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Kentucky Food Plot
I am in need of help. I want to plant clover plots in KY. Our current PH (we have 3 plots) is between 6.5-7 (tested by whitetail institute). I have been researching a lot about how to do clover plots. There is so many discussions about how to and what to mix with and when to plant. The problem is, I am a novice and don't always understand the high level discussions. Can someone please help elaborate a step by step process? From what I gather fall is best to plan, mixed with wheat or cereal rye (not sure exactly how to do that). When to spray, mow, etc. We have been doing plots there for 2 years. Soybeans, radishes, turnips, honey hole. All grew really well. Problem is a have small plots, 1 acre and 2x .5 acre plots. I really need to understand weed control. This is biggest problem. Tons of weeds. We tried spraying and couldn't stop them (they have taken over the plots). We are 5 hours from this property so we need something easier to maintain because we aren't around enough to watch it. Thanks in advance. Also if your from Greenup County area, maybe some advice on what to plant. Deer crush these plots, but always at night and these are secluded areas.
I am very close to Greenup Co. I think your problem is simply you are too far away to maintain your plots. Clover is great. You can frost seed it and you can have a great stand of clover this spring but it will need mowed to control weeds. I am thinking your best bet is to locate somebody local to tend to your plots.
Can you explain frost seeding? Did you have a terrible year for deer? We didn't see much and seemed like herd is almost non existent. Numbers were good last year and not much was killed. Just wondered what your thoughts were.
I had a good year but the deer numbers are down. EHD was horrible in eastern KY summer of 2017 so I am not surprised that you saw sporadic deer numbers. Deer harvests for this part of KY were about 50% of normal in 2017 and about 70% of normal this year. Lawrence county, which is 2 counties away from Greenup typically harvest 1700 or so deer had less than 600 killed in 2017. 2018 is better but still way off of normal.
Do a search on frost seeding clover. You will get much better answers by people smarter than I am.
Anyone else have some ideas?
Clover needs to be mowed about once a month when it is actively growing. This will help choke out the weeds. There is also chemicals you can apply that will kill the weeds but not hurt the clover. Frost seeding is when you sow your seed and let the freeze/thaw action take the seeds in. It works well especially if you have your area prepped already, as in ,plowed or burned off to allow seeds to make contact with the ground.
OK, so We have established plots. Weeds are a major problem. Should I kill off weeds in March April? and then plant something until Aug, then plant Clover in Sept? Or should I be doing something now to get seeds in the ground sometime in spring?
Like I said I am literally asking for a dumbed down explanation if possible.
If you have clover plots established now, wait til they are growing this spring and then mow them to about 6 or 8 inches. Then, wait 4 or 5 days and hit them with some clethodim paying attention to mixing rates and don't forget to use a surfactant. This will kill grasses from your plot but may take a couple weeks to kill it down. If you have broadleaf weeds, use 2,4-DB, again paying attention to mixing rates and application directions. If you do this and frost seed your plots each year, your clover will last 5 years or so with average rainfall and monthly mowing. Ipersonally use Ladino clover bought at the local farm store. Works great. I also mix in chicory in with my clover and deer eat it readily as well.
If we plow now and spray weed killer can we put the clover in the ground in Feb-Mar? Currently the plots were a mix of soybeans and radishes. Deer crushed them but the plots are too small to keep up with browsing so looking to add something that can sustain itself over time. This plot will ultimately be around .5-.75 acre. Basically we will have to kill off weeds and till up ground then plant. So wondering if we do that and put clover in the ground in Feb-Mar if that will work? Technically because we will be plowing, we can drag it. But I assume we will still get the freeze and thaw action.
@kyrob - All of those chemicals you mentioned, can I put them directly on a growing clover plot without killing it? Or are these just for before I plant.
Clethodim is for grass control. 2,4 D-B is for broadleaf weed control. Mowing to an 8" height will control most weeds because weeds are largely head and not much root. Grass is mostly roots, so mowing actually invigorates grass to an extent. Spraying Clethodim according to directions will kill the grass, but not quickly. Just about the time you think it's not working, the grass will yellow and eventually die. You need to wait a few days after mowing to spray in order to let the grass/weeds start to grow again, as the plant needs to "take up" the herbicide in order for it to be effective. Now, I'm mostly repeating what kyrob said here, with a little more detail. I plant clover in the fall, but I'm in the South where summers are hot and dry. The reason is, the first year clover is establishing a good root system, and here we need the moisture of fall, winter, and spring in order for it to survive our summers. I very seldom plant grains with my clover, I find it's not needed unless you want the fall attraction to hunt over. Some of my clover plots do have chicory in them, but I don't think you can spray for weeds if you have chicory, so I just mow mine every two to three weeks, AFTER the clover blooms and the blooms turn from bright white to a dull color, assuming a white clover variety planted of course. This not only spreads more seed, it makes the new growth tender and more palatable to deer. To prepare a seedbed here is what I do: If you have vegetation in your plot, kill it with glyphosate, disc it until the soil is broken up well, (no big clods). I like to make a couple passes with the disc gangs almost straight (after the plot is diced well) to cut up the clods and help with leveling the plot surface. I drag mine as smoothly as possible, and my drag also compacts it somewhat. You can incorporate the proper fertilizer in the proper amount on your last discing pass. On your smooth seedbed, broadcast your clover seed then roll it or cultipack it in. In the past, I've used the drag for this too, but I think the cultipacker does a better job. You can also go to QDMA's website and get a tutorial on most any crop you'd like to plant. Good luck !
There you go Hunter8. That's all there is to it. Great job drycreek.
Very thorough, thank you guys. So my last questions.
I have read the clover becomes less desirable around the hunting months. So do you guys throw in any seed for fall hunting (I know you said chicory but I can't spray)? If so, what do you use? Maybe some brassicas or wheat/oat? (My guess guess is I would just broadcast the seed into the plot around Sept?
I assume in year 2, the stuff I planted in the fall will be dead and only the clover will come back up in the spring. Then I can frost seed some additional clover into the plot. Does all this sound about right for a cyclical plot?
Thanks again guys, you have been a great help.
From what I read (remember I'm in the South) you can frost seed any weak or bare spots in early spring. Mine gets thicker as spring/summer progresses from mowing, but usually in August it looks like crap. My clover is mostly there for nutritional value, I normally hunt over wheat or rye plots.
Yes, your fall plots will die when it gets hot, after they ripen and make seed heads (assuming oats, wheat, rye, etc.). I think you can broadcast any grain seeds into the clover and have a reasonable expectation of it germinating. Wheat grows in my pickup or on my trailer, so I'm pretty sure it will grow in your clover. :-) I can't because the damn hogs would be in it overnight. Clover is a great crop, and I've not found any that beats Whitetail Institute. You can get it and chicory in a product called Fusion, of which I planted about a half acre in two different plots this fall. Also ghis fall, I planted some medium red clover with my largest wheat plot, got really good coverage, but I sold that place and won't get to see what it does unless the new owner lets me come look at it. I'm gonna ask because I'm curious as to what it will do. Good luck to you !
If you are going to have this land long term, plant some trees. I have planted about 20 sawtooth oaks and about 50 dunstan chestnuts. Some should have nuts on them this year. Have also planted several fruit trees that the critters wipe out every year.
Unfortunately this is a lease and not long term. I think we will plant the infusion earliest as possible this year. Do the spraying and cutting and in Sept broadcast in some Winter wheat and Oats. Then in winter-early spring of 20-20 patch it up with frost seeding.
Thank you guys for all of the help. I appreciate it.