Deer and Turkey Food Plots: Planting the Best Clover Food Plots
Clover is a versatile plant that attracts two of America’s most sought-after wild game species: whitetail deer and wild turkey. Clovers themselves are highly healthy, with some clovers containing up to 25% protein per pound or two. That’s the kind of protein a healthy deer herd requires, especially for antler growth. When deer find a nice-sized clover patch, there’s a considerable chance they’ll come back for more.
While turkeys eat clover flowers, they are more interested in the abundance of insects that clover attracts. Clover leaves offer insects a lush leaf cover to shelter in. All of those lovely nectar-filled flowers are a haven for all kinds of insects, providing food for turkeys to thrive on. If insects are available, they will not hesitate to establish their nests straight in a clover plot. As soon as the newborn turkeys start pecking, it’s the ideal training ground.
The rest of this article will teach you all you need to know about clover food plots, including how to choose and plant them. Learn about clover kinds, when to plant them, and which clover seed is ideal for your food plot.
The Advantages of Clover Food Plots
Just like using mineral blocks for deer, clover has several advantages, including being low-cost to grow, low-maintenance, and appealing to the sight. After the initial outlay of purchasing seed, their ongoing expenses are negligible. Because clover is a perennial, it can live for several years before being reseeded. The bunnies and quail that will flock to it are an added bonus.
Clover doesn’t need to be tilled, and it won’t survive if the seeds are sown more than a quarter-inch below ground. That is, when seeding, spread it out by hand according to the package guidelines for how many pounds per acre and then set it aside. The clover seed will sprout naturally in one week, but if the soil is prepared, or you have a couple of heavy rains, it could sprout in as little as two or three days.
Clover seed, as previously said, is quite inexpensive; even the most expensive clover seed mixtures will not break the bank. The best clover seeds come from well-known suppliers that provide high-quality seeds with no fillers. Clover seed is available at practically every agricultural seed and feed store if you really want to go cheap, and the results vary. It may not be the ideal option, but if you’re on a tight budget, it’ll suffice.
Varieties for any Climate
Clover is unconcerned about the weather. Many clover varieties thrive in either the northern or southern hemispheres. Still, some perform better than others, which we’ll discuss when discussing which clover varieties to plant.
Clover Plot Planting
Although planting clover is very simple in comparison to other plants, there are a few considerations to keep in mind before you begin:
Where to Plant Clover
Close to a woody environment is the best location for a clover patch. The safety of the woods is appealing to both deer and turkeys. They will be more likely to use the main food source if it is close to their safety area. Clover food plots should be at least 1/2 acre in size, and they should always be longer and narrower than they are wide. Seed in 2 acres of clover for every 25 acres of woodlands. But because deer are larger and can cover more ground, you can plant in whatever size plot with your available acreage.
How to Plant Clover
Lightly plow the area, pressing the seed into the soil with a roller, or lightly rake over the seeds for best results. If possible, do this the day before it rains for the best chance of germination. Mow the area and spray with a complete herbicide to kill all the vegetation if there are no other plants in the allotment. Till and sow the clover when it gets brown. The seeds will be protected by the dead thatch, which will allow them to germinate.
Types of Clover
Clover comes in five different varieties that appeal to both deer and turkey. We’ll go over each one in detail below.
In the deep south, where it grows more like a semi-annual, red clover is regarded as a perennial. It produces a large, showy blossom that can be useful in any clover area. The larger stems of red clover have more lignin than the shorter stems, making them unsuitable for deer. For deer, this makes it a little more difficult to digest. Because the red blossoms attract various insects, it is one of the best clovers to plant for turkeys.
When planted every year, crimson clover, which should not be confused with red clover, thrives and becomes a perennial. Despite the fact that it can self-germinate for years with less growth outcomes if left to its own devices. Because it does not tolerate high temperatures well, it does best in colder climates. It provides deer with a tremendous amount of nutrition. It has a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio, and the blossoms attract a large number of insects. It necessitates more care and attention during the planting process than other clovers. Following its establishment, it returns nitrogen to the soil, allowing the surrounding plants to grow harder and more robust as a result.
This is typically a southern or southeastern perennial loved by deer and turkey. It prefers well-drained soils and is commonly planted either seed or hand in the fall. It’s a perennial that self-seeds in the late spring.
Berseem is most common from the east coast to the Midwest and west coast. It is a summer annual in northern climates and a winter annual in southern climates. In the Midwest, seeding can begin once the final indications of frost have passed, which is usually around the middle of April. Seeding can be done in the fall in the southern states. Frosty Berseem clover was shown to be the best clover for deer at the Mississippi Deer Lab, outperforming every other clover available.
This perennial clover is a hybrid created with food plots in mind. It provides exactly what deer and turkeys require in an easy-to-seed clover. Ladino is one of the best clovers for both species and can be sown in the spring or early fall. To maintain it healthy and growing, mow it a couple of times per year. In the spring, a no-nitrogen fertilizer can promote growth and overall health. This is the clover to plant if you only have time to sow one clover for both deer and turkey.
