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Cleaning up a old food plot #16260867 07/17/21
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old_willys Offline OP
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Cleaning up a old food plot
Purchased a property that has 2 food plots that were setup a few years back but all I see growing now is ferns.

I am trying to find someone locally to plow and till whats there and get something new going, my place is located in Potter County PA I will not be back home until Sept 1st, is there anything I could plant that late in the season?

I am looking to buy a 4x4 UTV to run around the property are there any disc tillers that work with a UTV?

I am new to food plots and any help would be appreciated!


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Last edited by old_willys; 07/17/21.

Ted
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Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16260934 07/17/21
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ejo Online Content
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Cereal Rye should work very well planted on September 1st. Try to get a soil test since ferns tend to grow in poor soils. You could spray now and broadcast cereal rye on the surface prior to a heavy rain.

Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16261207 07/17/21
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"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, used up, worn out, bottle of Jim Beam in one hand and a .45 in the other, loudly proclaiming WOW-- What a Ride!"
Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16262047 07/18/21
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If ferns are growing, your ph is most certainly low. You need to get some lime spread. I agree with a spray, throw and mow approach if you lack equipment. I’d broadcast the equivalent of 150lbs plus per acre of cereal rye (not rye grass). I’d also spread a mix of alsike clover and chicory (I’d go 8lbs of clover and 2lbs of chicory). Both of these are low ph tolerant. I’d then mow and pack in by driving over. Note that these planting rates are higher than properly prepared seedbeds. However, in my experience, the spray/throw/mow/pack method is not as efficient.

The rye is a great draw before snows pile up, and is the first plant to green up in the spring. Don’t expect much production from the the clover/chicory this year. They will flourish next summer. I personally like to let the rye grow to maturity. It shades the clover and can provide important fawning and Turkey habitat. The heads will be eaten and provide some additional seed for the following year. Importantly, when winter snows eventually knock it down, it will add thatch and nutrients for your soil.

Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16262066 07/18/21
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Colorado1135 Offline
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Contact your local nrcs office for what to do at your location. A simple phone call will get you the right advice for your area and soil type, it's their job.


Beware of any old man in a profession where one usually dies young.

Calm seas don't make sailors.
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Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16263734 07/18/21
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I work as a technical resource conservationist for the NRCS Area office in Clarion. I provide technical support to all our Field Offices in western Pa (including Potter). Elkaddict has good points with his suggestion of rye. At that time of year, you could also plant Triticale or Wheat but the cereal rye is the best for germination after broadcast seeding with minimal tillage. Seeding rate would be about the same for all 3, 100-150 lb/acre. You could also do a mix of all 3. For best results in that part of the state, figure the rye needs seeded by Oct 15 and the others by about Oct. 1. Earlier is better but things don't always go according to plan. Rye can actually be planted later but you won't see much growth until next spring.

How's the deer pressure in your area? I'd be afraid that the clover and chicory will get eaten so hard that they'll die out. Alsike tolerates close grazing by domestic animals but that is different than a wildlife setting.

Soil test kits are available from Penn State Extension, I think they're $9. PSU extension has someone based in Potter, I think her name is Nicole Santangelo, that would be another source of information.

NRCS also has a forester on staff that covers Potter (she's based in DuBois). The EQIP program can help pay for a professional forest management plan. 814-320-4008 is the phone for the Coudersport office. Tell them Dale sent you. Won't get you anything extra but makes me look good grin

Dale


I used to think we had a coyote problem in Pa. Now I think we have a Wolf problem...




Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16263994 07/18/21
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old_willys Offline OP
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Thanks All!

Thanks Dale I will drop your name when I call for a soil test kits smile

Six weeks until retirement and I return home to PA! Glad to hear that's not too late to do some planting.

Deer pressure is light which is why I want to work on the food plots, I have a resident doe and fawns and an occasional forkie in velvet otherwise my cameras have not caught anything.

The other issue is that the property nearly completely covered with tree's except for the 2 plots so I want to open things up so a forest management plan would help.


