to supply plants with food and promote continued growth.

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