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Low Maintenance Plots

Low Maintenance Plots


As an absentee land owner, (I live two and a half hours from my property) it is difficult to manage food plots effectively. So I have had to rely on more plots that are less maintenance and require a lot less care than one that I could manage if just a few miles from home.

Many deer hunters today are absentee landowners and while this allows for us to make an investment and hunt, it provides its own set of unique circumstances. Just planting a food plot is a major undertaking. Having to haul tractors hundreds of miles, getting fuel to tractors, implements needed to plow and plant all require trailers and people to get these items to and from the fields. Couple this with the necessary maintenance needed to maintain a crop it is quite the undertaking.

This is where low maintenance plots come into play. I personally like to choose crops that require little to no effort once they are planted. For me this is clover. Red and white clover are easily planted, hearty, can stand drought for some time, and handle browse easily. Some will mow the clover in the spring to help it regenerate. Personally I mow my clover twice a year and the clover and it lasts five to seven years before needing to be replanted. As stated in other posts, I will often drill other crops directly into the clover for late season or after season food.  But for my main crop, clover is hard to beat.

Another low maintenance crop is soybeans. Soybeans offer great protein during the summer and through the fall into the depth of winter. Many southern hunters will mow their soybeans after they turn brown. Leaving the stalks intact will allow the deer to feed on the beans and husks through the winter.

Even with low maintenance it does not mean NO maintenance. Everything out there needs some maintenance. All crops will be competing with weeds for nutrients, sun and water. Spraying a good herbicide once the crop is getting established can make a big difference. Mowing clover allow the clover to spread and become thick enough to choke out weeds. It also allows for more protein to grow in the new growth areas. CAUTION: Do Not mow lower than five inches or you could lose your crop!

Mowing, herbicides and barriers all help protect your crop until you are able to get it established. Erecting temporary barriers will keep the deer off of the plot until you are ready to allow them to enter the field and begin browsing on your hard worked crop.

Low maintenance food plots are a great tool to implement in your regimen. So long as you remember that low maintenance does not mean no maintenance. Committing to growing good plots will definitely pay big dividends in the coming years.