Sitka Mountain Gear
Planting Clover in April vs. July
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
CAMP DAVID 07-Apr-19
BOHUNTER09 07-Apr-19
RIT 07-Apr-19
35-Acre 08-Apr-19
t-roy 08-Apr-19
35-Acre 09-Apr-19
Mike-TN 09-Apr-19
flyingbrass 09-Apr-19
HuntingFamily 09-Apr-19
HuntingFamily 09-Apr-19
35-Acre 10-Apr-19
t-roy 10-Apr-19
From: CAMP DAVID
07-Apr-19
My hunting camp is located in Western New York.

I have five brand new food plots ( they were all forest last year at this time).I'm going to plant Jumbo Ladino Clover in three of them.

My question is should I plant them in late April or late July? My concern is fighting weeds and grass.

Is one time frame for keeping weed growth at bay better than the other? And, what nurse crop is recommended for each time frame or is clover planted alone ok?

Thank you in advance for any advice.

From: BOHUNTER09
07-Apr-19
I’ve had good success planting clover in the spring. You will have less weed competition with a fall planting.

From: RIT
07-Apr-19
Fall planted clover with a cover crop of Winter Rye or Oats will be far better than April planted clover.

If it was me I’d use Winter Rye as a cover crop. It will keep weeds at bay the following Spring and nurse the clover along. Keep it clipped just above the clover the following Spring into the summer. If you mow it above the clover it will not terminate or go to seed. It will naturally expire in June and the clover should look fantastic.

From: 35-Acre
08-Apr-19

35-Acre's Link
Sorry if this comes across as knowing more than I do (still learning the food plotting). One thing I can say is to make sure you've done a soil test. I live in Western New York and started just like you - with a 2 acre food plot that was previously forest about 5 years ago (in the southern tier). I messed up initially. I did NOT start with a soil test and probably wasted a lot of time, money and seed because of it. To put that in perspective, last year I had to put down about 1500 lbs of lime over the course of the planting season (because of a soil test I took in November of 17). .

The soil test process sounds complex and not knowing how to go about it was half of my problem. I took a piece of wood, made a point on it to use it as a shovel (you're not supposed to use a metal shovel) and dug up just the depth of the soil that I was going to plant in. I gathered this from several places in my field, mixed the soil together in a plastic bucket. Then I took a small amount (1 ziplock bag filled) to the Cornell extension near Lockport (there may be one closer to you??). It cost something like $10 and they emailed me a report that gave me fertilizer and lime requirements.

As for when to plant, if you've got clear dirt showing I would plant soon. I just planted my field this past weekend (horse oats - they grow great for $15/50lbs, barley and triticale). If you wait you will likely have native grasses to content with. I've had great success with Buckwheat too.

There is a great thread on another site about plotting by building the soil. I would guess that you have the same challenges that I did and the information on this thread/site linked here helped me a lot. I don't have heavy equipment so there was more to this method that made it work for me. In the start of my 5th year (this year), I finally have some soil to work with instead of all of the clay that was on the land.

From: t-roy
08-Apr-19

t-roy's embedded Photo
t-roy's embedded Photo
35-acre.....I’m curious about your comment about not using a metal shovel. I always get a soil sample probe from the local Co-op to take my samples. It is metal, as are the 10 other ones they loan out every year. Not certain, but I would say they are stainless steel. That may possibly have something to do with what you were told. A ferrous or non-stainless steel metal shovel could affect the tests, possibly?

From: 35-Acre
09-Apr-19
troy... you're on to something there. If your local co-op uses a stainless shovel it has to be right. I had heard you can't use a regular shovel so I opted for a piece of wood (which may be tainting my results). I'm still learning for sure...

From: Mike-TN
09-Apr-19
I have planted a good bit of clover over the years using 2 methods. A fall planting with wheat, oats or rye or by frost seeding in February (KY). Both methods have worked well but with frost seeding the clover does not really take off until the following year. Not sure I have ever heard recommendations for spring or summer plantings for clover. It is a cool season legume and will struggle to establish with a spring/summer planting. That being said I have never tried it. Mike

From: flyingbrass
09-Apr-19

flyingbrass's embedded Photo
flyingbrass's embedded Photo
here is my spring clover from 2 years ago, still looks great!

09-Apr-19

HuntingFamily's DeerBuilder embedded Photo
HuntingFamily's DeerBuilder embedded Photo

I'm new to bowsite. There is a lot of useful information on this forum. Just wanted to add my 2cents: although my spring planted clover plots don't look anything like flyingbrass, mine did pretty well. I'm attempting to attach 2 pics, one of the plot when it was planted in May 2017 and the other of the same plot different angle in August 2017.

I also fall planted a plot this past August following Pat's 5 steps to creating the perfect clover plot, can't wait to see how it turns out. Good luck and enjoy.

09-Apr-19

HuntingFamily's DeerBuilder embedded Photo
HuntingFamily's DeerBuilder embedded Photo

Here's the other pic. Btw, we're in southern Michigan.

From: 35-Acre
10-Apr-19

35-Acre's embedded Photo
35-Acre's embedded Photo
35-Acre's embedded Photo
It looks great compared to what I started with. And I get to sit back and soak it all in.
35-Acre's embedded Photo
It looks great compared to what I started with. And I get to sit back and soak it all in.
Wow. You guys have some great clover plots! My plots are never that clean but I'm taking an approach to building the soil by getting thatch to grow and then letting it rot on top of the clay.

I think I'm turning into a farmer as I'm having just as much fun and get hyped up over the plots as I do the deer in them. Guess I'm getting old.

From: t-roy
10-Apr-19
It is certainly addictive, 35 acre!

When you start complaining about the weather, you’ll know you’re starting to turn into a a farmer ;-)

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