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Food Plot Rookie !
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Capra 21-May-22
Catscratch 21-May-22
t-roy 21-May-22
Catscratch 21-May-22
Bearman 21-May-22
blue spot 22-May-22
Capra 22-May-22
Shawn 22-May-22
Lewis 23-May-22
Pat Lefemine 23-May-22
Catscratch 24-May-22
Castle Oak 24-May-22
From: Capra
21-May-22
I am new to this and have a unique situation. The location in in zone 7B west Tennessee. The are area is about 1/3 acre ( 40yds X 40 yds) and it is a mixed shade area with tall trees preventing full sun, The area is freshly cleared, it is my septic leach field.

I'm looking to plant something now since it is all cleared from the native underbrush and a blank canvas. I read all kinds of seed company's ideas today and at this point I'm more confused than when I started. This does not need to be a perfect plot I just want to plant something that has the best odds for success to get started and provides attractive feed vs the native plants. It was already a corridor that had a lot of activity. It is bordered by a creek on the north side an adjacent farm that was feed corn last year and I believe he planted something else this year, and a wide open area that I may improve in the future on the other side.

Thanks for the help ! Nate

From: Catscratch
21-May-22
Clover and cereal grains are super simple and easy. They are generally best planted in the fall but spring planting will work, they just tend to be more weedy. If it were me I would look at a mix of red and white clovers with some chicory and sunflowers mixed in.

From: t-roy
21-May-22
I would agree with catscratch’s assessment. Not sure that I would add the sunflowers.

Catscratch…..Is there a particular benefit to planting sunflowers, other than as a food source?

From: Catscratch
21-May-22
Sunflower heads are like candy to deer, and are high in protein AND fats.

To answer your question about reasons other than feed is that they are high nitrogen users which help reduce grasses in the legume clover crop. Just a way to discourage grassy weeds, help the clover, and fatten up the deer during the summer.

From: Bearman
21-May-22
A white clover variety.

From: blue spot
22-May-22
I will agree deer love sunflowers but I don't know anything about growing food plots. About 30 years ago I took a job caretaking for a guy who used to be a JD salesman. He had a nice collection of tractors and a few implements. We tried growing 4-5 acres of sunflowers near Keene NH. The deer devoured them. We might have had 2-3 dozen per acre grow to bloom. And then the deer mowed those off. There were some deer around but not crazy high numbers.

From: Capra
22-May-22
Thanks Guys ! That is exactly the advise I was looking for

From: Shawn
22-May-22
Sunflower heads are like candy but are worthless once they seed out and in that small a plot they will never get to grow too much. I would kill everything off, than burn. I would than plant clover and as late summer rolls around plant turnips sporadically throughout the plot!! Shawn

From: Lewis
23-May-22
In west Tennessee its going be hot this summer I would wait until mid August or early September and plant clover with wheat as a companion crop. I live on the plateau and my clover planting always does better in the fall good luck Lewis

From: Pat Lefemine
23-May-22
I'm confused. This is your leach field? How far is it from the house? Do you plant to hunt it?

From: Catscratch
24-May-22
My lateral (leach) field is planted to clovers, collards, and chicory. In the fall I over-seed it with awnless wheat and winter rye. Super easy plot to maintain due to proximity to the house and it's awesome to have deer 35yds from the deck all the time. Another benefit to sunflowers is the massive root system they push into the soil. Great for organic matter if you're into the regenerative practices at all.

From: Castle Oak
24-May-22
Your very first step should be to obtain soil samples. Your county ag extension office should have sample materials and instructions. I know you want simple but if you want to be successful get that soil right for ph and micronutrients. Let us know what your results are and we can better guide you on what to plant and when. Clover seed is expensive, requires at least 6.5 pH and for your area is best planted in the fall.

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