You’ll never totally eradicate weeds and competing grass from perennial and annual food plots. But you can knock them way back. Here are two straight forward steps to help you battle weeds in your food plots.
1. Avoid Cheap Generic Seed
When you think of all the money you spend on hunting and managing your land for wildlife, seeds are a small percentage of that. By purchasing the best seeds possible, you’ll get the strongest plants emerging, ones that have been proven over extensive testing to be fast-growing with deep roots so they can out-compete weeds when given a chance.
2. Plant Annuals between Perennial Plantings
A second step you can take is to grow annuals in-between your perennial plantings. Planting brassicas or cereal grains in fall or soybeans and lablab in summer will go a long way towards eradicating weeds because these plants grow fast and aggressively, shading out the weed competition and robbing it of moisture and nutrients.
One study in the Midwest showed that a late summer radish planting can reduce weed biomass by two tons per acre over a field left fallow during winter. These plants also extract nitrogen, phosphorous and calcium from deep in the ground and deposit them at higher levels in the soil when they die, where clover and alfalfa plants can then make use of them. Annuals such as brassicas and rye also break up and aerate compacted soil, allowing the perennials to grow faster and out-compete their weed competition.
So whether you’re just getting ready to convert a new site into a food plot or are throwing in the towel on an old perennial plot that’s gone downhill, consider planting an annual for at least one year. I guarantee you’ll have fewer weed problems by taking this simple step.