Keys to Food Plot Success
- Location is key to a successful food plot. Because deer (especially bucks) prefer to eat in areas close to cover, plant your food plot in areas that have cover on as many sides as possible or as close to cover as possible.
- Plant in an area that contains soil that is appropriate for the food plot product that you are growing. (See individual food plot profiles to identify appropriate soil type.)
Minimum — where possible, a food plot should be at least 1/4 acre in size to help avoid overgrazing. 1 acre = 43,560 sq. ft. (roughly the size of a football field).
How Much To Plant:
Total food plot acreage should equal 2% — 6% of the land available to you. Additional food plots may be needed if deer population is particularly high in your area.
If possible, the shape of food plots should be more rectangular and narrow in shape than square and wide. This will cause the food plot to naturally border more cover. Again, put food plots as close to heavy cover as possible.
A soil test is one of the, if not the most important steps in planting a food plot. A soil test will tell you the condition of your soil and how much lime and fertilizer and what type fertilizer your soil needs to maximize food plot forage growth. A soil test is inexpensive, easy to do and will almost always save you money. Doing a soil test can be the difference in the best food you can imagine and total failure. You can get a soil test kit from agriculture universities, NRCS office or through the Whitetail Institute.
Follow Planting Directions:
Directions for planting the food plot product you choose can be found on the back of each bag or refer to the planting chart presented here. Following these directions will help ensure maximum food plot success.
When to Plant:
In most cases, food plot products can be planted in either spring or fall. Planting times specific to your area can be found in the section on planting dates or on the back of each product bag.
Maintenance Of Perennial Food Plots:
Mowing, fertilizing and the possible use of herbicides are suggested to ensure your perennial plots perform to their maximum potential and last for as many years as possible.
Maintenance instructions for all Whitetail Institute perennials:
The Whitetail Institute offers herbicides that can be used on most Imperial perennial food plots.