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A simple food plot primer for Florida (and other not so good) soils...

mattb78mattb78 Posts: 243 Deckhand
Measure out your acreage. Disc the plot thoroughly. Spread 300 lbs per acre of 10-10-10, then a mix (per acre) of 30lb Rye, 30lb Wheat. Lightly, and I mean lightly, disc in the grain seed to try and get the grain covered 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.

Next, is your clover application. A mix of 10 lb acre crimson clover and 10 lb acre arrowleaf clover does well. Both of these clovers tolerate poor soil PH, especially the crimson which is a bulletproof clover. Or just 15 lbs crimson if you have trouble finding other clover (crimson dies off in late spring while arrowleaf goes thru the summer, so a mix is more preferable but arrowleaf is tougher to find).

You don't have to do anything after the clover seed is thrown although some folks lightly drag with a pallet or section of fence to help seed to soil contact. I haven't done enough research to tell you which is better.

Yes, there are many other mixes out there. The above mix was just a common suggestion for Florida. And no, I am by no means a food plot expert. This post was just to give some simple information to folks who are thinking about starting a food plot program but feel overwhelmed with all the choices and info.

We haven't even gotten a frost, the plots are 3 weeks old, and the deer and turkey are already hitting them.

Replies

  • ducknfishducknfish Posts: 3,821 Officer
    Nice looking plot.
    I have a few questions:
    Did you soil test at all? Any lime or just 10-10-10?
    What part of the state and what soil type?
  • mattb78mattb78 Posts: 243 Deckhand
    ducknfish wrote: »
    Nice looking plot.
    I have a few questions:
    Did you soil test at all? Any lime or just 10-10-10?
    What part of the state and what soil type?

    All excellent questions. I just didn't want to complicate the original post. Soil samples are absolutely where you want to start. We didn't get the property until June this year, and our soil samples were lost in the mail, so we never got our PH tests back. By that time, it was too late and we choose a mix that would tolerate what we expect will be moderately acidic soil.

    The extremely wet summer left us with good soil moisture, so I am sure that is helpful to the plots this year.

    This is in southern Madison county, probably a mix of ultisoils and spodosoils, although I am by no means anywhere near qualified to determine soil type.
  • DoradoDreaminDoradoDreamin Posts: 2,098 Captain
    mattb78 wrote: »
    This is in southern Madison county, probably a mix of ultisoils and spodosoils, although I am by no means anywhere near qualified to determine soil type.

    You must have some decent soil where you are at. I'm in southern Madison county and my initial soil tests were 4.8. Nothing but weeds would grow until I got about 3 tons of lime per acre on the soil and let it work its way in for a year. Even now I put down about a ton per acre of lime every year just to keep the PH in the right spot. Nice plot.
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,833 AG
    Soil test! you could go at it blind and end up wasting money by putting out amounts of fert/lime that are not needed or not put enough out. Just becasue a plot "looks" good to our eye doesn't always mean it is palatable and attract/hold deer. This has been proven time and time again on the GON food plot section.
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • Hoyt79Hoyt79 Posts: 105 Officer
    micci_man wrote: »
    Soil test! you could go at it blind and end up wasting money by putting out amounts of fert/lime that are not needed or not put enough out. Just becasue a plot "looks" good to our eye doesn't always mean it is palatable and attract/hold deer. This has been proven time and time again on the GON food plot section.

    X2

    I recieved my soil test results back, via email within a week of mailing them off.
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,833 AG
    Hoyt79 wrote: »
    X2

    I recieved my soil test results back, via email within a week of mailing them off.

    Never emaild mine, always USPS. Doe you email them to UF? If so what is the address?

    thanks,
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • mattb78mattb78 Posts: 243 Deckhand
    Wow, I am surprised your results came back that low. Where is your lease at, roughly?

    Sounds like you know exactly what you are doing I am just finding it hard to believe that your soil is leaching 1 point of PH per year!
  • DoradoDreaminDoradoDreamin Posts: 2,098 Captain
    mattb78 wrote: »
    Wow, I am surprised your results came back that low. Where is your lease at, roughly?

