Turning 1/2 acre of grass into a food plot

Discussion in 'Food Plots & Habitat Improvement' started by atlasman, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. atlasman

    atlasman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Plot is in back of my property near a 1 acre pond full of koi, bass and trout. I am afraid of using Round up due to possible wash off into pond. Can I just till it up and wait a few weeks then retill to avoid weeds or is that not enough to kill all that grass and weed seed??

    Plot will be a mix of clover, oats, turnips, and radishes to hopefully provide full season forage.


    Any thoughts??


    Plan was/is till....wait 3 weeks......retill and lime. Wait a week or so and if no weed sprouts show then fertilize and seed with roller or cultipacker.


    Sound good??
     
  2. rknierim

    rknierim Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I would mow it as short as you can get it first. Then plow or till it up. Yes, other than mowing short first, that should work. Good luck and be sure to post some pics
     
  3. Tony

    Tony Legendary Woodsman

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    Atlas .. please keep us posted on this ... the farmer that owns all the land around us gave me permission to hunt all his land and he is retiring and will be leasing us at least 9+ acres to use for the purpose of being labeled a "farm" so we can sell baked goods, eggs, plants from a roadside stand.

    I KNOW he will be ok with me putting in a plot with all this unused field around me ...
     
  4. jake_

    jake_ Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I am doing something like you with one of my plots. This spot has been a overgrown field for the 10 years we been there, probably longer. First thing after the snow melted we got in there with the lawnmower and mowed it low. Used the bucket on the tractor to push the dead stuff off as best we could.

    Here is a picture after tilling it 2 times with in a month.. It is getting better , but still needs alot of work. I tilled in the pellitized lime and sprayed Plot Max(by Antler King) in this picture. My plan is to let the weeds come up and use (generic) round up. Wait a few weeks and till again. Till it through out the summer until the 3rd week of august and plant a mix of rye/peas/turnips/radishs and pray for rain.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  5. jake_

    jake_ Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Where are you located?

    In that soil pictured my foot sinks down 3 inchs. Lots of dead stuff mixed in there.

    My thought is if planted soon, you will have a battle with the weeds and the brassicas will be past their prime so to speak come fall. My advice would be "keep it black". Every few weeks till it under again to keep the new weed seeds from getting a chance to sprout. I understand wanting to have something in there "asap" and not being able to use roundup.

    Another option would be till it under, (get your lime worked in if you need some), plant some buckwheat, mow and till that under mid/end of summer and then plant that mix you stated. Then come the following year you will have a great stand of clover.

    Or you can plant half it in the oats/clover now and see how it does. I think the brassicas would be too early to plant.
     
  6. rknierim

    rknierim Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I waited til third week of August last year to plant and it ended up biting me in the butt. We didn't get any rain for almost a month. I got a power inverter for my truck, put a water hauler in the bed, and put a submersible sump pump in the tank to water the cpl plots close to the house. One turned out alright, the other one didn't do much at all. I'm going to plant mid July this year, maybe second weekend. Just can't count on the weather around here
     
  7. jake_

    jake_ Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Planting brassicas in July for sure. latest I did it was 3rd week of August. Turnips got the size of softballs, but we had great rain also.. August usually is a dry month so we are at the mercy of mother nature. OR a sprinkler system :)
     
  8. atlasman

    atlasman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I actually have a water outlet that draws from the pond just off the one edge of this area so I will never be totally without water if need be I can soak the area with nice nutrient rich pond water.


    My biggest fear is battling weeds all year. Just not sure I can till them all out in such a short time.
     
  9. Ben/PA

    Ben/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    Atlas. If you are planting oats turnips, and radishes. You won't want to plant them until much later in the summer. Is what you're planting a mix containing all of the above? OR were you gonna keep the clover separate? I've played this game.
     
  10. atlasman

    atlasman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Not sure Ben. I am no food plot expert and I am not a farmer. A guy we are hunting buddies with has what I would say are nice food plots. Full of deer all season and hold up to heavy browsing. Last year he changed from having separate plots with turnips, clover, oats, etc.......he mixed his seed somewhat last year and his plots held deer more consistently all season, not just a useless clover plot come gun or useless brasica in early bow.

