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Lots of people had questions about this so I thought I would add a topic about how to get started and maintain clover plots.

With clover you will get best results by proper preparation, choose the best site and get the ground ready before you ever sow seeds.
Also determine which soil types you have. The best sites for clover are those with good soils with some loam content, not too much sand or too much clay and ones that dont stay too wet or too dry. Other than that clover is pretty easy to grow. I have found the best sites are ones that get some partial shade, especially ones that get shade in the morning or afternoon. An example if you have a large field would be to plant about 30-40 yard strip along the Eastern, Western, or Southern (Northern would get full sun most of day)(clover will grow in full sun but is slower to get started and the summer droughts take their toll on it and weeds are harder to control) edge of the field, utilizing the middle of the field for summer or winter annual plots. Also small plots and or roadsides in the woods are good spots if they are not totally shaded especially if there is not heavy leaf or pine needles that cover up the clover. Also when planting keep in mind spraying or mowing needs, if your sprayer covers 15 feet you may want to plant your plot 30 or 45 feet wide (multiples of spray width) so you get maximum results without waste or overspray of other plots.
OK, once you have a plot site, a Soil Test is a must getting soil from several sites within your plot. Get your pH right 6.5-7.0, this may take at least 6 months. Also if this is a new site, you may want to skip planting clover your first year and plant annuals and concentrate on getting your weeds under control.
OK, I know most people are limited on equipment, clover can be grown without expensive equipment, but at this stage if you have access to some equipment now would be the time to borrow or rent.
First of all the initial tilling would be best to use a subsoiler or turning plow and cut as deep as possible, follup this up with a heavy cutting disc/cultivator if possible, then add needed lime and follow up with a finishing disc, you may want to wait a couple of weeks between initial cutting and finishing disc phase to let your weeds sprout and then turn them over again to help control them. This can be done in spring prior to fall planting, best to do in spring before weeds/grass get maturity and produce new seeds or runners. You could also plant a summer annual crop to help control weeds, a good one would be something that would compete with weeds or that you could spray them to control weeds. If you don't plant a plot you can control new weeds by spraying with roundup or discing.