    Sounds like you know exactly what you are doing I am just finding it hard to believe that your soil is leaching 1 point of PH per year!

    Near San Pedro Bay. Extremely sandy soil and surrounded by pine trees. I've only been doing plots on this ground for 3 years so I assume it will level off eventually when I've turned the dirt enough times. I'm surprised you've gotten that good of growth in a couple of weeks. No rain on my ground for at least that long. My oats/wheat got to about 4-6" high and haven't grown any more in the past two weeks. Clover is popping up good but if we don't get rain soon most of that might die. The sandy soil doesn't hold moisture that long.
  • mattb78mattb78 Posts: 243 Deckhand
    Is your lease just south of CR 14? We got hammered with rain June thru September, nearly 30 inches above average, so we had very good soil moisture at planting, which has helped carry us thru a dry October. We planted October 6, which was a bit earlier than suggested but fit our schedule.

    That PH issue is a bummer. I hope you can do it with a lime truck. Our road system can't handle something that size, so we are going to have to go with bagged pelletized lime when he do it. 4 times the cost of ag lime so we aren't looking forward to it... but few other options that i know of. I have heard of ag co-ops renting a 2ton pull behind spreader for a tractor, but haven't been lucky enough to come across one.

    I would be very interested to know what type of bucks you are killing. Feel free to PM that info if you like.
  • CampCamp Posts: 81 Deckhand
    For soil sampling I go to the IFAS building in Quincy and get the soil sample bags, the form to fill out (where you indicate what you will be planting) and a preprinted box to send them to IFAS. The box address is:
    IFAS ANSERV LABS
    G31 WALLACE BUILDING
    UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
    GAINESVILLE, FL 32611-0740

    I get an email with the results within a week of sending it off.
  • Hoyt79Hoyt79 Posts: 105 Officer
    micci_man wrote: »
    Never emaild mine, always USPS. Doe you email them to UF? If so what is the address?

    thanks,

    No I mailed the soil sample and form to UF:

    Extension Soil Testing Laboratory
    PO Box 110740
    Wallace Building 631
    University of Florida
    Gainesville, Florida 32611-0740
    352-392-1950

    On the form I use, there is an option to email the results to you. Here is a copy of the form I use:
    http://soilslab.ifas.ufl.edu/ESTL_files/SS18700.pdf

    Looking back through my files, it took around 5 days after I mailed it off to get the results back through my email. Not bad as I was putting lime down the very next day!
  • Hoyt79Hoyt79 Posts: 105 Officer
    Also, you can use a simple zip-lock bag to ship your soil in. Nothing fancy is needed.
  • gator4evergator4ever Posts: 2,626 Captain
    If you soil is mucky sand or predominantly sand your ph will be low. If your soil is sandy muck you probably dont need to anything.

    Check out the native plant life if you have lots of palmettos and pine more than likely you will need to lime. If you have bayheads, flag ponds a darker looking soil you maybe able to get by without liming.

    But to be safe send the samples and find out.
    "sometimes it's OK just to kill a little time" my grandpa 1972
  • ducknfishducknfish Posts: 3,821 Officer
    You must have some decent soil where you are at. I'm in southern Madison county and my initial soil tests were 4.8. Nothing but weeds would grow until I got about 3 tons of lime per acre on the soil and let it work its way in for a year. Even now I put down about a ton per acre of lime every year just to keep the PH in the right spot. Nice plot.

    We aren't far from there. Are you getting the lime in from Perry? If so how much per ton?
  • DoradoDreaminDoradoDreamin Posts: 2,098 Captain
    mattb78 wrote: »
    Is your lease just south of CR 14? We got hammered with rain June thru September, nearly 30 inches above average, so we had very good soil moisture at planting, which has helped carry us thru a dry October. We planted October 6, which was a bit earlier than suggested but fit our schedule.

