My wife, boys and I have been really busy the past few weeks! Between school getting out, summer sports and everything going on at the ranch, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. We have to make time to do the things that we enjoy and wildlife management has moved towards the top of that list.
Over the past month, we’ve been trying to find a plot site, figure out what to plant and how to prepare the ground. We’ve figured out the where and the what, now we have to figure out the how. Not only do I want to figure out how to prepare the ground in the most efficient way possible, but I also want to figure out what will help the ground for the future.
There are several different options to get your site ready for a food plot. One of the biggest challenges that you might face is lack of equipment. If you only have a few acres, chances are you don’t have a tractor, disk, no-till drill or other “implements” needed for planting. That’s ok. There are lots of hand held tools that can take care of the bulk of things you need to do.
Typically around April 15th I’ll mow and spray the winter food plot with Roundup. If the weather is right, and I’ve got good thick stubble, I’ll go ahead and burn the whole area. If you decide to burn, it’s a good idea to contact the local forest service or local fire department to let them know that you are doing a controlled burn.
You can also contact a Land Management Specialist to ensure you are following all local guidelines and restrictions on controlled burns. Depending on the size of the area you are burning, you might even disk around the outside edges to create a firebreak.
Burning is good for lots of reasons like killing all the weeds and getting nutrients back into the ground. It will also get rid of the ticks, worms and other insects that are hiding in the old grass. When you burn, you give the plants that you are planting a chance to grow without being stunted by surrounding dead plants.
When I start preparing the ground around April 15th that usually gives me enough time to start planting on May 1st (which tends to be the magic number for planting in Northeast Texas). Sometime between April 15th and May 1st I will have the soil sample results back.
Hopefully you realize by now that I’m not an expert. I have just learned a lot through trial and error and really enjoy spending time with my wife and boys working the food plots. Next Wednesday we will dive into the soil sample results and where to go from there. Until then, enjoy the previous Wildlife Wednesday blogs, Priefert Wildlife YouTube Video’s and even Priefert Wildlife’s Facebook Page.