Clover is slow to get established so the first year I would suggest mixing with wheat/oats, and fertilizing geared towards your wheat/oats, later your fertilizer will be geared towards clover. I usually plant about 6-8 pounds of white clover to the acre, If you have pre innoculated clover I would recommend adding Innoculant (B) especially in areas that have never had clover, this helps the clover affix nitrogen to the roots) mix about 50-60 pounds total of wheat/oats per acre, could do about 20# oats 30# wheat, etc. During planting use a finishing disc to prepare the soil (fertilizer can be added at this stage, a balanced fertilizer such as 13-13-13 can be used, using about 200-300 pounds per acre). Sew wheat/oats follow up by lightly harrowing, very light discing, or dragging. If you have access to a roller or cultipacker then use it at this point to firm up and level soil, then sew your clover seed/ rape/ chicory at this point, seeding rate for rape and chicory is 2-3 pounds per acre, and follup up with cultipacker, very light drag, or even running over with atv tires to lightly press seeds in soil, and pray for timely rains, you will notice your clover does best in areas where it gets some shade and conserves moisture. You will probably see very slow growth, and in this first year the deer will really stay on top of it, an exclusion cage will really show you what kind of growth and deer pressure you have. In about 60 days you want to top dress with about 100-200 pounds of ammonia or ammonia sulfate, or even 13-13-13 per acre, don't worry this will actually give your clover a boost as it really isn't producing much of its own nitrogen yet, but it will mainly help the deer utilize the wheat/oats/rape.
Ok now hunt and enjoy your hard work this first winter because the bulk of your labor should be done for a few years if things work out.
Now next spring about mid February you have choices to control wheat and oats, best to mow anytime it gets about 8-10 inches tall, (NOTE for turkey hunters) turkeys really like well maintained and clipped clover plots in the spring time for Strutting areas****
Ok now lets talk about summer mowing schedule, you can plan on mowing your clover at least 3 times through the summer, plan on around each of the major holidays, Memorial weekend, 4th of July, and Labor day. As far as spraying it may or may not be needed, keep and eye out for grasses and broadleaf weeds, grasses are the hardest on the clover, the best time to kill grasses are in the spring once things begin to warm up and when grasses are about 4-8 inches tall, also if you need to spray near the times you mow, go ahead and mow, and then wait about 2 weeks to spray, dont spray on recently mowed clover. The best sprays for grass are Poast and Select, my favorite is Select because it is much cheaper in my area. See below for spray rates. For broadleaf control I like 2-4 DB also known as Butyrac.
That is pretty much it for maintenance except for fertilizer and checking liming needs. Liming will probably be needed about every 2-3 years in most areas. Fertilizing needs, that first spring and from now on, my recommendation would be to use a fertilizer with no or little Nitrogen such as 0-20-20, or 6-24-24 at the highest as added nitrogen will really benefit the grasses and make them harder to control, the clover will benefit from some added nitrogen, so if you have weed control and say 6-24-24 is several dollars cheaper go with it. Also a soil test geared for clover can tell you exactly what your soil need are if any. My best advice would be to fertilize about 5 times a year if you can using about 50-100 pounds per acre with each application, the best times would be once in early spring, once around each of the summer mowing periods, and at least once in the fall. The fertilizer will only last about 60-80 days so that is why I say twice in the fall because deer really like fertilized plants and will utilize them better. For this maintenance you dont need a tractor, an atv with a spray rig and spreader is a great tool, also for mowing you can use a riding or zero turn mower set on highest setting, you may have to mow more often than 3 times in the summer though. That is the beauty if you have a camp because not everyone has a tractor but almost everyone has a mower or atv and they can share in the maintenance to make it not so hard on any one person.
Now, I see many questions for what type clover, my best advise would be to check out your soils, if it has a fair amount of sand composition and moderately to well drained I would say Durana would be your best bet, complimenting clovers would be true red clovers such as redland max, also white dutch will do ok in this soil, chicory and or alfalfa would be a good compliment to this mix and help fill the void during the summer, 2-4DB will kill chicory though.
For bottomland or heavier soils I would recommend Ladino clovers, especially blends of ladino such as Chickasaw, straight clovers would be Osceola or Advantage. Alskike clover also does well in moist soil and would be good to add to your ladino. Subterranean would be good to add if the area has shade. Rape is a good compliment plant to your bottomland clover. Also Arrowleaf in small doses is good.

Planting rates Durana 8-10 pounds per acre, Ladino 6-8 pounds per acre. The next rates are additive rates... Alsike, Rape, chicory, white dutch, subterranean clovers add about 2-3 pounds per acre, for alfalfa, red clover, and arrowleaf, about 3-5 pounds per acre. Crimson clover can be added but I really wouldn't recommend much, maybe about 4-5 pounds added per acre.

Spray rates For my sprayer I have found that for best results a sprayer that puts out 20 gallons to the acre is best, but I would go no less than 10 gallons per acre and no more than 30 gallons to the acre.
Select or Generic Select for Grass control 8-10 ounces per acre, with a proper non ionized surfactant/crop oil usually adding about 8-12 ounces of surfactant per acre, best to talk to your dealer for the best surfactant to use and rate.
Poast or Generic Poast for Grass Control 2-3 pints per acre, also using proper surfactant/ crop oil
2-4 DB or Butyrac for broadleaf control 1-4 pints per acre, I usually use 3-4. Also using surfactant/crop oil. This can be in tank mixed with the Select or Poast.

Also if clover is planted alone, you may want to consider a good pre-emerge herbicide at planting to help control grasses and weeds. Prowl or Treflan are good examples, you may want to check what is best for your area with your local chemical dealer such as Jimmy Sanders, Helena, Agriliance, etc.
Disclaimer, I am absolutely no expert, but I have learned a lot of what doesn't work by trial and error of about 20 years of attempting to plant clover plots
I truly believe clover is the best bang for your buck, the initial planting can be costly and time consuming but really isn't much more than the usual hastles and cost of what you are probably doing now, but the maintenance costs are contained by not having all the discing/seed costs for the next few years if done right. Also your deer/turkey will really benefit from a food source that is giving them high protein forage almost year round expecially during the spring when antlers are growing and does are pregnant/milking. Having a year around food source will help you hold bigger and more deer on your property and make them Homebodies, this will allow you to hopefully make you more successful during the hunting season. As far as hunting goes, it is good to plant clover next to high carbohydrate food sources such as wheat/oats, or corn, it is really a lethal combination next to standing corn.
Good luck!!!!!
 

