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Not Replanting Weeds to Have More Food for Turkeys and Deer

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Editor’s Note: Travis Sumner from Edgefield, South Carolina, is the Hunting Heritage and Habitat Manager for the National Wild Turkey Foundation (NTWF) and is a member of the Mossy Oak GameKeepers ( 

In July and August, clover fields, especially in the Deep South, may look like the sun has burned them up, and the lack of rain has caused them to die. But you’ll start seeing some broadleaf weeds coming up in your clover patches. In July and August, I’ll respray those fields with some type of 2,4-D herbicide, and I don’t go back and spray with Roundup. I use a product like Poast – a grass-specific herbicide that can be used with clover and sunflowers. I also add Preference – a surfactant or crop oil to the Poast to help the Poast herbicide adhere to the plant when applied. You can use Clethodim, a generic Poast that costs half the price, but it also will need surfactant. Since you’ve sprayed with Roundup, it should have killed all the weeds in your clover.

You may wonder why you’re now having weeds come up in that clover patch that looks like it’s burned up because of the sun and the drought. However, you may have bushhogged one of your clover patches that had a lot of grass seed in it before you gave your clover field a haircut. Each time you bushhog a clover field, wash your bushhog and tractor off, so you don’t carry the seeds that you’ve bushhogged from one field and plant them in another field. That’s usually where the Johnson grass and crabgrass come from that you see in your clover fields in July and August. Or, if you’ve used your bushhog to cut the grass in your pastures and around your home and outbuildings, your tractor and bushhog are picking up the seeds from those grasses and depositing them in your clover fields when you mow the clover. Always remember. After you’ve used a herbicide, fertilized your clover fields and gone back in to mow the clover that you thoroughly wash down your tractor and bushhog. Then you’re not planting weeds in your clover patches when you mow them.

You may think that using herbicides, fertilizers and possibly a second herbicide treatment during the off-season is a lot of work and a lot of expense. However, if you can get 5-10 years of utilization out of your clover patches, instead of having to replant those clover patches every year, you’ve really saved money and time. Clover usually provides year-round food for wildlife, except for in the really-hot months. So, clover’s a basic food-plot component for most green fields in the Southeast.

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Tomorrow: Planting Now to Have Doves for a Dove Shoot

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