Late Summer Plantings are Ideal
The end of July and early August is arguably the best time of the year to plant a food plot. Weeds will be dying, moisture will be on the increase and food plotting practitioners have plenty of months to prepare their next great food plot planting. However, those reasons pale in comparison for most likely the #1 reason to plant a food plot this “late” in the growing season: The herd and hunt!
While taking an empty food plot into July may seem like a waste of an opporunity to some, it actually offers some highly strategic possibilities for your local deer herd as well as your potential level of hunting success. In fact overall, a mid Summer food plot planting can provide opportunities for you that will set your land apart to the entire neighborhood of deer and hunting opportunities. And folks, there is nothing better than having the best game in town when the months of October and November roll around.
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Why is this the best time of the year to plant a food plot?
Aside from giving you plenty of time to get your weeds and soil ready for the perfect food plot planting, there are several imortant reasons to make sure that you are waiting to get some seeds into the soil until the middle of the Summer:
1) Limiting Summer Doe Population Numbers
Summer does and fawns are here to stay! If you need to raise deer numbers, plant a food plot to be available during May, June and July. However, if you are struggling to offer enough food during the Fall or are experiencing excessive doe population numbers, make sure to limit the amount of available Summer food sources.
2) Reducing Grazing Pressure For Fall Cool Season Plantings
Without a heavy herd of does and fawns sticking around all Summer long, your mid Summer food plots will have plenty of time to grow and becoming established before the onslaught of grazing pressure that will arrive during the early Fall.
3) Herd Control
What does quality Fall food and a limited number of Summer doe family groups equal? A much greater of potential for creating balanced deer populations that are in line with the carrying capacity of the land.
4) Hunting Season Success
Creating balanced deer populations that are peaking in October and November also creates the opportunity for harvesting not only enough does when needed, but for potentially targeting a high percentage of the local buck population.
5) Perennial Establishment
My favorite time to plant clover and chicory, is when I plant a food plot during the middle of the Summer. The cool season annuals of rye, oats and peas offer the perfect nurse crop for establishing the young perennials!
Of course corn and beans need to planted in the Spring, so if they are a part of your overall food plot strategy then these varieties already need to be growing well by the middle of the Summer. However, the lucious annual greens of peas, oats, brassicas, wheat and rye, as well as the establishment of perennials like clover and chicory, should be planted well after Spring. Also, by keeping your food plots from growing too much during May, June and July, you can experience some outstanding herd building and hunting season success, that may create opportunities that you had previously never imagined.