If you’re thinking about building a food plot for deer, there are several reasons why clover is the best option for you. For example, clovers are widely available, easy-to-plant, almost all clover species attract deer, and most importantly, clovers are highly digestive plant food for animals.
Now, if you’ve come here, it means you want to know how to plant clover for deer and how to make your ground compatible for planting clovers. Plating this versatile deer forage is pretty easy; all you need to do is go patiently with the process and proceed step-by-step.
In the following discussion, we’ll elaborately discuss how you can successfully plant clovers to establish a food plot for deer. So read along to learn more!
How Do You Prepare The Ground For Planting Clovers?
Before you prepare the ground for planting clover, you should decide first which clover you would like to plant for deer’s. Generally, deer attract white, red, crimson, and types of clover. So choosing a clover plant for establishing a clover plot for deer won’t be difficult.
Still, we have gathered some of the best clovers for deer, such as Cereal Rye, Oats, Chicory, White Clover, and more. The reason why you should choose the clover first is that you need to prepare the soil with the preferable pH level of your desired clovers.
Now let’s learn how you should prepare the ground for planting clovers.
- Test The pH Level In Soil
Clovers usually love to thrive in the soil with a pH level of 6 to 7; however, some clovers also prefer to grow best in soil with 8.5 pH levels, such as clover species of Ball, Berseem, Persian, Red, etc.
You can determine the pH level by yourself using a soil testing kit. This kit can also indicate to you deficiencies of minerals or nutrients in the soil. Now, what should you do if the pH level doesn’t match the ideal ratio?
- If the pH level is lower than the ideal ratio, add sawdust or peat moss to adjust the level.
- Consider mixing lime in the soil when you have soil with a high pH level.
Make sure you learn first what pH level your selected clover plants prefer through experts or online research.
- Kill Weeds
Before you plant clover on the plot, you have to remove any weeds or unwanted plants from the ground. You can use a chemical or synthetic weed killer to get rid of turf, weed, and other unwanted plants.
Make sure you read the manual instructions before using the product. Besides, if you are planting clover as food for animals and bees, consider not to use chemical weed killer.
- Till The Ground
Till the ground to a 20 cm depth before a month ago of planting to remove rocks, vegetation, and debris from the soil. This process will allow the weeds to regrow; therefore, you can clean the grow properly before planting, which will allow the clovers to establish in the best way possible.
Clovers prefer to grow best in the moistured soil so consider watering your plot every day. It’ll also help the weeds to regrow within a week; hence you can start planting the seeds without waiting for a whole month.
However, if it’s raining and your plot is getting enough water from it, you don’t need to water the ground.
- Remove Weeds Again
Once you’re done with the above steps, it’s high time again to remove the weeds from the plot. Use a shovel, scythe, or spade to remove sprouted weeds after you tilled the ground earlier.
You need to do complete this step before a few days ago of planting clover seed to give clovers the best chance to thrive. Now your ground should be prepared to plant clovers for deer.
When Should You Plant Clover For Deer?
Clovers are a highly digestive plant that makes them great plant food for deer. If you’re planning to plant clovers in an extremely dry or cold region, the growth of the clovers can be inhibited significantly.
The best time to plant clover is when the weather isn’t too hot and too cold or dry. That’s why late-winter frost and spring are the best time to plant clovers. The rainy season can also be the best time to plant clover.
It’s also possible to grow clovers successfully during the last summer or before 7 weeks of winter.
The process of planting clover for deer is pretty simple but time-consuming. Each step you should take for planting clover has its timing, and also white clover takes some time to bloom.
Here are a few simple steps to plant clover for deer successfully:
- Start your planting process in May. Test your soil and check for the pH level, don’t overlook the slightly dissimilar pH ratio from 6 to 7 ratio.
- June is the best time for the field to grow actively. Apply herbicide evenly to kill growing vegetations. You should see that every weed in the ground is yellow and dead after a month.
- Clover prefers soft, fluffy and sandy loam soils. Therefore, July is the best month for plot cultivation as it receives a lot of rainfall. However, if your ground is hard and dry, you’ll need to establish freshly plowed soil before tilling the ground during post-rain.
- You should also adjust the pH level of soil during July according to the soil service instruction, or if you test the soil yourself, you can apply the method above to adjust the pH.
- After preparing the ground, you should prepare the clover seeds. Use a spreader to spread the seeds in the plot evenly. If you add grass seed with clovers, mix sand with the clover seeds to prevent both seeds from building up in one place.
- The last step is to water the seeds accordingly and wait for them to bloom.
You really need to have the patience to see the best results of clover after planting them. Clover takes more time to spread and develop root structure and sprout itself.
If you want to make the process of establishing cloves faster, you can surely use fertilizer. But make sure the fertilizer has zero or low nitrogen levels than potassium and phosphorus. You should see the planting result during spring significantly.
No matter whether you’re planting clover for decorating your existing lawn or as food for deers, you must maintain the garden for clovers to thrive. Here are some tips for maintaining a clover garden for deer:
- Apply herbicide to destroy any kind of vegetation for clover to grow healthily. But make sure you choose a herbicide that isn’t harmful to your clovers; for example, the 2,4-DB herbicide is safe to apply on clovers directly. Apply it either early in the morning or in the late afternoon, and you should see some weeds to twist and die right after applying it.
- From the late spring to late summer, you should mow your clover plant food plots; make sure you don’t make their height shorter than 5 inches. However, never mow during droughts.
- You may see some bare spots in your clover plot during early spring or late winter. Spread some frost seeds in those areas so that your clover plot fills again with healthy and fresh clovers again with the rainfall of early spring.
- The last thing you can do to maintain your clover ground is applied fertilizer. But clover really doesn’t need fertilizer, especially those that have high nitrogen. Choose fertilizers that have a low level of nitrogen and high levels of potassium and phosphorus, and the ideal NPK ratio of fertilizer for clover is 3-18-18.
Where should you plant clovers for deer?
You can plant and grow clovers anywhere in the legal region as long as the weather allows you to plant them. Clovers love soft and sandy loam soils, which means soil filled with moisture. Therefore, dry and arid areas aren’t suitable for growing clovers.
Which clover deer likes the most?
Generally, deer’s like all the clover species, including crimson, red, and white clovers. That’s what makes clover versatile for deer forage. Since deer like all clovers, finding clover seeds also become easier.
Do deer eat clover during the winter season?
Yes, deer can eat clover during the winter season. In fact, they will dig about 8-12 inches of snow in the plot to eat clover. Usually, deer eat around 5-7 pounds of food forages each day. However, remember you never should let your deers eat alfalfa in winter.
From the above discussion, you get to learn how to plant clover for deer. After going through the process, you may have noticed that there isn’t much difference between planting clover for lawns and for deer.
But when you plant clovers for deer, bees, or animals, you can’t use any chemical herbicide on the clovers. It can make the leaves toxic for animals; even clovers can turn yellow and die due to chemicals.
So make sure you keep this in mind while maintaining your clover after planting them.