Reasons Your Food Plots Donít Work with Dr. Grant Woods
Water – The Essential Element for a Successful Green Field
Editor’s Note: If you’ve put time, money and sweat equity into your green fields; planted 10 green fields; and spotted plenty of tracks and signs around the green fields, but seen few if any deer or perhaps only does and small bucks or only deer on specific green fields, then you need to know why you’re having problems with your green fields. We took your questions to one of the nation’s leading deer researchers and the creator of Mossy Oak’s BioLogic green-field plantings, Dr. Grant Woods of Reeds Spring, Missouri, who has spent thousands of hours studying deer and green-field management, as well as studying how to most-effectively use those green fields to grow and harvest mature bucks. Let’s look at common green-field problems and Dr. Woods’ solutions.
Problem: I plant green fields every year, and I put out lime and fertilizer. But I rarely, if ever, get a good crop of deer food in the field.
Woods’ Solution: The essential element for any green field to be successful is adequate soil moisture. Regardless of what crop you plant or how much lime and fertilizer you put on your green field, if the soil doesn’t have enough moisture in it, your green field will fail. Water is the most-critical element for all living organisms, especially plants, because plants contain a very-high percentage of water. A few years ago, Colorado experienced a severe drought in the spring. Regardless of what food crop outdoorsmen planted in their green fields, the green fields failed because the soil didn’t have enough moisture in it for the seeds to germinate. If you don’t have enough moisture in the soil for the seeds to germinate, don’t plant. If your area goes through a drought, expect your perennial crops to suffer.
Problem: I plant and fertilize every year, and I get an OK crop – well to be honest, generally a poor crop. What am I doing wrong?
Woods’ Solution: Your food plot won’t produce what it should if it has a low pH. Liming is critical to food-plot management. Plants can’t extract nutrients from soil with a pH of 5 or less. Test your food plots before you plant them. Determine the soil pH. If it needs lime, apply the appropriate amount of lime to lower the pH. Most plants prefer a 6.5 to a 7.0 pH. Lime, which is inexpensive, needs to be your first priority when you’re establishing a food plot.
Consider Dr. Woods’ suggestions, and follow his prescription for planting and managing green fields to have better crops and more deer this season.
Tomorrow: The Importance of Fertilizer and Herbicides in a Green Field