Any experience with "in-woods" food plots ?

Discussion in 'Food Plots & Habitat Improvement' started by DropTine249, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. DropTine249

    DropTine249 Weekend Warrior

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    We're planting, or, attempting to plant, a food plot in a small area, in the woods.

    The area used to be pastured out, but, is currently covered in briars. Today, we began to clear the briars, and, once we're done, we will start to dress the soil in preparation for summer and fall plots.

    The widest area(trees to trees) is about 40yards, and, is about 2 acres in size. There is a fair amount of canopy cover. We're going to cut down a few large trees that will shadow this "field". It's surrounded by oaks, so, our plan is to run a summer plot, followed by a fall plot, which should prove productive because there is already some natural foliage and browse in the area.

    Anyway. What would you plant in an area that does not see sun all day ?

    The afternoon sun will be the most prevalent, here, probably breaking through for 3-4hours in the afternoon(summer).

    Any ideas ? I've never planted a plot in an area this "restricted". Thanks.
     
  2. Hoyt 'N' It

    Hoyt 'N' It Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I would check out whitetail institute no plow blend or evolved harvest shot plot, both are ideal for low light conditions. keep us posted with what you went with. good luck!
     
  3. MD hunter

    MD hunter Weekend Warrior

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    you may just want to try a mix of rye grass where the sun is minimal and in the middle do a perennial or brassicas.
     
  4. Ben/PA

    Ben/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    2 acres isn't really what I call restricted. Does it run East/West or North/South? I've got a plot that is/was exactly as you describe. Clear and break the soil, lime ASAP, and wait for green up. Mow, then wait a week and a half and spray with gly. Till and plant. If your ph is reasonable, you'll grow just about anything there. I put a 3 part mix in, 40% Oats, 40%, Antler King Red Zone with extra peredovik sunflower added, and 20% Turnips. I wouldn't worry about planting in the spring, I plant the Red Zone/Sunflower (bean mix) in the second week of Aug. I plant the Oats and Turnips at the end of Aug. I've played with seed mixes and planting times for 3 years in this plot, and this is what is perfect.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a shot of the plot was the buckwheat in the Red Zone was maturing.

    The Red Zone was on the right, the oats on the left and the Turnips down at the far end.
     
  5. DropTine249

    DropTine249 Weekend Warrior

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    We have a few bags of No Plow. When we started clearing this area out, I figured we may end up using it, here.

    I know nothing about rye. Can you give me some info on how palatable it is, and, when ? How easy or difficult it is to grow ?

    We have brassica, however, we have another location on this property where we intend to put them. We're kind of dividing this property up, with plots. The area they re going, is an open, 3 acres field, plenty of sun.


    Ben, that plot looks killer !! Nice work.

    This 2 acres is plenty restricted. It's hard for me to describe how it sits, in the woods. It basically winds through the woods, with heavy canopy cover, a small "ground clearing", surrounded by briers and oaks.

    Pretty much, it's long and narrow, running East-West, which offers decent afternoon sun. Right now, with no leaves, it gets good sun. When we clear a few select trees, it should "help" get sunlight through, when the canopy is full.

    The soil stays moderately moist, all year, but not soaking wet.

    I see that you're recommending we get down to bare soil, break it up and lime, now. Why ?

    We had planned to get the soil broken up, then spray with chemicals. We we're going to wait a few weeks from that point, then till the heck out of it and plant our spring plot.

    We need a Spring food source here, because we're attempting to pull in deer from some bordering land that no one can hunt (people sneak in, but no one has permission). We want to acclimate the deer to this plot, during the "off months"

    Thanks for the advice, thus far, guys.
     
  6. Ben/PA

    Ben/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    The only reason I said to break the soil after clearing is to help you get a better till on it later. You can lime before or after the initial clearing. Lime (pulverized) can be applied with effectiveness every 6 months. If you lime now, you can could lime again in 5 months and get some effectiveness out of it. Make sure you are buying pulverized or just lime the one time, the granular stuff is pricey and doesn't provide immediate benefit.

