Perennial Clover Plot Improvement and Care??

Discussion in 'Food Plots & Habitat Improvement' started by Spear, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Spear

    Spear Grizzled Veteran

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    So I planted a small Antler King Clover Mix plot last year that some of you may recall and it did great but the deer and turkey wiped it out quick. I'd like to improve the soil of the existing plot and also expand and make it fuller so it lasts longer. I didn't till when I planted last year and just used a hard rake. We have a tiller now so my question is, can I do anything to improve the soil to loosen it up and get a better yield without tilling or should I just till and replant? If I go the no till/no replant method I was planning on frost seeding and putting down some gypsum or lime and maybe adding dirt (maybe Antler Dirt). Would that be enough? Just wanted some opinions.
     
  2. KSPrill

    KSPrill Newb

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    If it were me it would depend on how well the clover established. If it were pretty thick, then I would leave it alone and perform maintenance.
    1. Get soil sample. Whitetail institute does it for $14 and its worth it just in the $$ you'd save from wasted fertilizer and lime.
    2. If it calls for lime I'd either use lime or liquid calcium. A local plotter put me onto "plotstart" which is liquid calcium used to improve pH. It's more expensive but is can be used in a backpack sprayer which is nice in less accessible sites.
    3. I'd fertilize it according to the recommendations. Fertilizer is cheap at the local coop.
    4. I'd spray some grass killer like clethodim for maintenance to keep the grass out of the plot.

    If the clover is thin I would soil test, till, lime, fertilize and plant according to exact requirements.


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  3. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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    Unless the deer and turkeys totally destroyed everything, I would just help it get invigorated with fertilizer and whatever else the soil sample shows is needed. If everything is good in the soil test, then just a fertilizer boost will be all that is needed.
    (other than maybe a new blind or tree stand!)
     
  4. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    If deer and turkey wiped out a clover plot to the point it isn't going to come back on it's own then you're screwed. :lol:
     
  5. DriveTacks

    DriveTacks Weekend Warrior

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    Second year clover will blow up for you, always has for me. I would just get the lime and fertilizer like everyone is recommending. I considered tilling my clover plots in the spring of their second year but never got around to it, by July they were thick and 12-18" deep. Never had I limed or fertilized these plots. Going on year 6 or 7. We run the brush hog through a couple times a year to knock it down.
     
  6. jake_

    jake_ Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Thanks for the purchase. Glad the animals are eating it.

    Many good things mentioned so I won't go back over them.

    For fertilizer I use 0-0-60 on my clover plots.

    Other option for a soil test is Mossy Oak biologic. Same lab as whitetail institute but cheaper. It don't give you all the options but tells ya what you need to know.
     
  7. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    I would add that I've come to always mix in something else with clover anymore when establishing it that first year. Mainly because most times it isn't until the second year that the clover really and truly booms in growth. Fall plantings of clover with a Winter rye and/or oats to act as a brows buffer has done great things for us. I come back over them in the early spring and seed a strong overseed of clover and by that 2nd fall the plot typically is looking great.

    Obviously incorporate lime/fertilizer/organic fertilizer into as needed.
     
  8. greatwhitehunter3

    greatwhitehunter3 Grizzled Veteran

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    Do you spray the small grain in the spring or let it head out and possibly re seed?
     
  9. Spear

    Spear Grizzled Veteran

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    My only issue is, I am not sure how bad the deer and turkey hammered the plot. If they uprooted everything then I will obviously need to replant and will just add something to it as Ty mentioned. The problem is, I don't want to wait too long to see if anything starts growing or I'll miss an opportunity to plan. If it starts coming in I might just overseed with something else and then fertilize after both start coming in.
     
  10. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    We've always let it go to head and reseed voluntarily after that first clover mowing so long as not that thick...if it is really thick we've gone in with a weed eater and just chopped the tops off of it but left the shorter clover growing alone. After a mowing or two the rye/oats are all but died out and the clover has started taking over.

    Doug, I wouldn't be afraid to spring/frost overseed with some clover. By late spring to early summer you will know how it fair'd and can plan accordingly for fall.
     
  11. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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    Clover is a fairly quick growing crop. I usually plant in May or even June and get a successful fall plot. If you're anxious to do something soon, go ahead and fertilize. It won't hurt if it comes on or if you replant.
     
  12. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    Also remember we are talking about this practice on smaller type plots...none over .75 an acre...much easier to do that mix method.
     
  13. greatwhitehunter3

    greatwhitehunter3 Grizzled Veteran

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    I think I'm going back to a clover plot this year in my plot that is in the trees. I need to find a better way to get in their and mow it though so that is the downfall of clover for me in this particular spot.
     
  14. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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    String trimmer?
     
  15. greatwhitehunter3

    greatwhitehunter3 Grizzled Veteran

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    I've done that, push mower and scythe and none really work that well for me. Scythe is actually probably the best.



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  16. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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    Since most of the plots that I have are on my land and I have access to all of them for a tractor and a bush hog. I have used a string trimmer on the one that I haven't cut a road into..... YET.
     
  17. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    Doug I would also seed in some chicory with the clover.
     
  18. greatwhitehunter3

    greatwhitehunter3 Grizzled Veteran

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    Yeah all my other plots are good to go but this one is .3 of an acre and I have no intentions of making a path any bigger than a 4 wheeler to it.
     
  19. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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    I used a scythe way to much when I was younger so I tend to shy away and go for the motorized string trimmer. It does need to be cut in late summer so that when hunting season comes, it is a fresh crop.

    As to chicory or other side dishes...... I haven't had any interest from deer except for a new, up and coming crop of rye/wheat coming up through my clover plots.
     
  20. nutritionist

    nutritionist Weekend Warrior

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    use dry humics to get the soil going and reduce soil compaction naturally.....use foliar plant foods to increase growth and nutrient density. The higher the energy content on anything the deer eats, the more deer an area can support. Animals eat to meet their energy requirements. If you clip, take half leave half as if people take off more than 70% of the existing forage, the roots shut down for a longer period of time.

    Incorporate sulfur into your fertilizer program. Stunted growth doesn't necessarily mean lack of nitrogen but sulfur. Sulfur is the #2 most overlooked element in our wildlife programs after calcium.
     

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