What to expect from your first year food plot and beyond
The key to successful food plots is patience! It’s important to remember that a food plot becomes more and more productive as time goes on. You can expect a good crop from your food plot the first year in production, but with proper weed control and soil maintenance, your plot will continue to improve. Here are some things to consider and/or watch for as you watch your first year plot.
Don’t be alarmed if your food plot doesn’t fill completely in or grow as high as you think it should. Deer are always looking for the greenest, most tender forage they can find. Deer and turkeys will search for tender, young green forage as the fall progresses, while killing frosts end the growing season for other plants they typically graze upon. By mid October in most areas, your food plot will be one of the best sources of nourishment. Therefore, many deer will visit a plot throughout each day. This type of heavy grazing will result in a food plot that is green and growing, but only a few inches tall and not completely filled in. The height of the food plot is irrelevant, as long as it is green. A green food plot is a growing food plot. A growing food plot will keep the deer and turkeys coming. They will continue to use a plot and keep it grazed at the height they prefer.
Although we’re not farming, a successful food plot still needs help from Mother Nature. Too much rain, a lack of rain, heat, sunlight, hail and overgrazing can and will affect the food plot’s outcome.
Material costs are calculated using full retail prices of nationally branded seed, fertilizer, and Round-up.
- pH: Your soil’s pH may take a few years to stabilize at the optimum level for growing your plot. You may want to consider testing your soil again next year.
- Rocks: If your soil is rocky, you can expect rocks to continue to rise to the surface of your plot for the next several years. This is due to both working the soil and to the natural movement caused by repeated freezing and thawing of the ground. Rock removal will improve the condition of future food plots and should become an easier task each year.
- Perennials: Perennial plants like clover need to be maintained over the course of a year. This maintenance may include mowing and/or spraying. Reed and Hoppe’s does provide both of these services.
- Wildlife: Ultimately, your food plot was established to increase the number of animals that come to your location. So, expect to see more of them and expect them to eat everything green and growing.