Get the Most out of Perennial Plots

Get the Most out of Perennial Plots
Perennial food plots can produce high-quality, year-round nutrition for multiple years, if maintained appropriately, including amending the soil and control competition. (Jeremy Flinn photo)

By far one of the most planted food plot species is clover. For many, clover is clover. But between reds and whites, annuals and perennials, there are a lot of differing characteristics that not only affect the performance of a food plots but also the cost of establishment.

Many will opt to plant a Durana or Ladino white clover in their standard annual food plot mix because of the larger leafed biomass produced, only to till it under next summer/fall. As a perennial, white clover can be maintained as a highly nutritious and attractive plot for several years. The same can be said for alfalfa and chicory.

Mixing these plants with annuals is not a bad idea, as annuals provide “cover crop” like protection to the slower growing perennials. However, the plot should then be maintained year after year allowing the perennial to thrive, not tilled under to plant another annual plot less than a year later. In order to maximize your investment with perennial plantings, here are some simple tips.

Plant with an Annual

Because they have a longer lifespan, perennials will grow slower than annuals like oats, wheat or rye grain. In areas of high deer populations or plots smaller than one acre in size, it’s often a good idea to plant them with an annual. This provides cover for the slower growing perennial from heavy deer browsing and allows it to establish before deer pressure really starts. For the first deer season, it will also provide a buffet of forages at varying attractiveness.


Amend the Soil

A food plot is only as good as its foundation – the soil. For most, this means throwing out some lime and a bag or two of “Triple 13.” Though anything will help, this is likely not going to get it done. Though pH (parts Hydrogen) typically has the greatest focus, nutrients in the soil are often just as limiting. There are lots of options for neutralizing materials from pelletized lime to new bio-activated calcium from DeerGro. For many, moving tons (literally) of lime is impossible, or co-ops are more concerned with large scale farming to bring you a couple of tons. Nutrients are very critical, mainly Calcium, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. A proper soil test will get you the answer to the pounds per acres of each that you need to grow a great plot.


Plot Maintenance

Unlike annual plots that require little attention after planting to reach maximum performance, perennials will require attention, but that translates into years of production, versus months with annuals. Most of this revolves around the control of grasses and weeds, but also some additional or released fertilizer. For weeds, most perennial plots will have a constant battle with grasses. Use of a grass selective herbicide with the active ingredient clethodim can cure that problem. Release from competition will allow the plot to flourish year after year.


Though it may seem like “extra” work, the amount of production and benefit from perennial food plots will create a multi-year nutrition and attraction source on your property.

Recommended for You

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for walleyes in early summer. Walleye

How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications. News

Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.

Perfect for competition or a day at the range. Other Hunting

New Gear: MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag

G&F Staff

Perfect for competition or a day at the range.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

Celebrate the start of summer with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Memorial Day Recipes for Your Outdoor BBQ

OutdoorChannel.com Staff

Celebrate the start of summer with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these...

See More Stories

More Whitetail

Tink's, Wildlife Research Center fund new ‘breakthrough' testing protocol for deer-hunting attractants. Conservation & Politics

New Test Verifies Deer-Urine Products CWD-Free

August 21, 2019

Tink's, Wildlife Research Center fund new ‘breakthrough' testing protocol for deer-hunting...

Taking deer in the early season requires specific tactics to overcome challenges that heat and humidity create. Try these tactics for hot-weather hunts. Whitetail

How to Beat the Heat for Early Season Deer

Terry Madewell - September 23, 2019

Taking deer in the early season requires specific tactics to overcome challenges that heat and...

The efficient and economical all-in-one Firminator G3. Whitetail

Food Plots: Turn the Soil and More

The efficient and economical all-in-one Firminator G3.

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×