The #1 thing you can do to ensure the success of your food plots is to match your seed to your soil.
Why: because different plants have different root structures, moisture needs, pH requirements and sensitivities, as well as fertility needs.
There are generally three main types of soil:
Clay, Sandy, and Loam. Loam is further divided into sandy loam, silt loam and clay loam.
In general clay is fine particles, holds moisture well, but doesn’t drain good.
Sandy soil is the hardest to deal with because it doesn’t hold nutrients, organic matter or treatments for long.
Loam or variations are the best to deal with and are generally the darkest rich dark soil. It is the highest in organic matter.
How do you determine your soil type?
Use the ball test. This is pretty simple stuff, but you would be surprised how easy it is to go wrong right at this stage. Take a wad of soil, put in your fist, squeeze to make a ball.
Sandy soil will not make a ball, doesn’t matter what you do. Think the beach…
Loam balls easily, little like flour talc when dry.
Sandy loam would make a ball, but it wouldn’t hold its shape.
Clay Loam: makes a hard ball and if you smash it flat, it holds its new shape.
Here are some hints and choices from the things I like the best.
Clay Soil Forages for your deer plots:
Use plants with shallow creeping roots such as ladino clover, alsike clover, certain vetches, and ryegrass. Don’t blend your perennial and annual clovers together either!
Loam Soil Forages for your deer plots:
Sandy Loam: alfalfa, brassicas, oats, wheat, chicory
Loam Clay or Silt: doesn’t drain as well so change to clover, corn, beans
Sandy Soils recommendations for your food plot:
In general I recommend to stick with annuals such as wheat (arid varieties), chicory(ok in dryer places), and sometimes brassicas if not too sandy and don’t plant too early.
If you want to try perennials then I suggest Durango clover, small burnett, and chicory (perennial variety).
For more articles and free resources on deer plots, feel free to visit: www.diydeerfoodplots.com/resources