The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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June 15, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: It's a date!

Season specifics for 2013-2014 hunting, trapping announced


Large-seed blends

As I mentioned in Step 3 above, some forage products are large-seed blends. These products contain both small and large seeds and are best planted with a broadcast spreader, and then lightly covered with a drag or light harrow so that they are no deeper than one half to one inch under loose soil.

Small-seed blends

As I also mentioned, all forage products are small-seed blends. These should be left at or very near the surface of the soil when planted.

If you used a weighted drag to smooth and firm the seedbed before seeding, your seedbed should be adequately smooth and free of cracks. Next broadcast the seed and cultipack or roll the plot after seeding.

That will help seat the seed into the surface of the firmed seedbed. This will insure good seed to soil contact. Be sure that you roll or cultipack the seedbed both before and after seeding with small seeds, though. If you only cultipack after, the seed can be pushed too deep into the soft soil.

However, if you used a weighted drag-type implement to smooth and firm the seedbed, the soil will still be loose enough for the seed to naturally settle right where it falls, so do nothing further once you put the seed out. Never drag over small seeds.

Final matters

Some (but not all) forage blends benefit from an additional fertilization about 30-45 days after planting with a high-nitrogen fertilizer such as 22-0-0, 24-0-0 or 46-0-0. If possible, try not to skip this step because it can really boost forage growth with these products.

Also, consider putting small exclusion cages over part of your food plots so that you can monitor deer usage.

The planting instructions for most all forage blends are as easy to find as they are easy to do, they’re right there on the back of each product bag and usually on their website. And lastly if you have any questions, they almost always have contact numbers where you can call and get advise from their food plot guru’s.

In the next couple of columns, we’ll talk about soil pH and what it exactly means as well as how important it is and the three most important things you can do to get the most production and longevity from your perennial food plots.

Until then, remember, pass it on or it will surely pass on.

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at

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