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Managing a whitetail deer herd involves ensuring a high level of nutrition for the animals. One way to achieve this is by establishing spring and summer food plots. In this article, we will discuss the preparations needed for a successful summer food plot for whitetail deer in Texas.
To begin, it is important to break the ground to promote the bonding of the seeds with the soil. If the wheat that was planted in the fall has grown too tall and interferes with disking, it may need to be mowed. However, if the wheat is relatively short, it shouldn’t be a problem. The key is to prevent the established wheat from competing with the nutrients needed for your spring-summer food plot seed mix.
In addition to lablab and iron/clay peas, consider adding turnips and spring and summer clovers to your food plots. These legumes are rich in protein and are highly favored by whitetail deer. By incorporating clovers into your food plots, you allow the lablab, peas, and turnips time to grow and mature.
Don’t underestimate the importance of field preparation. It is crucial to till the ground and apply fertilizer based on the recommendations of a soil test. To improve future soil quality and provide essential nutrients, I recommend tilling all plant materials into the ground.
Considerations for Lab Lab and Cowpeas
Lab lab and cowpeas have the potential to grow tall and thick, especially if there isn’t much browsing pressure from deer. These plants can develop runners and shade out other plants in your food plot. It’s important to note that the success of clovers and peas may vary based on your location in Texas. While clovers are primarily planted in the fall with wheat in most parts of Texas, they can still work if you are in the eastern region or have access to irrigation.
Lab lab is known for its drought tolerance, but it still requires moisture at the right times. Keep in mind that the other smaller legumes and turnips will also compete for soil moisture. If possible, consider fencing the food plot to keep deer away for a period of time. This will allow the lab lab and cowpeas to grow ahead of the deer, ensuring better growth. However, fencing is not entirely essential, and the food plot can still thrive without it. Spring and summer food plots for deer are highly recommended and should be a part of every deer management program.
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