wk outdoors 300WESTERN Ky. (7/19/13) – The heat of summer is a good time to begin thinking about fall plantings to benefit wildlife.
    
Winter wheat is a top choice for a fall crop because it is readily eaten by deer and wild turkey and is an excellent nurse crop for clover. Winter wheat is typically planted Augest 15 through October 31.
    
Broadcast wheat seed with a hand-crank spreader and rake or disk it under.
    
"I recommend planting clover at the same time you plant the wheat," said Joe Lacefield, a private lands wildlife biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "The clover will take root over the winter and come on the next spring as the wheat starts to die back."
    
In tobacco country, winter wheat has been the cover crop of choice to the benefit of wildlife. High in protein and easily digestible, winter wheat provides high quality green forage which is especially attractive in the late season.
    
Lacefield said one way to prepare a site is to mow, then apply herbicide when the re-growth starts.
   
"After the weeds have died back, then till the area before planting," said Lacefield. "Ideally, you want to time the planting of your winter wheat and clover seed in anticipation of rain."
    
Another site preparation option is tilling or mechanical cultivation whenever the plot is dry over a period of time leading up to planting. Tilling uproots grass and weeds and loosens the soil.
    
Plots should be located on a level spot with decent soil fertility and full sun a majority of the day.
    
Winter wheat grows best when the soil has a pH of 5.8 to 6.5. Use a soil test to measure the nutrient levels of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) as well as the acidity of the soil. Soil test kits are available at most farm stores. Follow directions carefully.
    
If fertilizer needs to be added to your plot, consider using 10-10-10, a formulation commonly available in 50-pound bags. Both fertilizer and agricultural lime are available in pellet form, for easy application with a hand-crank spreader. Lime improves water penetration and the uptake of nutrients of plants growing in acidic soils. Don't skimp on the amount of lime that is recommended. Low pH is usually an issue with soils in Kentucky.
    
Two excellent plot locations are the edge of a field or an existing woods opening that deer or turkey are already using. Your tree stand or ground blind should be within easy shooting range and downwind of the plot.
    
Lacefield suggests planting Ladino or white clover in shaded, woodland openings. Red clover seems to do better in open fields with full sun, growing well on the warm weather days in September and October. Red clover grows taller than white clover and is less impacted by weeds, but all stands of clover need periodic mowing to thrive.
    
This perennial cool-season legume helps increases soil fertility and provides an almost year-round source of high quality forage for wildlife. An established plot of clover starts growing in the early spring and lasts until it is killed back by the heaviest frosts of late fall.
    
Author Art Lander Jr. has been writing about the outdoors since the 1970s. He is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine.  
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by Art Lander (Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife)

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

April 28, 2015 4214

Search for Stolen Vehicle Ends with Woman Charged…

by SurfKY News
April 27, 2015 3549

Online Petition Seeking Re­opening of Shanice…

by Samantha Carver, SurfKY News
April 28, 2015 3381

Man Charged with Stalking Smoke Shop Clerk

by MPD
April 27, 2015 2934

Hopkins County Drug War ― Are We Winning?

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 30, 2015 2852

Family Says 'Goodbye' to Dog After It Allegedly…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 15617

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 23, 2015 8511

Man Charged with Sodomy, Incest/Victim under 12

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

May 05, 2015 1971

School Board Studies Further Spending Cuts

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
May 04, 2015 1699

Alleged Littering Leads to Drug Arrest

by SurfKY News
May 04, 2015 1576

Teen Injured During Collision with Police Cruiser

by SurfKY News
May 04, 2015 1045

Women ‘Get the Message’ at River Ministry Banquet

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 04, 2015 1022

Three Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision

by SurfKY News
May 04, 2015 851

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by SurfKY News
May 04, 2015 676

Dawson Springs Police Reports for Monday, May 4,…

by SurfKY News
May 04, 2015 576

Outstanding Students at MCC Recognized

by Joyce Riggs
May 04, 2015 507

Muhlenberg Christens Supreme Sports Complex

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News