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I'm pretty new to the food plot situation and was wondering what is the best way to get started. I have forty acres in Gladwin that I'd like to start some plots on for deer primarily, attracting any small game or turkeys would just be an added bonus. Are their any good books on the subject and what would it cost to have a biologist come out and take a look and make some recommendations? I know I'll probably have to start with soil samples but where do I take them to have them checked. Thanks for the help in advance. --Grizz

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Grizz I am in the same boat as you on this. I have 10 acres and my buddy has 20 along side. It was a pasture probably 20 years ago and has everything from open overgrown fields to mature oaks. The popple range from 12 inch diameter to saplings and the forest succession is quite evident with small islands of large popple tapering into the open filed areas. I want to plant a small field with clover, maybe 100 feet x 200 feet. The areas I want to plant clover are inaccessible to tractors. I have a DR mower that can hack everything in its path and then I plan on chopping out the sapling stumps. Then set the roto tiller on shallow maybe 2 inches and shred everything down. Test the soil, adjust the pH and then plant. Guys, Am I on the right track? Do I need to treat the turned soil with weed killer? Should I go deeper with the tiller? Any help, souces, suggestions.

Thank you,

Mike



[This message has been edited by fishandhunt (edited 02-14-2001).]
 

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Here's what I did to start out. First before anything I got a soil survey you can get a hold of your soil conservation office and they can point you in the right direction. I then sprayed the area with round up ultra. I got this from a farmer bud of mine. I think regular round up would work but get the full strenght cause with some weeds they can really be a booger to rid.

Then I had the small trees taken out with a backhoe. If you can't get them out cut them below the dirt line as far down as you can. Then you need to till up the area and apply your needed fertizler. What I did was spread my lime and fertilzer them I had my bud come in with his tractor and rototill it all in.

After a couple weeks I had some more weeds appear but another treatment of round up took care of them. My farmer bud told me that it generally takes 6 months for lime to work but after three I planted and it came up ok. I'm going with some oats early and turn them under in july for a green manure crop.

I generally plant my stuff third week of august -1 sept. Mike I think I would go a bit deeper maybe 6 inches if you can. I'm no expert but I got a farmer friend who is so if you have any question I can always asked him.

Good luck and pray for rain. I try to keep an eye on the weather and plant right before a rain. Good luck and happy hunting.....marty
 

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Marty-

How much roundup did you use and how much area did you do? What is the price (approx) of roundup ultra as compared to regular roundup?

I got about an acre field I want to convert from wild grasses/weeds to clover. I disced it last year 3 times to kill weeds, but never put down roundup. Do I have to let them all grow back up and then roundup or can I apply roundup before they grow? I have to wait 10 days before planting after applying roundup, right?

Thanks,

Ben
 

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As a farmer but not a food plot expert I may be able to help. Roundup only kills what it touches it doesnt kill anything thats not up . ther is no waiting period after application to wait the only reason to wiat is to make sure the weeds are all dead before tillage this is mostly important with grasses. good soil to seed contact is important but make sure you dont get it undr to deep. the round up in stores is a dilluted version. we use on our farm 1pnt to 2quarts per/acer depending on how big and heavy the weeds are. the soil testing is excelet advice. most soil conservation offices have good information that will help you alot. hope I could help. bhntr

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I don't remember what I paid for the ultra didn't seem that much. I think something like 15 dollars for a quart but I got it from a friend. You could go with regular round up if you can't find ultra but buy it full strength and mix your own.

I had what is called quack grass here in my area and it was very hard to get rid of. I used the quart on about 1.5 acres and after a few weeks I used about 2/3 of the quart to finish up. I went pretty heavy on the stuff.

Round-up is just a contact killer which it only kills what it touches so you can plant anytime you get rid of your weeds. You want to make sure that when you spray it it's not a windy day or you used the same sprayer for your wifes flowers. Believe me those woman get real orny when you kill their flowers.

What I would do is let the weeds come up then spray. Wait a couple weeks when they turn brown and disk it again. Let the weeds come up then hit it again if needed. When you're doing food plots it pays to take your time and do the job right.Main thing is get that soil survey first so you know what your soil needs. Good luck ... marty
 

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roundup and roundup ultra are running about $42.00to $49.00 a gallon in mid MI. but its only available in 2.5gallon jugs. some larger farm chemical dealers have it in bulk but they usualy dont like to mess with smaller amounts. there are other alternatives now that the pattent has run out on roundup. (touchdown, and generic brands) but beware that some dont contain the penitraiters and salts that roundup ultra does.also soft water will increase the effectiveness of roundup as iron in the water ties it up.
 

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There's a good article in the bow and arrow hunting magazine april 2001 issue about food plots....marty
 

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Great advice guys thanks for the help. This may sound wierd, but now I can't wait for the weeds to grow! I sort of got a head of myself last year and plowed and disced without using roundup...I guess I thought if i kept it worked up they wouldn't come back...WRONG AGAIN! So I guess i see it as I lost a year by trying to get ahead.

So you think two application of round up will be sufficient to kill off the weeds? (They have been established for at least 5 years and probably have good root systems)

Ben
 

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your work wasnt all wasted. by tilling the ground you probably thinned up the weed preasure. It's a good idea on the two application method but dont be mislead that that wiil take care of all the weeds in the future. those stuborn buggers have been producing seeds so when you till the ground you will help germinate the seeds. but if you get a clover or any crop established that wil help take care some weed preasure by crowding and shading them out. ther are some clover mixes available that farmers use that have three kinds of clover alfalfa and some grasses all mixed together. Its usualy alot cheaper than the deer clover thats advertised to hunters. good luck.

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Once your ground is ready check into kesternursery.com. They have a good source of combined food plot seeds and other wildlife and wildgame food items.
 

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Ed Spinnazola has done some excellent food plot work. Check out the Mid-Michigan branch of the QDMA website for details.

You should apply roundup 3 times through the spring/summer, then plant in the fall.

Sorry I didn't insert a link to the website, but the address is http://members.tripod.com/%7Emmbqdm/index2.html

Good luck!

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Do some soil samples and measure the area you want to plant. You will need to mow and rake the area after the green up period then spray for weeds and grasses. Liming will come after you rid the area of grasses and so some disking.
 
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