Liming food plots for deer

Liming food plots for deer


liming food plots for deerLiming food plots for deer is a step in the process many first time plotters skip. They get sucked into the advertisements for the magic bean with terms like ‘throw and grow’ and ‘no till’. I am here to tell you that there are no shortcuts. Sometimes you get lucky and can skip a step as the land is already partially ready for seed, but as a rule, you can’t cheat the system and expect results. Liming food plots for deer is a step you can not skip.


Liming food plots for deer starts with a soil test


A soil test is simple to collect, and will let you know in 10 days how much lime you will need as well as the fertilizer requirements of what you plan to grow. Most soils will have some level of acidity, and lime acts to neutralize this acidity. Acidic soil binds minerals and nutrients making them unavailable to your plots. You can slap the fertilizer down on acidic soil, but your plants have problems taking it up, and will never reach their full potential. Legumes and perennials are most sensitive, with grasses not needing as high a ph.

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Liming food

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plots for deer with pel lime


Pel lime or pelletized lime come in 40 to 66 pound bags or you can buy it bulk as well. It is actually a processed lime formed into small pellets that are quickly dissolved and incorporated into the soil. Pel lime acts quickly to modify your soils ph and is often used when a drastic change is required to grow any plant. As a rule of thumb 100 pounds of pel lime per acre will adjust your ph .3 points, so to bring a field from 5.4 to 6.0, you would need 200 lbs of pel lime per acre when liming food plots for deer.


Pel lime can be spread with 4 wheeler spreaders or even hand spreaders and walk behind yard spreaders. The pel shape is the same as fertilizer pellets and is easily spread with common fertilizer gear. It’s often the only solution in hard to access locations where liming food plots for deer would be impossible with traditional farming gear.


Pel lime is an excellent choice for small scale liming of food plots for deer because you can buy it 50 pounds at a time. Typical ag lime requires a 12 ton purchase, and can be kept for years, but at a 2 or 3 ton per acre spread rate, does not make sense for most of us when liming food plots for deer.


Ag liming food plots for deer


Ag liming food plots for deer requires traditional farm equipment and quality field access. If you are planting major acreage for your deer herd and have the equipment it is the cost effective way to go. Ag lime reacts slower than pel lime, but a scheduled application will keep working the soil for up to 5 years. It can be spread any time of year, and most ag offices set up their spreader trailers after the harvest meaning an early winter application is the norm.


Perennial liming food plots for deer


Your perennial crops such as clover alfalfa and chicory are much more sensitive to soil ph than your annuals are. Typical ph levels run 5.3 where I plot at, and alfalfa is not even recommended to be planted at less than 6.5. That’s a lot of lime but if you’re going to do it, do it right. Proper ph allows adequate mineral uptake which means excellent root growth and extra tonnage of the sweeter tops that feed our deer herd most of the year, so liming our food plots for deer is a must.


You hear a lot of people say, ‘that’s too expensive’ or ‘that’s to much work’ or ‘I didn’t have time this year’. If you were a farmer saying that, you would be the guy losing money every year. Food plots are not a cheap endeavor. They require equipment, multiple trips to area to spray for weeds, till the ground, lime, fertilize and spread seed. Skipping any necessary step greatly reduces the effect of all of those combined efforts, and negatively affects the whole program. Liming food plots for deer is a real issue, and if you want real results you will get the soil tested and start spreading.