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"5 Key Steps to Establishing the Ultimate Food Plot for Wildlife"

Frost seeding clover is one of the most effective ways to establishing one of the most attractive and beneficial wildlife food sources. It helps wildlife get an early start to spring, because clover can begin to grow as soon as soil temps reach 38-42 degrees, ahead of some common weed and cool season species. It is a effective way to getting a clover plot started or adding additional forage to an existing plot. You can add quick growing annuals to help your long-lived perennials and add more total forage and protein content to your plot, or add a perennial mix to your previous annual plot that is ready to go for the spring, all while using minimal equipment. Using the proper soil testing, fertilization, weed control, and liming or adding DeerGro, perennials like Whitetail Premium and Center Stage can last for years.

Yearling Eating Clover

Best Time to Frost Seed

Depending on your region, later winter or early spring is the ideal time to frost seed. Farther up into the norther Midwest, the best time is often when most of the snow melts, sometimes into late March and April. In the Central region, you can often wait until mid to late February or early March depending on the upcoming forecasts.  In the southern regions with warmer temps coming in February, the best time to frost seed is late January to early February. The best indicator of timing is when we are seeing daytime temperatures above 32 and nighttime temperatures below 32. This allows us to take advantage of the heaving process of freezing at night and thawing during the day, naturally pulling the small legume seeds in the soil. By trapping and essentially planting the small clover seeds, it creates great seed-to-soil contact, imperative for the maximum germination.

3 Reasons to Frost Seed Clover

  1. Maximizing the amount of growing time for the clover

    1. By planting in the frost seeding window correctly, clover begins to germinate as soon as soil temperatures reach 38-42 degrees, giving it a jump start on germination and against most weed competition.

    2. By allowing clover to get the maximum amount of moisture and extending its growing period, it creates a stronger root system, especially for perennials, ensuring clover can withstand heavy browsing pressure, and provide the maximum amount of forage possible for years to come.

  2. Benefits for Wildlife

    1. Providing forage availability as early as possible for big game animals like deer and elk are crucial factors for healthy antler growth and providing enough nutrition for pregnant does and cows preparing for fawning season.

    2. Clover also creates brood rearing habitat with their buds, creating a great insect attractant for game bird species. This is crucial for newly hatched turkey, quail and pheasant poults, giving them an essential food source, but also short structure that is easy to navigate when searching for food.

  3. Minimizing the Amount of Work

    1. With the economic benefits and simplicity of frost seeding, it minimizes your cost of equipment and time in work for your clover plots.

    2. By catching the entire spring, it puts less work and worry on your plate by exploiting the maximum amount of moisture from the thawing of snow and frost and catching the early and often inconsistent spring rains.

    3. By taking advantage of the entire growing season, it gives you the best possible chance at a successful plot, saving you time with less maintenance and money without having to worry about replanting.

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