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Welcome To Wildlifeseeds.com - Seedland.com's guide to planting food plots

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Food Plot Maintenance Annual & Perennial

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Tips For Food Plot Maintenance

Cowpeas - A deer favorite.Annual maintenance requires seasonal combination plantings and some mowing or turning under. Weeding is not usually recommended because many weeds provide seeds, forage, and cover for the smaller wildlife. Insects are attracted providing additional food sources. Late mowing gets seed to the ground for quail, dove, and pheasant and allows the plant material time to decompose and provide nutrients for next years crop.

Perennial Maintenance - Perennial plots are planted on a long term basis. These crops are plants that live for two years or more. Perennial plots probably need the least amount of work over the long term.

Annual Food Plot Maintenance

Annual plots must be planted on a yearly or seasonal basis. These are planted with vegetation that lives for one season. These are short term plantings and are usually designed to attract a specific species and preliminary scouting of the area for the best location and growing conditions should be done well in advance. Plants that can be used in planning food plots will be chosen for the region, climate, and species attracted, non-aggressive invasion to the native plant species and location of the sites. Some plants used in the annual food plots are legumes, millets, grains, ryes, tubers, vetches, sorghums, sunflowers, chufas and many more.

Maintenance includes soil testing to see if liming or other fertilizer / additives need to be added and removing unwanted growth by mowing, burning, clearing in preparation for planting. Some form of cultivation will be needed either with machines or by hand. Planting methods will vary upon the crop being grown. Whether grown for hunting, viewing, or simply preservation a study of the food needs of the various animals and their relationship with the native plants is necessary. You may want to remove a plant that is considered unwanted by you but the animal might actually utilize the vegetation in ways unrelated to eating. Turkeys for instance might not eat a particular weed but consume the insects that are drawn to it.

Some of the vegetation for annual food plots might contain:

  • Millets like dove proso, white proso, German, Japanese, brown top, or pearl.
  • Tubers called chufa.
  • Legumes such as clovers, alfalfa, peanuts, soybeans, or peas.
  • Grains like corn, oats, wheat,  or ryes.
  • Sorghums like sorghum alum, or sorghum - sudan mixtures.
  • Wheats such as buckwheat, duck, or Egyptian.

Perennial Food Plot Maintenance

Maintenance of perennial plots can require yearly fertilization, liming, adding new perennial plants that have died or thinned over time. Extensions or the reintroduction of native species vegetation and adding annual plots to supplement the perennial ones. Mowing, cultivation, controlled burning, or clearing brush in over grown or nonproductive stands, reintroduction or adding new protection, breeding, feeding and nursery areas.

Fertilization of existing native trees, shrubs or plants that provide acorns, nuts, fruit or seed, nesting areas, even adding watering spots for some species such as ponds or swamp areas. Continual observation of the wildlife population, its health, range, and climate determines the changes and redesigning for better sight situations that might need to be made. Studying the adult population will give clear indication of any supplemental plantings that are needed to improve the overall health of the entire group.

Some of the vegetation for perennial food plots might contain:

  • Grasses such as Bahia, switchgrass, Indian grass.
  • Wildflowers and native grasses.
  • Herbs such as chicory forage, benne.
  • Lespedesa called Korean, Bicolor, Kobie Striate.
  • Tubers called chufa.
  • Sunflowers of all varieties produce oil rich seeds for birds all seed eating animals.
  • Trees that produce nuts, acorns, edible seed, and provide habitat and shelter.
  • Bushes like blackberry, blueberry, gooseberry, raspberry.
  • Vines that are grape varieties, honey suckles, kudzu, trumpet vines.
  • Weeds such as beggarweed.
  • Legumes such as perennial peanut, clovers, sesbania, peas, alfalfa, peanuts, indigos, soybeans, serica lespedesa, vetches known as aeschynomene, jointvetch, deer vetch.
  • Sunflowers of all varieties produce oil rich seeds for birds all seed eating animals
  • Reed canary grasses for shelter, food and nesting sites.

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