    I'm on the east side of the bay off 53 and we got less rain than the west side of the county. I planted mid September because I haven't gotten rain in Oct/Nov the last 3 years so I figured I would try earlier this year. We got decent rain in September and I thought I was in the clear but the forecast for the next 10 days shows little to no rain so now I'm worried about the clover because it's been almost 21 days without real rain.

    ducknfish wrote:
    We aren't far from there. Are you getting the lime in from Perry? If so how much per ton?

    I'm closer to Mayo so I use Mayo Fertilizer. They rent a small and big pull spreader. I pull the big spreader usually with 2.5 tons of lime at a time with an F150 4wdr no problem. I can't remember the price but it is very cheap compared to bags. Give them a call and they can tell you how much.
  • ducknfishducknfish Posts: 3,821 Officer
    I'm on the east side of the bay off 53 and we got less rain than the west side of the county. I planted mid September because I haven't gotten rain in Oct/Nov the last 3 years so I figured I would try earlier this year. We got decent rain in September and I thought I was in the clear but the forecast for the next 10 days shows little to no rain so now I'm worried about the clover because it's been almost 21 days without real rain.



    I'm closer to Mayo so I use Mayo Fertilizer. They rent a small and big pull spreader. I pull the big spreader usually with 2.5 tons of lime at a time with an F150 4wdr no problem. I can't remember the price but it is very cheap compared to bags. Give them a call and they can tell you how much.

    Thank you sir. If we're gonna plant we are gonna need a lot of lime.
  • mattb78mattb78 Posts: 243 Deckhand
    Dorado, that's great info on the pull behind lime spreader, I appreciate it.

    Best of luck on the plots. I think that mid-September may be too early. I talked to a very nice man who runs the food plot programs on some plantations in N Florida, and he doesn't plant until Mid to Late October.

    Next season, I am trying a clover blend of Osceola White and Southern Belle Red, both of which were suggested to me by a few experts for our area. They tolerate drought, heat and our sandy soil well. The white clover is PH sensitive though.

    The deer sure have been hammering our plots. It may be because all our acorns are under water!

    Best of luck this season.
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,104 Moderator
    gator4ever wrote: »
    If you soil is mucky sand or predominantly sand your ph will be low. If your soil is sandy muck you probably dont need to anything.

    Check out the native plant life if you have lots of palmettos and pine more than likely you will need to lime. If you have bayheads, flag ponds a darker looking soil you maybe able to get by without liming.

    But to be safe send the samples and find out.

    Please describe to me the difference between "mucky sand" and "sandy muck". :wink
  • DoradoDreaminDoradoDreamin Posts: 2,098 Captain
    mattb78 wrote: »
    Best of luck on the plots. I think that mid-September may be too early. I talked to a very nice man who runs the food plot programs on some plantations in N Florida, and he doesn't plant until Mid to Late October.

    I know it is not ideal to plant that early but getting almost no rain in Oct/Nov doesn't help much either. My spring/summer plots have been great the last two years but the fall/winter plots have mostly failed due to lack of rain. Half our land is supposed to be wet/swampy but is dry right now so if your acorns are under water then you got a lot more rain than we did.

    I was worried the plants would burn out if I planted that early but they all came up fine and handled the hot weather we got in Sept. If we would get at least one good rain in the next 7 days the plots will be okay but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. :banghead

    Hope you guys have a great year and get to shoot some bigguns on that plot!
  • AllenRAllenR Posts: 2,702 Captain
    While on the subject of plots....can anyone recommend a mix that will grow well in shade? This is one of my spots, a tram road that goes thru a hammock. It is filtered sun/shade all day long. I didn't have the money to plant it this year but would like to start it this spring. I want to plant one side of the tram where I can still drive my truck down to the end w/o driving thru the plot

    2012-10-20_15-48-44_853.jpg
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,833 AG
    Tram Rd is in Leon Co :grin

    Grain oats, wheat or rye will grow and some clovers will too in shady places. I've read some good things on plotspike as well but never tried it. Plant the whole thing and drive the same ruts. You'll have more growing than only planting a strip on the side.
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
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