There is no secret that mowing is a good means of controlling weeds in food plots, especially if mowing before weeds head out and drop seeds. On my first blog, I mentioned the Arrow Seed Full Potential that I planted in May and that it was looking good. Well after a couple of weeks, my fears were confirmed. Weeds had taken over the plot as illustrated in the photo below. You can see the height difference between the weeds and the new mowed section. My plantings had no chance over the long haul if not mowed.
As the photo above shows, the weeds had not formed any seeds yet. If I had let the mowing go another few days, that would have not been the case and the seed bank of weeds would have expanded. The photo below shows how within the tall weeds were several alfalfa and clover plants still green and healthy. Now the herd can get to this tender forage easier.
I will continue to document throughout the season how the plot responds to the mowing. The goal is to grow the Arrow Seed mix to the point it can effectively hold it's own against the weeds. My guess is that I will have to diligently mow to keep the weeds knocked back. This may require more cuts than the normal three per summer that many of us follow. As I am sure you are aware, farmers typically plan hay cuttings each of the three warm season holidays (Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day). That would be too simple.
Many would suggest waiting to plant this in the fall or using a herbicide. There is a solid argument for these options. However, my property is only 63 acres and I have never had alfalfa on it. I want my heard, especially the bucks, to develop a solid pattern of hitting this alfalfa all summer long so that it presents good opportunities in early October. If my plan works, all I have to do is put the rest of the puzzle together to harvest a mature buck. Not always as simple as it sounds. Stay tuned to see how this experiment turns out.
Andy Hayes is a devoted husband and father of 4 kids living in West Central Indiana. Outside of his family, his passion is hunting whitetails. He does not claim to be a professional hunter, but simply wants to share what he learns during his quest to improve whitetail habitat and hunt mature bucks.