Ted
Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16264749 07/19/21
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Cheapest would be to follow the cereal rye suggestion. I've successfully planted it without breaking ground. Broadcast the seed, spray it with roundup, and cultipack it flat. If no cultipacking, just run over the weeds until they are flat. Pelletized lime is cheap and I'd be sure to spread some of that.

I've had the best luck with the following species for a throw, mow, roll approach:
cereal rye
oats
crimson clover
medium red clover
purple top turnips

One thing that helped me with food plots was to remember that they do not have to look like a crop field or the picture on a bag of seed for it to be effective.

Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16264787 07/19/21
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How do you get seeds to germinate with out hitting the soil?
To me OP has to start over if he wants anything decent for a food plot.
That means Killing the crap that's growing on them now, then disking until dirt and replanting.


I would have got him too but a Dad Blam snow flake hit me in da eye....
Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16265132 07/19/21
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So I seed then spray weed killer?


Ted
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Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16265456 07/19/21
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Originally Posted by doubleDs55
How do you get seeds to germinate with out hitting the soil?
To me OP has to start over if he wants anything decent for a food plot.
That means Killing the crap that's growing on them now, then disking until dirt and replanting.
The seeds have to hit the soil to germinate. The spraying, cultipacking, and rain will move seeds down through thatch to the soil for germination. The dead weeds become a mulch to hold moisture and provide some protection for getting stuff growing. Nature grows a lot of stuff without starting with bare dirt... Not saying that turning soil can't or won't work, but I had many years of successful food plots without turning an ounce of dirt as I didn't have access to equipment.

The clover patch these two does were shot out of looked just like the what you see behind them. Spread clover and cereal rye, sprayed the weeds, and packed 'em flat. The plot wouldn't make the cover of a magazine or a seed bag, but my boys and the deer didn't mind...

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]DSCN2202 by Tyler Staggs, on [bleep]


Originally Posted by old_willys
So I seed then spray weed killer?
If you use glyphosate (Roundup) that will work. Some other weed killers can have a residual effect and can hamper germination. If you don't have a cultipacker or a lawnroller, just ride over the weeds until they are flat, but only AFTER spraying. You'll get stuff to grow, especially if you plant cereal rye, it's very easy to grow.

Last edited by pointer; 07/19/21.
Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16265712 07/19/21
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Looks like those young men may just grow up to be serious hunters!

Healthy looking does too; been eating good in the clover field.

Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: pointer] #16265834 07/19/21
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Originally Posted by pointer
Originally Posted by doubleDs55
How do you get seeds to germinate with out hitting the soil?
To me OP has to start over if he wants anything decent for a food plot.
That means Killing the crap that's growing on them now, then disking until dirt and replanting.
The seeds have to hit the soil to germinate. The spraying, cultipacking, and rain will move seeds down through thatch to the soil for germination. The dead weeds become a mulch to hold moisture and provide some protection for getting stuff growing. Nature grows a lot of stuff without starting with bare dirt... Not saying that turning soil can't or won't work, but I had many years of successful food plots without turning an ounce of dirt as I didn't have access to equipment.

The clover patch these two does were shot out of looked just like the what you see behind them. Spread clover and cereal rye, sprayed the weeds, and packed 'em flat. The plot wouldn't make the cover of a magazine or a seed bag, but my boys and the deer didn't mind...

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]DSCN2202 by .com/photos/150924633N06/]Tyler Staggs, on [bleep]


Originally Posted by old_willys
So I seed then spray weed killer?
If you use glyphosate (Roundup) that will work. Some other weed killers can have a residual effect and can hamper germination. If you don't have a cultipacker or a lawnroller, just ride over the weeds until they are flat, but only AFTER spraying. You'll get stuff to grow, especially if you plant cereal rye, it's very easy to grow.



That photo should be on the cover of a magazine. The looks on their faces are awesome! Good goin'!!!

Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16266598 07/19/21
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Dale K Offline
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Originally Posted by old_willys
Thanks All!

Thanks Dale I will drop your name when I call for a soil test kits smile

Six weeks until retirement and I return home to PA! Glad to hear that's not too late to do some planting.

