Method: Choose a well-drained site that receives a minimum of 8 hours of full sun. Prepare a clean, smooth and firm seedbed by plowing and dragging the soil. Fertilizer and lime can be applied during this step to incorporate it into the soil. When soil moisture is adequate for good germination, plant seed using a drill equipped with a small seed hopper or broadcast seed evenly across the soil surface with a seeder designed for sowing small seed. If broadcasted, use a light drag, culti-packer or similar roller device following seed application to cover the seed. Care should be taken to ensure seed are planted at the proper depth.
Seeding Date: South - Apr. 15 thru Jun. 1; Upper South - May 1 thru July 1; North - May 15 thru July 1. (Consult the local University Extension Office for adaptability and suitable planting dates for the region.)
Seeding Rate: 15 - 20 lbs. per acre (5 - 7 oz. per 1000 sq. ft.) planted alone or 10 lbs. per acre (4 oz. per 1000 sq. ft.) when planted in mixtures.
Seeding Depth: 1/4 inch (stand failures will result from seed planted too shallow or too deep).
Fertilizer: Soil testing is highly recommended. Liming to a pH of 6.0 - 6.5 and providing adequate soil levels of potassium and phosphorus are necessary to ensure a productive food plot. See your local county extension office for soil sampling assistance. As a legume, alyceclover requires no commercial nitrogen fertilizer. Note: Only fertilizers containing zero or small percentages of nitrogen (5% or less) should be used on pure stands of alyceclover. In the absence of a soil test: For pure alyceclover stands, apply 300 lbs. /acre 0-20-20 (7 lbs. /1000 sq. ft.) or an equivalent fertilizer and 1 ton/acre ag lime (50 lbs. /1000 sq. ft.). If planted in a mixture with non-legumes, apply 300 - 400 lbs. /acre 10-10-10 (7 - 10 lbs. /1000 sq. ft.) or an equivalent fertilizer and 1 ton/acre ag lime (50 lbs. /1000 sq. ft.). Apply fertilizer just prior to seeding. If practical, apply lime a minimum of 3 months before planting.
Inoculant: Unless pre-inoculated, alyceclover seed must be inoculated with selected Rhizobia strains (strain EL) of bacteria just prior to planting for optimal root nodulation and nitrogen fixation.
Weed control - Broadleaf weeds including pigweed, ragweed, coffeeweed and others may become problematic in alycecover food plots as well as weedy grasses such as crabgrass, signalgrass, panicums, johnsongrass, etc. Plots should be mowed periodically to keep unwanted weeds and grasses in check. When mowing, set the mower to mow the weeds above the alyceclover canopy. Chemical weed and grass control - If a height differential exists between weeds and the plant, glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) can be applied with a wiper or rope-wick device to weeds growing above the alyceclover canopy. Do not allow the herbicide mixture to come into contact with the alyceclover foliage. Consult with the local university extension office for herbicides that may be labeled for pre-emergence and/or post-emergence control of grasses.
Control damaging insects - Monitor clover food plots at least every 1 to 2 weeks throughout the summer months for damaging worm presence. If worms are found and foliage feeding damage is significant, an appropriate insecticide should be applied. The local university extension office can provide information on treatment thresholds and recommended insecticides for worms on clover.
Special Note: When using pesticides, carefully read and follow all label guidelines for mixing, applying and personal safety. If applying herbicides, extreme care should be taken to avoid overlapping the spray and to also prevent herbicide drift or accidental application to any desirable plants, trees and shrubs adjacent to the target area being sprayed.
Tips for Successful Food Plots:
1. Every successful food plot begins with a soil test. Most woodland soils have low pH and low fertility. A soil test will tell you how much fertilizer and lime is needed. Information on taking a soil test can be obtained from your local county extension office.
2. Spend the extra time necessary to properly prepare the soil by plowing, smoothing and firming the ground. Planting on a weed free, smooth and firm seedbed that allows good seed-soil contact is essential for a thick, productive forage stand.
3. Plant seed at the proper seeding depth. Planting too shallow or too deep can result in stand failure. Seed mixes containing small seeded legumes and forbs should not be seeded deeper than 1/4 inch. Use a cultipacker, log or a light drag to firm the soil after planting.
4. When selecting a wildlife food plot site, choose an area that is long and narrow with curves or bends in it. This provides a sense of comfort and safety for wildlife. When developing food plots, a good rule of thumb is to plant 2.5 to 7 acres of food plots for every 100 acres of habitat.
5. Avoid droughty sites such as eroded hillsides or shallow, rocky soils. Southwest facing slopes are hotter in the summer and tend to dry out faster than bottom land.
6. A minimum of 50% full sunshine is essential for a healthy and productive food plot. Morning sun is better than afternoon sun for summer game food plots. The reverse is generally true in the winter.