What Is Your Preferred Seed Option for Wildlife?
Alyce clover originated in Asia but is another great seed option right here at home. Deer love this annual legume due to its higher glucose levels and sweeter taste. It's high in protein (15 percent) and provides nutrients necessary to boost both milk production in lactating does and antler growth in velvet bucks. It's also a great food source for turkeys, quail and other small game, too. All things considered, it's highly digestible by most animals.
This species of clover is much different than other types of clover. In fact, it's not a true clover at all. Interestingly, it can grow as tall as 55 to 60 inches (in rare cases) if not overgrazed. Most of the time, it grows anywhere from 15 to 30 inches tall with average consumption by deer during the growing phase. If you aren't familiar with Alyce clover, in many ways, it's very similar to cowpeas or iron clay peas.
How to Plant
Start by taking a soil test. Soil pH should be 5.5 to 6.5 under ideal conditions. Apply lime and fertilizer as needed.
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Next, continue by preparing the seed bed. It needs to be weed-free, firm and fairly damp for the best conditions. You might even need to till a time or two before disking. This is not a weed-out-competing plant. Good seed-to-soil contact is a must when planting this type of clover, too.
Once you begin seeding, plant at a rate of 15 pounds per acre. If broadcasting, plant approximately 18 to 20 pounds per acre. Seeds need to be planted at a depth of ¼ inch. Don't disk in clover seed. This will generally put it too deep. Instead, run over the food plot with tractor, truck or four-wheeler tires to press the seed down into the soil. Better yet, run a light drag over the seeds to cover them at the appropriate depth.
When to Plant
When planting, treat Alyce clover with an ounce of care. In the South, weather permitting, you can plant as early as early April. In the North, it's often best to wait a little longer and plant in mid-May to early June. The key — wait until after the last suspected frost to seed this food plot.
It is possible to plant clover on into summer. That said, waiting too long can be a problem for two reasons — dryer conditions and not allowing enough time to reach maturity. This plant needs several months to grow. If given ample time, it will reseed itself for the following year. That said, if grazed by deer very heavily, this will not occur and re-planting the following year will be necessary.
Where to Plant
Alyce clover can be planted in a wide range of locations. Do not plant this in flood-prone areas. It needs well-drained soil to grow well.
It is more heat- and drought-resistant than other clovers, but it can still be difficult to establish a good stand. Don't try to force it in areas it will likely be hard-pressed to grow.
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