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Thanks Sardis, I guess you are Oxfordhunter now?  LOL  I hope this post can help some people with time, money, and hopefully success.
 

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gibowhunter said:
Thanks Sardis, I guess you are Oxfordhunter now? LOL I hope this post can help some people with time, money, and hopefully success.
No I'm still sardis .. Someone had the same idea .. Sure didn't want to lose your great tutorial ..
 

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What success can be expected in delta gumbo? We have a place on the little sunflower that is mostly gumbo, some loam due to the frequent flooding. Which brings about another question. There are times when we will lose the place to water for up to 2 weeks during the winter. What impact can I expect from this? Will it kill the clover?
 

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Matador said:
What success can be expected in delta gumbo? We have a place on the little sunflower that is mostly gumbo, some loam due to the frequent flooding. Which brings about another question. There are times when we will lose the place to water for up to 2 weeks during the winter. What impact can I expect from this? Will it kill the clover?
I have never planted in heavy gumbo, but planted several heavy loam sites in the Delta and the clover did fine, the two weeks under water in the winter is about max, the longest Ive seen mine survive was 3 weeks, but it comes back slowly, spring or summer floods over a few days will kill it out. The major problem with flooding is weeds, as each flood brings in new silt and seeds.
I would say try some small test plots, add it to oats or wheat. I would imagine in that situation it may be better to plan on replanting every winter instead of trying to spray to fight weeds, just keep it mowed about 6-10 inches.
 

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Matador said:
Thanks, what about spring planting? Or do you only plant during the fall with your ryegrass, wheat, etc?
Im going to try planting some Ladino this Spring if weather permits, I usually plant in fall but it was so dry until way late to plant, so I planted half and saved some for spring
 

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gibowhunter said:
Matador said:
Thanks, what about spring planting? Or do you only plant during the fall with your ryegrass, wheat, etc?
Im going to try planting some Ladino this Spring if weather permits, I usually plant in fall but it was so dry until way late to plant, so I planted half and saved some for spring
Ladino is the one that tolerates shad eand wet feet the best, correct? That would be perfect for the place I am thinking baout planting in spring. Might try it too.
One more question. I know it's more expensive but could you use the fast acting lime like you use in a yard to avoid having to wait 6 months with regular lime?
 

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Ive had best luck in moist areas with Osceola or Advantage ladino, Chicasaw is a 3 ladino type that contains a lot of osceola in the blend. Best prices @ tupelo area.
Getting ph and fertilizer right really helps also planting heavy seems to help, 8 pounds per acre is good, but 12-15 works great! A cultipacker or drill will really help success also.
If you get regular lime out now, that would be plenty of time.
 

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The durana and patriot I planted in November is just coming up. Is it too small to spray with 2,4-DB for broadleaf control?
 

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wingman said:
The durana and patriot I planted in November is just coming up. Is it too small to spray with 2,4-DB for broadleaf control?
I would let it get established 2-4 inches at least before I hit it with 2-4 db, one of these days Im going to try some prowl but I havent yet.
 

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It is a little early but I wanted to get everyone's thoughts on their seed mix. I was looking at buying some seed mix but more and more people I have talked to says mix my own. Any thoughts and seed mix secrets will be welcome. I am going to plant a couple food plots on a buddy's property this year and want to get the most bang for the buck.
 

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Hard to beat mixing your own.

I like some plots of just white ( ladino or durana clover)

Then I like mixing some wheat with clovers such as Arrowleaf , also can mix in winter peas, oats, and some rape and turnips.

Ladino or durana clover can start slow but deer like it from the start, have to plant enough to keep it going, it grows for almost all year and can remain for several years if maintained. Ph is key , best bet for drawing deer and managing them also
Winter pea is a great early draw, excellent bow plot
oats are a great early draw, and if don't get too much frost can be good winter draws, can grow too fast and become less palatable
Wheat is a great draw
Arrowleaf can be slow to start, but kicks in soon and has a lot of forage, especially in the spring when deer need it most
Rape is hit or miss, but in my trials gets used good early and then good again after frost
Turnips get used good after frost
PH is key and proper fertilizer, also location is a big part also
 
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