    I don't know if I can make that work. He is working side by side with us out at our land on 5 acres of plots right now (we have 20 tons of lime coming on Friday). We also have a local farmer with an 80 horse tractor so I am picking up good info but making it work at home with a tiller and hand spreader is easier said then done.

    I was actually thinking of doing oats/clover in a horseshoe pattern with radishes and turnips on the inside as a possibility so the deer will favor the edges during early (bow) season and put them in easy range.


    Mostly what I don't want is to waste a ton of my time and end up with a lousy plot.



    Should I get a sod cutter and just get all that grass right out of there???
     
  11. jake_

    jake_ Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Sounds like you are on the right track ^. Also if you want to do more reading, qdma.com has a great food plot forum.

    Sod cutter, not sure if that would work good or not. Are there alot of rocks in the area?
     
  12. GregH

    GregH Legendary Woodsman

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    Atlas, if your neighbor has a front end loader on his tractor it would be the fastest sod cutter you ever used.
     
  13. Ben/PA

    Ben/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    If you do this,

    and then plant, you will be just fine. your seeds will likely beat out the natural veg.

    The problem I see is the clover in your mix. Clover is perennial and usually is planted in the spring. The turnips, like to be planted 75 days prior to the first frost, like mid Aug. The oats, IMO, need to be planted even later than that to be perfect.

    If you absolutely wanted clover, I'd till and plant now, then mow when it needs mowing.


    What I'd recommend doing is liming, then planting oats now to grow and beat out native veg. Mow and retill in early August. If you wanted to mix your seed, then I'd plant the 3rd week Aug and I'd mix some beans in with the oats and turnips.

    Personally, for all season attraction, I'd section it and plant 3 sections at the proper times. Oats, turnips, and some kind of a bean mix. Red Zone is really great. It's one of the few "marketed" seeds out there that is close to being worth the money. It's buckwheat, two types of beans, peas, and sunflowers. Planted in mid Aug, it's awesome in October. The oats will be good from growth to December if planted around Labor Day. Your brassicas, you'll want to watch. If they start to yellow, you'll need to dress them with some UREA before a rain, but I've only had to do that one year.

    You sound like you're willing to put in the time and effort. Good luck.



    EDIT: is the total amount of area only a half acre? Or is there more?
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  14. atlasman

    atlasman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    So here are a couple pics to give you a good idea of what I am trying to do.



    Here is the view of the plot opening.........I will be putting a stand in the trees on the left of the pic



    [​IMG]



    View of pond proximity to plot.


    [​IMG]




    Nothing dramatic..............just grass.


    I also have taken my tiller down in the woods and tore up about 1/2 acre of log roads and an open patch by the creek. I will be posting pics of those areas as I work them in as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  15. jake_

    jake_ Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Ben- Thanks for the good feedback on Redzone.


    That looks like a nice place. Thanks for sharing.
    What kind of tiller you have? I have started plots by just mowing low(like you done) and just keep on tilling them. My one small plot I never put round up on and it is the most weed free plot I have. Took a few years, of a clover in spring, till that under in July and brassicas for fall.
     
  16. Ben/PA

    Ben/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    Jake, not a problem, it's a solid mix. There's a lot of other stuff out there that's misleading what it actually is.

    Here's a pic of it at 4 weeks after planting. It's on the left side.

    [​IMG]

    Up close.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Ben/PA

    Ben/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    Jake, not a problem, it's a solid mix. There's a lot of other stuff out there that's misleading what it actually is.

    Here's a pic of it at 4 weeks after planting. It's on the left side.

    [​IMG]

    Up close.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. jake_

    jake_ Die Hard Bowhunter

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    ^ Thanks for the pictures. Looks good. (Check your Pm).

    Atlasman- I forget to add after looking at the overhead picture again. I bet you have alot of deer back there with the surround woods and that pond. A water hole/pond is great to have on a property. You ever run any trail cameras back there?

    Good luck again and keep us updated what you end up doing. Lots of great info in this post and many diffrerent ways to go about planting.
     
  19. iahunter11

    iahunter11 Weekend Warrior

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    thats what we did to all of our roads threw the woods. and so far very few weeds are comin in and going to work one more time right before planting just to make sure. it should work for ya great mix too!
     

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