Deer pressure is light which is why I want to work on the food plots, I have a resident doe and fawns and an occasional forkie in velvet otherwise my cameras have not caught anything.

The other issue is that the property nearly completely covered with tree's except for the 2 plots so I want to open things up so a forest management plan would help.




Thanks for the name drop but the Extension folks where you get the soil test kit's won't recognize me, I work for NRCS. What part of Potter County?

Dale


I used to think we had a coyote problem in Pa. Now I think we have a Wolf problem...




Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16266800 07/19/21
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old_willys Offline OP
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I am east of Coudersport off of Irish Farm rd. I will remember it's the NRCS that I need to drop your name with smile

I am stuck here in CA finishing up a couple of long trem projects before I retire, 27 work days left!


Ted
Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16267735 07/20/21
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doubleDs55 Offline
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Originally Posted by old_willys
I am east of Coudersport off of Irish Farm rd. I will remember it's the NRCS that I need to drop your name with smile

I am stuck here in CA finishing up a couple of long trem projects before I retire, 27 work days left!

When I retired I bought a compact tractor, before that I used UTV's to get to the soil so I could plant corn and beans.
If you are going to retire get something to get the ground churned up. If you don't you'll want one, A disk for a UTV makes for pretty good
soil work too.


I would have got him too but a Dad Blam snow flake hit me in da eye....
Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16272429 07/22/21
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Colorado1135 Offline
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Tilling is good if you want to get rid of your soil structure, limit water infiltration and encourage weeds in an old food plot. Every time you till the soil you stir up the seed bank and encourage more stuff to germinate. It also breaks your soil structure, causing those smaller particles to pack tighter and decrease waster permeability. Spray it, mow it and notill into it is what I would do, and did for a living for a good while along with habitat restoration. I used to agree with the tillage crowd until I saw the light.


Beware of any old man in a profession where one usually dies young.

Calm seas don't make sailors.
Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: Colorado1135] #16272752 07/22/21
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Originally Posted by Colorado1135
Tilling is good if you want to get rid of your soil structure, limit water infiltration and encourage weeds in an old food plot. Every time you till the soil you stir up the seed bank and encourage more stuff to germinate. It also breaks your soil structure, causing those smaller particles to pack tighter and decrease waster permeability. Spray it, mow it and notill into it is what I would do, and did for a living for a good while along with habitat restoration. I used to agree with the tillage crowd until I saw the light.
I'd would LOVE to have a small no-till drill with a grass box. Just too expensive for the amount of planting I do. Have thought about buying one and a compact tractor. Thinking around here I could probably get enough work to help offset the cost, but way to busy chasing kids right now for a side gig.

Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: old_willys] #16273288 07/22/21
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Colorado1135 Offline
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Some conservation districts will rent them out, I've rented them from dealerships before. Another option is see if there's a pheasants forever habitat specialist in your area you could contract to do it for you. Check with your local conservation district first before giving up so easily. Likely they'll know how to help or steer you in the right direction.


Beware of any old man in a profession where one usually dies young.

Calm seas don't make sailors.
Re: Cleaning up a old food plot [Re: Colorado1135] #16273725 07/22/21
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Originally Posted by Colorado1135
Tilling is good if you want to get rid of your soil structure, limit water infiltration and encourage weeds in an old food plot. Every time you till the soil you stir up the seed bank and encourage more stuff to germinate. It also breaks your soil structure, causing those smaller particles to pack tighter and decrease waster permeability. Spray it, mow it and notill into it is what I would do, and did for a living for a good while along with habitat restoration. I used to agree with the tillage crowd until I saw the light.

I would never use a tiller for beans and corn.
A disc works good to break up the soil from last years crap that sits on top esp corn stalks. Beans I just use a cultivator to loosen the ground.
Tiller might be ok for breaking sod, IDK I don't use one. For corn and beans it works better to get down in the ground with some ruffage on top.
Here we think about winter survival being just as important as hunting over the crop if not more so. Them grass crops would be covered with snow in no time here, which is why most of us plant RR corn. Has to be done right when a bag of RR ready corn is over $250.00


I would have got him too but a Dad Blam snow flake hit me in da eye....
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