Almost all food plots benefit from basic fertilizer. Professional soil tests will determine which type of fertilizer is best for your specific soil. For example, you might need to apply 15-20-10 if your soil pH is low. Alternatively, you can apply a liquid fertilizer after planting. The best time to apply fertilizer is immediately after planting, before rainfall. For best results, fertilizer is applied after planting by broadcasting or by hand.

Planting perennial clovers or brassicas

Depending on your soil, the time of year to apply fertilizer to your food plot will vary. You may want to wait until mid-spring to plant perennial clovers and brassicas. By mid-spring, the soil has gotten adequate exposure to moisture and the chances of freezing nights have passed. However, be aware that low temperatures can kill off young brassica plants. This can be mitigated by working in the brassica mix before planting. Lastly, when planting perennial clovers and brassicas, consider reducing clover seeding to six to eight pounds before planting.

Before you start planting, you must check the pH level of the soil. Most clovers grow best in soils with a pH of six to 6.5, so you should adjust the ph level of your soil every two years. Then, apply fertilizer in a balanced amount. Then, after planting, check the soil again. By doing so, you’ll be able to optimize the use of soil nutrients and minimize fertilization costs.

Discing the soil before rainfall reduces weed competition

Pre-plant herbicide and seed treatment can reduce weed competition. Before planting, apply weed killer to dormant weed seed. Weeds compete with the newly planted vegetation for moisture and nutrients. During the first growing season, weeds will outnumber the forage plants by up to six times. In late summer and fall, fertilizer application can reduce weed competition by as much as 90 percent. Applying fertilizer to food plots before rainfall may be beneficial to the plant population.

Nitrogen fertilizer can reduce weed competition by up to 50%. Weeds like Matricaria inodora L. have the strongest competition when fertilized without nitrogen. As nitrogen fertilizer rates increased, the crop suppressed the weeds. However, weeds like Polygonum aviculare L. became less competitive with the crop. So, it is recommended to apply fertilizer to food plots before rainfall to reduce weed competition.

Applying liquid fertilizer after planting

There are two major benefits to applying liquid fertilizer to your food plot after planting. The first benefit is that the liquid fertilizer will make the plants more palatable to wildlife. It works like a mineral lick, and the liquid formula will provide equal amounts of nutrients to every plant. The second benefit is that it will allow plants to better absorb nutrients. Both of these benefits are important for the health of your deer herd.

One of the most important factors in fertilizer application is the plant’s growth rate. When you plant a food plot, you must make sure the soil is pH and nutrient-balanced. This will help your plot stay productive for years to come. You can apply 300 pounds of fertilizer to a plot in two to three months. But if you do decide to fertilize your food plot after planting, you must pay attention to how much you spray.

Using granular fertilizer

Several people may be hesitant to use granular fertilizer to grow their own food plots, however, there are advantages to this method. This method is relatively inexpensive compared to liquid fertilizers, which cost as much as $40 per acre. However, it has several disadvantages. Using too much fertilizer will kill your food plots and pollute water. Additionally, too much fertilizer may not be absorbed by plant roots and interfere with the uptake of other nutrients. The best fertilizer for your food plot is the amount that is right for your soil, whether it is granular or liquid, or even composted manure.

For a food plot, it is best to use granular fertilizers if the soil is deficient in important nutrients. Foliar application will not correct any deficiencies in the soil, so it is recommended to apply granular fertilizer to the plot. A soil analysis by a wildlife assessment lab (WAL) will help you determine the best type of fertilizer to apply to the food plot.

Using lime pellets

Using lime pellets to apply fertilizer is an easy way to boost soil pH. However, it is important to note that a single application of lime may not have the desired effect. Depending on the soil pH, a single application of lime may take up to six months. Whether using top-sowing or no-till drills, lime will be slow to penetrate through the soil.

When applying lime to a food plot, you should avoid using common barn lime, which is coarsely ground and won’t break down to a beneficial state. Field limes, on the other hand, are finely ground and will give superior results. However, lime pellets will take time to break down in the soil, so spring applications won’t produce results until the following spring. So, it is best to apply lime as soon as possible, preferably before the first fall frost.