Clovers are where the deer plots craze started, and, for good reason.
Over time however, mixes and forages have changed, advanced and been created to provide specific deer plots needs and functions.
While whitetail deer fall deer attractants can provide a better hunting resource, and winter food availability in northern regions, clovers provide the optimum spring health development food source.
That is why they are an integral part of deer habitat management in most areas.
When considering a clover planting, you should plant as a blend. The basic clovers are red, white and alsike. While almost any clover will do well in the spring, a well-blended plot should perform well year-round under all but the most extreme conditions. I have found a simple mix of three pounds per acre of each red clover, alsike and Ladino, a white clover, has worked well for me.
Another reason you should consider clover in your food plot planting program, is clovers fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.
Simply put, as the clover planting begins to deteriorate and weeds begin to take over your stand and you should consider rotating back into annual forages, such as chicory or rapeseed for a year or two. ഀ
These Annual Forages need nitrogen in order to grow and reach their maximum potential. The clover, once tilled under, will provide some of that nitrogen need in the soil, thus reducing your investment necessary for commercial fertilizer.
Clover is also easy to seed.
Just be sure the weeds are gone. The site prep starts before planting. If the site is following a year or two of Annual Forage, you would simply include a spraying of emerging weeds, usually this is about the middle of May, unless you are located far to the south. A tillage pass should follow that application to bury any dead plant residue. If more weeds emerge, a second spraying may be in order just prior to seeding.
You could conduct a light tillage just before you put in your food plot seed. I try and plant my clover paddocks the last week of May or 1st week in June. The seed can then be broadcasted, no need for a drill, and then just run a drag over it when you’re done seeding