The Importance of Spraying Now to Increase the Life and the Productiveness of Green Field Plantings
Editor’s Note: Two of the most-overlooked aspects of wildlife management are the importance of spraying herbicides to kill grasses and weeds in green fields and mowing. According to Austin Delano, head of research and development for Mossy Oak BioLogic, after the seeds are in the ground, most hunters walk away and expect to come back just before bow season starts to a lush green food plot. However, to get the optimum production from your green field perennial plantings, “You may have to mow each green field one to three times during the summer, since many broadleaf weeds can be controlled by mowing in the spring and summer. Food-plot management at different times of the year depends primarily on where you live. For instance, if you hunt in Canada or northern Minnesota, you’ll manipulate your food plots differently than if you live in the Midwest or the South. If you’ve planted perennial food plots already this spring, then in June, you may need to mow them for weeds and apply herbicide to help get rid of weeds.”
Most outdoorsmen plant perennials like clover, because a quality clover field will return year after year and doesn’t have to be replanted for several years, if properly managed. Those are the catch words, “if properly managed.” Clover, chicory and alfalfa are the three perennials most wildlife managers plant for white-tailed deer and wild turkeys. Grasses compete with perennials. Left unmanaged, those grasses can overtake your green fields and won’t allow your perennials to produce the tonnage of wildlife food that you’ve hoped to get.
Here at Mossy Oak BioLogic we’ve developed a herbicide, Weed Reaper Grass Control, that’s grass-specific and will take care of the grass problem. You also can purchase this product through major sporting-goods dealers like Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain and Cabela’s and on the Gamekeepers Club website (www.gamekeepersclub.com). Weed Reaper Grass Control is packaged in a 16-ounce bottle that will control weeds in a 1-acre food plot for $46. Weed Reaper also has a surfactant that makes water wetter and penetrates the waxy surface that some grasses have.
The key to successfully using herbicides is to start spraying herbicides when you notice weeds growing, a practice that often can control the weeds for the rest of the year. If your soil has a lot of weed seed in it, you may have to spray as many as three times during a year. Weed Reaper will cost about $46 to control weeds in a 1-acre food plot. Quality perennials are capable of producing food for deer and turkeys for 4-6 years, if properly taken care of, so using one to three sprayings of herbicides per year drastically reduces the costs involved with plowing, fertilizing, liming and replanting a food plot every year. Besides the cost savings, once you’ve rid plants of weeds, the plants will produce more-nutritious tonnage of food for deer, turkeys and other wildlife than it will if you haven’t killed the weeds. If you don’t control the weeds, your perennials only may last for one or two seasons. These real financial and labor costs related to green fields can be saved by spraying Weed Reaper in any type of legume or broadleaf food plot. Whether you’ve planted soybeans, peas, lablab, clover, chicory or alfalfa, you can spray this herbicide over the top of your green field to rid it of problem grasses that often compete with your wildlife plantings.
If you wait to spray until the grasses are mature, the herbicide won’t have as good a killing effect, because by then the grasses have shut down their growth mode and are primarily using their energy to produce seed. Also when you spray herbicide, make sure you have an hour or two of dry weather before a rain event. Most herbicides can be taken up by the plants within an hour or two after they’re sprayed. The ideal day to spray is a cloudy day with little or no wind. BioLogic is working on a new herbicide that our company plans to produce in the next few months. Stay in touch, and we’ll let you know when this new herbicide will be introduced.