(Bonus) Durano Clover
Durano is a hybrid clover that was created specifically for feed plots. It has many of the same characteristics as Ladino clover. It is an ideal choice for planting if you only want one variety of both species.
Deer Clover Seed of the Highest Quality
Even though clover is thought to be the best choice for deer and turkey food plots, you should consider planting a mix. The ideal clover food plot will have many types that can attract the animals you’re looking for. Each seed mix is covered with a starting nutrient for speedy early growth. Here is a list of five clover mixtures to think about.
1. Imperial Whitetail Clover from the Whitetail Institute
Imperial was the first deer-specific feed-plot clover to be genetically chosen. It’s made mostly of Ladino and Berseem clover, with a little alfalfa thrown in for good measure, and it can create growth for up to 5 years.
The seeds include a unique coating for increased seed survival and the JumpStart formulation for rapid early growth. Imperial is cold tolerant and heat resistant and has been successfully grown throughout North America.
2. Clover Mix Antler King Trophy
A total of four different varieties of clover are included in this perennial clover mix, the most common of which are Ladino and Berseem, as well as chicory and rapeseed.
Antler King contains one of the highest concentrations of protein of any game. Approximately 10 tons of fodder per acre can be produced on each acre, with a protein concentration of 30 percent or higher.
Once established, the four-clover mixture is particularly eye-catching, especially when the clover blooms in spring. Antler King Clover has been developed to thrive in all climates and has a lifespan of up to 6 years under ideal conditions.
3. Clover Crush Evolved Habitats
As far as clover blends go, it’s basic with a mix of white and red clovers. The only clover combination with a professional recommendation is Evolved Harvest, but take that with a grain of salt.
It’s a reasonable deal for a mid-priced blend, although a plain Ladino and/or Durana might be a better bet. The primary disadvantage is that it appears to be only available in 2-pound sacks.
4. BioLogic Clover Plus from Mossy Oak
This Mossy Oak blend is made up of New Zealand clovers. Various types of white clover, red clover, and Berseem clover are used in this clover blend.
It is hardy in the northern zones but thrives in the Midwest and southern climates.
Because it contains clover, it will attract wildlife. Still, better combinations are available if you target deer, turkey, or both.
5. Clover Blend from Cabela’s
This perennial mix contains Ladino, Dutch White, and Arrowleaf clovers, all of which are perennials.
The Micro Boost seed coating found in most commercial food plot mixes, as well as the Cabela’s combination, aids in the rapid development of plants after germination.
You can seed a half-acre of land with only 5 pounds of seed mix. The coating also provides nitrogen to the soil, which is necessary for clover growth over a long period of time. The Cabela’s Clover is a fantastic value for the money you pay for it.
It is important to remember that the unique coatings on these mixtures will provide better early performance than seeds that are not coated. Keep in mind that none of these combinations has been shown to be more effective than others at attracting deer or turkey in the real world, not just in a laboratory setting. Not a criticism, but rather a gentle reminder that the outcomes of different plots may differ from one another. There’s nothing you can do but try your hardest to choose the best plot location and make it as successful as possible.
You can visit this site to learn more about food plots.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Clover Food Plots for Deer and Turkey
Ladino Clover is a specific clover designed to plant in food plots. It provides the nutrients that deer and turkeys need. You can plant it in the spring or early fall, making it one of the best choices for both species.
To satisfy both deer and turkeys, plant a crop that will provide food for them. The NWTF’s private lands manager, Donnie Buckland, suggests planting cereal grains like wheat, rye, or forage oats. In the fall, provide “green strips” of nutritious forage for deer and turkeys.
Clover is both food for deer and turkeys. The clover will be in the same spot every year, no matter what. The clover will be strong the next year, perfect for hunting turkeys. You can also consider using scent covers for deer hunting.
Arrowleaf Clover is a cool-season annual that grows well in the fall and spring. It is a popular choice for deer forage. Arrowleaf clover reseeds itself, so you can get multiple seasons of growth from one planting if you manage it well.
Clover is a good plant for deer to eat and a good place for wild turkeys to live. The NWTF Triple Threat clover mix includes Crimson, Patriot, and Durana. This mix is moderately shade tolerant and can grow in low sunlight areas.
You can get clover at any farm or ag store. Clover comes in red, white, and crimson varieties. All of them will attract deer, but if you’re planting specifically for deer. You might want to try some specially designed cultivars from some major food plot companies.
In the spring, wild turkey hens were attracted to the clover. Clover is good food for deer and wild turkey. It also helps improve the soil quality for food plots.
Turkeys like to eat thin vegetation. They like to strut around in areas with this type of food. Turkeys like to eat popular plants like rye, millet, oats, wheat, soybeans, and sorghum. Wild turkeys also love chufa, a plant that has small tubers underground.