Mathews Inc.
Are Ugly Looking Clover Plots Better?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
CAMPDAVID 16-Jun-22
APauls 16-Jun-22
GhostBird 16-Jun-22
GhostBird 16-Jun-22
Catscratch 16-Jun-22
Stressless 22-Jun-22
drycreek 22-Jun-22
Bearman 18-Jul-22
Bearman 18-Jul-22
Lost Arra 18-Jul-22
darralld 18-Jul-22
Pat Lefemine 18-Jul-22
CAS_HNTR 18-Jul-22
Shiloh 18-Jul-22
GhostBird 19-Jul-22
Lawboytom 19-Jul-22
blue spot 20-Jul-22
GhostBird 20-Jul-22
Missouribreaks 20-Jul-22
Catscratch 20-Jul-22
KHNC 20-Jul-22
blue spot 20-Jul-22
Lost Arra 20-Jul-22
Mad Trapper 23-Jul-22
t-roy 23-Jul-22
Pat Lefemine 23-Jul-22
Nyati 23-Jul-22
Bearman 23-Jul-22
Missouribreaks 24-Jul-22
Stressless 25-Jul-22
DanaC 25-Jul-22
Stressless 25-Jul-22
Bow Crazy 26-Jul-22
JL 26-Jul-22
From: CAMPDAVID
16-Jun-22
Which clover plot do you think would be better for hunting?

One that is weed and grass free that looks like it should be in a magazine....or one that has 50% less clover( still enough to feed the herd) but has tall grasses in it that provides some degree of security.

From: APauls
16-Jun-22
Depends on your needs. Either one could be right. If you're short on food and high on deer you're going to want tonnage. If you're high on deer and short on cover you might want security.

If a person is honest I highly doubt a weedy clover field is ever the answer. Determine what you need and plant that. Not half of something. If you're short cover, create cover. If you're short food, create food. If a weedy field is the best you can do with your circumstances so be it and go with that.

From: GhostBird
16-Jun-22
It all depends on the area. I plant several small clover foodplots, each an acre or less, and never spray herbicides, as most plots are actually clover/chicory mix. Yes, they get grasses & weeds in them, but I keep them mowed (or try to) before the grass seeds. I don't need tonnage, lots of natural browse along with plenty of soybeans & corn in the area and low deer density. I just need to provide something different & tasty. I think you would have to be awful "grassy/weedy" to provide any decent amount of cover.

From: GhostBird
16-Jun-22
Another thought... clover plots can be like women... under the right conditions, sometimes an ugly one can perform equal to a beauty with a lot less maintenance.

Just sayin'.

From: Catscratch
16-Jun-22
I don't like a lot of grasses in my clover plots so I over seed them with cereals every fall to soak up excess nitrogen. Broadleaf weeds on the other hand get a pass for the most part. Many native broadleafs are actually preferred and high in nutrients, not to mention the soil benefits they provide.

From: Stressless
22-Jun-22
Got'ta keep'em separated ...

Grass (Big Rock Switchgrass) on the left - full legumes in the plot. Don't let weeds that have zero pull or nutrition past Oct in your plots.

IMG-0420

From: drycreek
22-Jun-22
I always tried really hard for a beautiful clover plot, and that’s what I had……for about 6/7 months of the year. It’s just a hard fact that in Texas your clover ain’t gonna do well July thru September. It will start to flourish again around the last of September then go to hell again from December until March or so. When it’s good, it’s great, but when it gets hot or cold it gets ugly in a hurry.

From: Bearman
18-Jul-22
I don't care much if I have some broadleaf weeds but I don't like grass.

From: Bearman
18-Jul-22
I don't care much if I have some broadleaf weeds but I don't like grass.

18-Jul-22
Same here, broadleafs usually get a pass, grass I try and keep to a minimum. Mowing usually controls the weeds anyway.

From: Lost Arra
18-Jul-22
A lot of broadleaf weeds are considered forbs to deer. Grass, not so much. A weed is only a weed when it's in a place it isn't wanted. A weed in the wife's flowerbed may be a delicacy (forb) to a deer in a plot.

From: darralld
18-Jul-22
I hope burnt brown is the best. With the lack of rain that's what mine look like.

From: Pat Lefemine
18-Jul-22

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Making an effort to keep your plots weed and grass free increase yields which make your plots both nutritious and attractive
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Making an effort to keep your plots weed and grass free increase yields which make your plots both nutritious and attractive
I make a great effort to remove grass and broadleaf weeds from my plots, whether deer like them or not.

