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5 Tips for Managing Food Plots
9/25/2018 3:12:43 PM
By John Gruchy, Private Lands Coordinator for MDWFP

Annuals and Perennials

If the objective is improving available forage for white-tailed deer, plantings should address the nutritional stress periods for whitetails, which in Mississippi is late winter and late summer. In short, no one planting will meet all nutritional needs of deer, turkeys, or other game animals. Several different plots including warm- and cool-season annuals and cool-season perennials are often necessary.

Selecting Perennial Forages

In Mississippi, clover is most often selected for a perennial planting. Clover varieties should be selected based on the moisture-holding capacity and fertility of the planting site.

Manage Soil Fertility

After selecting a good planting site, the next step is applying the soil amendments of lime and fertilizer. In order to properly apply lime and fertilizer, collect a soil sample and have it analyzed by the Cooperative Extension office.

Control the Weeds

The best strategy for weed control, aside from fall planting, is to “burn down” areas thoroughly with one or two applications of a glyphosate herbicide before planting, then minimize soil disturbance by using a no-till drill.

Keep It Trim

Most perennial forages should be mowed two to three times during the summer to keep the sward healthy and to aid in weed control by preventing weeds from going to seed. It is recommended to clip perennials early in the spring. Also, if using a bushhog, make sure the setting is high enough to avoid clipping flowering heads of clovers and other perennials.

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