    If I (you) really had to have a spring plot, I'd clear and lime ASAP, mow it as soon as there was green up, wait two weeks and spray, wait a week and till it and plant it with oats or buckwheat. Either one is cheap and doesn't demand too much of the soil and won't be a pain to mow up come Aug.

    Then in Aug, I'd mow it down, lime, wait a week and spray, wait a week and till and then plant and fertilize some quality annuals with some oats too.

    If you only want to plant once and put it something that can be utilized for the summer and the fall, say some clover mix, I'd clear it, lime really good ASAP, till and harrow, till and harrow really good again, then plant and fertilize with rain in the forecast. Just know that you will need to provide some maintenance with mowing just ahead of rain in the summer and top dressing some fertilizer later in the summer again, ahead of some rain.

    BTW, that plot I showed is 43 yards wide at it's widest and runs East/West. It gets a ton of sun.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  7. DropTine249

    DropTine249 Weekend Warrior

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    Thanks for the advice, Ben.

    Our only obstacle, is the fact that we do not have equipment available to use on this property.

    We're going to have to rent and borrow, which is a pain in the butt, so, we're trying to limit the amount of trips in for each piece of equipment.
     
  8. Ben/PA

    Ben/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    I only have a quad and some modified used farm equipment. The absolute best thing you can but is a small (4 or 5 foot) spring tooth harrow set. I use mine for clearing the roots and tangles, mixing in lime to the soil, and covering seed and fertilizer. It's paid for it self many times over. I pair 75-100 bucks for it used. I am going to buy a new one because it's proved it's usefulness. I'll likely pay 400 for a 4 footer. I have a 5 foot, 2 section one right now.

    [​IMG]

    It's actually a touch big for my "woods" plots, the have the stumps left it them. I use this to do all my soil prep in those plots as I can't run my one bottom plow in them.

    You can get a ton done with just a quad, a few bucks, and a welder. The other "implements" I picked up just needed some modifications. Seriously, find a used farm machinery yard and you will be in business if you plan on doing this for years to come.

    In the beginning of my food plotting, I did the rental thing. It worked, but walking behind a tiller wasn't my favorite thing. One thing is for sure, soil prep is where the battle is won. Cheap out or take short cuts, and your plot will show.

    Here's my latest score, picked it up from an Amish farm for 20 bucks. It was just sitting in a pile of weeds. I am always looking behind barns when I am driving. Some paint and some TLC and I am turning dirt.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It was a "grape" plow. It had 3 small bottoms on it, but I took one off to make it able to be pulled by my quad. I also have a very crude one bottom that I completely fabricated for under 50 bucks.

    Both are a lot easier and more fun than this.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. MGH_PA

    MGH_PA Moderator

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    I follow Ben's directions on breaking the soil up, waiting for green-up, spraying, then tilling. I would plant Buckwheat in mid-late May. It grows in just about any conditions, is an excellent soil builder, and will provide some green manure when till under in the late summer early fall.

    Now is a good time to get lime down, and the sooner the better. The smaller the particle size, the faster the dispersion rate, but the shorter the life. Get lime down, then lime again at planting this May and/or your fall planting.

    For your fall planting, I would try a winter rye (not rye grass)/chicory, and either white or alsike clover (more acidic tolerant). The rye/chicory will be a good cover crop, plus they provide green shoots deer will feed on well past the first hard frost where the clover becomes less desirable. The rye will help prevent weed growth next spring (look up allelopathic) and scavenge N for next year.
     
  10. MD hunter

    MD hunter Weekend Warrior

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    rye grass is just easy to grow and deer will eat the regrowth so mow when it become +8 inches.
     
  11. Blackpintail

    Blackpintail Newb

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    Food Plots

    I would buy a copy of the book Quality Food Plots which is excellent and would probably answer all of your questions and then some.
     
  12. rybec2

    rybec2 Weekend Warrior

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    Start with a soil sample...if your ph is good 6.5-7.5 then you have more options..clover would work great in a plot like this.
     

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