Heavy clay soil

Discussion in 'Food Plots & Habitat Improvement' started by DVO, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. DVO

    DVO Weekend Warrior

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    First of all I know soil test, soil test, soil test. Don't care about that right now since there are plants that won't do well in wet soil.

    What I'm looking for is to get pointed in the right direction for something to plant that will survive in heavy red clay.

    I had decent luck with Imperial No-plow last fall but August was so rainy it stunted everything but the grasses. Would a clover mix be something to look at? I have a 1/10 acre plot and a 1/5th acre plot I'm working on finishing this spring.

    I'm about as far north in Wisconsin as you can get so my 27 acres is heavily wooded for he most part and it's very time consuming to clear with no machines. Took me 40 hours of work to get the 1/10 acre plot cleared and planted.

    Attached is the 1/10 acre plot
    [​IMG]
     
  2. BJE80

    BJE80 Legendary Woodsman

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    I have the same soils if not worse than you. The first problem you are going to have is being in the woods and in those soils your PH is going to be very low. Likely in the 5.3-5.4 range. That is going to inhibit the plants more than the wetness.


    One thing I would start with is trying Winter Rye, Alsike clover (does well in wet soils) and red clover. You should be able to plant brassicas eventually but not at those PH levels. You need to get a lot of lime down as soon as possible.


    As soon as it is dry enough I would get lime down at a rate of 2000 lbs/acre.
     
  3. copperhead

    copperhead Grizzled Veteran

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    cereal rye, winter wheat, oats and clover should do ok. But if your ph is around 5 you will need 4000 lbs/acre to get to around 6.5 especially with clay. Just did a soil sample for heavy clay soil that like to hold water and that was the recommended rate.
     
  4. BJE80

    BJE80 Legendary Woodsman

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    Yes but he doesn't want to put down 4000 lbs/acre in one year. Start with 2000-2500 lbs/acre for several years. Not try and lime it all in one year.

    I do not suggest winter wheat in the heavy wet soils. Winter Rye would be a much better choice there. Even Oats stuggle with the wetness. White clovers don't like it either but red and aslike seem to do very well.
     
  5. Daryl Bell

    Daryl Bell Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Never ever just guess at your lime rates... Your buffer ph could be substantially different than someone else. So 4000lbs/acre could sky rocket your ph level, or it could barely move it. Don't expect to grow anything with any amount of success until you get your Soil right.
     
  6. Troutking

    Troutking Weekend Warrior

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    Buy 8 to 10 bags of pelletized lime, probably $40 total, then put in some seed and fertilizer. Probably have the plot ready to rock for under $75
     
  7. BJE80

    BJE80 Legendary Woodsman

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    Not in wisconsin clay soils. In the woods like that they are all the same. You aren't moving that ph easy and it's going to low in the wooded environment.


    In fact often times in this ground the recommended lime isn't enough.



    Don't listen to the guys advice from Alabama that doesn't know squat about northern Wisconsin swamp sewer clays. Especially qdma Guys.


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    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  8. DVO

    DVO Weekend Warrior

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    Thanks for the help guys. Like I said I'm worried about the lime because I will take care of that. I just wanted to know what kinds of food plot plants can survive in heavy wet soil. This is Lake Superior red clay so it pretty much never dries out.
     
  9. BJE80

    BJE80 Legendary Woodsman

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    Join the club DVO. If you have any questions let me know. I've had 5 years experience planting on these soils now. It can be done! Just have to understand the Limitations. Look at is this way. You are drought proof!
     
  10. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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    We have a heavy blue clay here and it can be hard to get a crop to catch but once you do get one started, especially legumes, they will hold well for several years. I too like the red clovers with a rye cover crop.
     
  11. BJE80

    BJE80 Legendary Woodsman

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    One major difference is the climate. Our growing season is so short and it doesn't have time to dry out much. Last frost is end of May. First frost is Mid September. That's basically 3 months to grow something without frost. Heck its going to be down to zero this weekend.

    So combine the wetness with very little heat and a short growing season and it can be difficult.
     
  12. Daryl Bell

    Daryl Bell Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Hahaha it looks like someone has been proven wrong to many times by QDMA folks... now you have a sour taste in your mouth. If you had any formal education, any soil knowledge, or any advanced wildlife and habitat knowledge, you would never recommend liming without a soil analysis first. That just shows your true inexperience and lack of knowledge
     
  13. BJE80

    BJE80 Legendary Woodsman

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    Awesome. I knew that would get uunder any qdma retards skin. Enjoy selling your soul to the ***** of an organization.


    And yes. You have no idea on the soils he is dealing with. No clue. Should He get a soil sample? Absolutely. Does he need one the first year to apply lime? Not a chance. But he will need it to fertilize whenever he plants.


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  14. copperhead

    copperhead Grizzled Veteran

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    Did a lot of reading and research on this and most people are recommending this for your area and soil type:

    white dutch clover, medium red clover, ladino clover, (along with the previously mentioned alsike clover), winter rye, dwarf essex rape, and just generic bin run oats.


    Read over 50 different threads across 20 sites so I hope thats useful. Good luck brother and keep us posted how it turns out.
     
  15. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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    Yea, you're right.
    The high temp forecast for here on Saturday is supposed to be 9* and it's only going to be -7* on Saturday and Sunday nights. So obviously, up here in our balmy neighborhoods, we don't understand the troubles you guys in the cold weather climates face.

    I do know that if you're going to plow clay for planting, it is better to turn it over in the fall and let the freezing action of the winter help to break it up.
     
  16. MoBuckChaser

    MoBuckChaser Weekend Warrior

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    What do you know about it?
     
  17. BJE80

    BJE80 Legendary Woodsman

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    Hi Mo. A big fat Troll you are!
     
  18. MoBuckChaser

    MoBuckChaser Weekend Warrior

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    :whip:
     
  19. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    He's from the same part of the country and has 5 years experience so his experience trumps everyone else's guesses.

    I get kind of sick seeing people post questions about food plots and the first comment is always "get a soil test or twelve". Sure, in an ideal world that's the proper course of action but in the real world guys wanting simple advice about what species work in a specific circumstance don't always need slapped in the face with the obvious. Sometimes people don't want to mess with a soil test and won't, no matter how many times they are told they need it.

    Then there's the problem of advice from across the country. I believe BJE80's point is that there's only so much advice that's going to be pertinent from a southerner to a northerner and visa verse. The climates are drastically different as are soil types. Anyone with formal education should realize the limitations of their practical knowledge and advice. Unless one is a very well traveled individual and has working knowledge and experience with a given area in question, it's a mistake to think that what is sound advice in Zone 8 is going to be applicable in zone 2-4.

    The northern zones are a different world for us guys from zone 5 and on south. Nothing wrong with soil testing but when someone has an open disclaimer at the OP, I don't think it needs pushed. Sometimes you just have to work with watya got.
     
  20. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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