Weeds, by their very nature, are prolific at spreading and invading fields. They will outcompete every crop I spend money and time to establish. They will deprive your crops of nutrients and water. Not sure why anyone would plant a perennial clover, chicory, alfalfa field and then let weeds take over when some simple steps like mowing and a couple applications of well-timed sprays keep it clean.

I guarantee you that the weeds that deer eat are still all over your ground in non plot locations. And almost all weeds will be dead in mid to late fall when deer need them.

My 2c

From: CAS_HNTR
18-Jul-22
I don't think they are better for us, but we have ALOT of overgrown fields we leave overgrown for cover and browse. The competition - especially grass - is a real negative to plots in my experience.

This year we screwed up and mowed the broadleaf stuff and delayed our Cleth spray because it didnt 'seem' too grassy.....that was dumb. Now this weekend I looked and some field are a mess. No broadleaf stuff but tons of grass. Damage control now.

18-Jul-22
“ I guarantee you that the weeds that deer eat are still all over your ground in non plot locations. And almost all weeds will be dead in mid to late fall when deer need them”

Well said, especially if one is doing edge management. Plots are the ice cream that make one’s property more attractive than adjacent properties lacking them.

From: Shiloh
18-Jul-22
I don’t think it’s financially feasible to have a clover plot as clean as Pat’s down here. Especially if it’s in full sunlight. Too much rain, heat and humidity. Would have to spray or clip every other week.

From: GhostBird
19-Jul-22

GhostBird's embedded Photo
GhostBird's embedded Photo
Dog days of summer. My weedy clover is burnt, pond is low, but the iron clay peas are doing good. We had 30 consecutive days of temps over 90 degrees, some days over 100, many of those days with triple digit heat index. Luckily, there was just enough small rains spread out over time to get the iron clay peas out of the ground and thriving. Clover will bounce back with cooler Temps & more rain if I don't replant that plot this fall.

From: Lawboytom
19-Jul-22
I have 25 acres of varied plots that I try to keep as weed free as possible. 1/4 mile away is a 15 acre field that hasn’t been planted with a crop if 7 years and the farmer periodically spreads pig manure on it and cuts the weeds for bedding. I’ll give you one guess where the biggest deer around have been feeding since last winter and the answer isn’t on mine. The native weeds are just pulling the deer in and the big deer have been loving it. I don’t get it especially when there are great crops all around.

From: blue spot
20-Jul-22
being as those weeds are super fertilized they are most likely higher nutrients and more palatable than your just fully fertilized plots thats why I speculate my doe around the house has jumped my fence and mowed off my tomato plants multiple times this year, never mind the peas and broccoli

From: GhostBird
20-Jul-22
Speaking of weeds. That iron clay pea plot was a brand new plot last fall that I planted cereal rye in. Replanted it with the iron clay peas early this summer. I only had enough peas to plant 4/5 of the plot and plan to plant the rest of the plot this fall with something; wheat, chicory, clover, not sure yet. Anyway, the portion of the plot that got tilled & not planted is full of weeds, mostly ragweed. Deer are coming into the peas every evening to eat, but are hammering the fertilized/limed ragweed. Anybody ever plant a ragweed plot?.... ha.

20-Jul-22
Ragweed is listed as a preferred food for deer. Blue spot has it right about the fertility and palatability as well as probably feeling more secure in a lesser disturbed area with more cover.

20-Jul-22
If I spend money planting a crop, I do the best I can to make and keep it productive. Farming weeds is generally a waste of effort IMO.

From: Catscratch
20-Jul-22
Yes, ragweed is one of the preferred natives. With many of them having crude protein levels between 20-30% I've always wondered why not leave some alone during lactate and antler growth seasons? As mentioned above most native forbs loose their attraction late in the yr but I'm not just baiting when I plant a plot, and my clovers/brassicas/cereal grains are still there for winter anyway. Your woody weeds provide plenty of winter nutrition though. The more edge or ground you can keep in early succession the better.

Here's a nice read for anyone interested in nutrition for deer. https://www.noble.org/globalassets/docs/ag/pubs/wildlife/nf-wf-04-02.pdf

From: KHNC
20-Jul-22
Yep, Pat's beautiful plots are tough to do in South Carolina. Be better if i lived where i hunt. Being 70 miles away with 5.25 diesel doesnt help at all.

From: blue spot
20-Jul-22
being as those weeds are super fertilized they are most likely higher nutrients and more palatable than your just fully fertilized plots thats why I speculate my doe around the house has jumped my fence and mowed off my tomato plants multiple times this year, never mind the peas and broccoli

From: Lost Arra
20-Jul-22
To answer the original question: No, ugly plots are not better.

But when you live where it's over 100 degrees for 2 weeks without rain you sometimes live with ugly plots.

20-Jul-22
Cat,

We keep plenty of ragweed around, just not super close to the cabin because of Robin’s allergies.

20-Jul-22

Habitat for Wildlife's Link
Catscratch’s link:

From: Mad Trapper
23-Jul-22
I have been told by a reputable source that Pat has been seen in several of his plots on his hands and knees pulling weeds that some how managed to survive the sprayings and mowings….

From: t-roy
23-Jul-22
Mad…..I’ve had that same affliction, except it effects me around my bean plots.. Must be a different variant. 2,4-D strain, possibly.

I shook Pat’s hand at P n Y, awhile back. He was probably an unwitting super-spreader.

From: Pat Lefemine
23-Jul-22

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Mad Trapper, that's fake news. You may have a future with MSNBC.

However, I will neither confirm (nor deny) that I may have gone into the field with a spray bottle full of Glyfosate to snipe individual weeds that somehow evaded two applications of herbicide. ;-)

From: Nyati
23-Jul-22

Nyati 's embedded Photo
Nyati 's embedded Photo
Just mowed to cut some thistle. Sprayed with Imazamox and clethodim in May

23-Jul-22
Some great looking plots guys!

From: Bearman
23-Jul-22

Bearman's embedded Photo
Bearman's embedded Photo
Frost seeded in March. Fantastic looking now.

24-Jul-22
Nice to see hunters improving the landscape for many types of wildlife. Great job guys!

24-Jul-22
MB, please post that thought on the KS forum!

From: Stressless
25-Jul-22
Bearman - You planting in the Southern Hemisphere? ??

From: DanaC
25-Jul-22

DanaC's embedded Photo
DanaC's embedded Photo
Bearman's picture, cropped, flipped and resized

From: Stressless
25-Jul-22
FrontPad - got trimmed Sat and for the no till food plot, this is with one application of IMOX in Apr and frost seeded in Mar. My biggest concern was planting something that could best withstand the browsing pressure it is bound to get. They come in like it's an ag field, browsing for 8-9 hours.

FrontPad - they come in at dusk, leave about 0530 FrontPad

IMAG2141-100-2141

It got cut a 'bout 3" shorter than I would have cut it, that's easily remedied with a conversation over a beer with the dude that cut it. Those graphs @at1010 shows on how much browse / loss reduces the efficacy of the plant makes a great point, whether it'slost to browsing mowing- its lost to the plant.

IMAG2191-100-2191

We got a nice rain and another last night that should kick start the weeds and crops growing, hitting it Cleth this week (got rained out on Sat as well). Another ref to Episode #8, I'm very curious to the usage on the 8 plots I have spread across the farm as they are all in the same blend, some different weed issues but the difference, if any, would be the soil!

Cliff reported that FrontPad has 60-70% BFT that caught and is growing well. with clover and chicory spit about 70/30.

IMAG2209-100-2209

Overseeding right into this with Tillage radish next weekend of so. In 5 weeks I'll overseed crimson clover and rye.

From: Bow Crazy
26-Jul-22
My thoughts: an ugly looking clover plot will only be uglier next year, and even uglier the following. Really not an issue if you have lower deer numbers, or plenty of land into food plots/clover. If your deer densities are high, and/or don't have a lot of land into food plots/clover, I would want to keep my plots as weed/grass free as possible. BC

From: JL
26-Jul-22

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo

I did a no till this year to see what would happen. I was counting on spraying to knock down the future weeds as they greened up. The new Roundup I used was bad and didn't do much of anything. Lesson learned for next year. Anywho....I noticed with the weed growth, the deer are staying in the two weedy plots longer as they have to look for the clovers, beans and purple tops. Not sure if that is good or bad. We got some logging ops getting ready to start in the next week or so. I reopened 3 new plots away from the logging a couple of weeks ago. The turkeys and crows are wiping out the seeds in one of the plots. I've had to reseed it twice already. I also laid down some barricade to block the deer's view of one plot. That is actually coming along nice. It's 120yrds long.

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