When Mother Nature Ruins Plots
Dr. John Woods 09.26.16
Now that the first of many fall rains have finally spread across Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, through Mississippi, and on east, deer hunters are fretting over the damage to wildlife food plots from too much water. This is a natural consequence of Mother Nature playing with us again.
Here in Mississippi we had the least rain from July 4th through October 23rd since 1924. On Monday morning I dumped six inches of water out of my rain gauge at the house. Others in the region were reporting that much down to about four inches. Now, don’t get me wrong, we needed the rain and were happy to get it, wildlife food plots or not.
On our 40 acres of wildlife food plots on private hunting lands, we planted all of our seed about two weeks ago. The soil was as dry as a bone. We had to disk the plots two and three times just to break up the huge clods into something that resembled dirt that could be planted. Then we prayed for rain and hoped the birds did not eat all the seed lying about.
I know other land managers, deer hunters, and even hunting outfitters are now concerned if their fall food plot efforts have been for naught. I am sure many have been out already inspecting what the conditions are even though it is still raining across the region. So, what to do now if your wildlife food plot seeds have been drowned out?
First of all, we all have to check our plots to see if there really was so much rain that it ruined what was already planted. It was so dry most of us are hoping that the dry dirt just soaked it all up. I am betting that is the case on land that drained quickly. If high water or flooded creeks left standing water over a plot for several days, then the damage may be more severe.
What I recommend, as soon as it is dry enough, is to go back to replant at least the edges of all the plots you have. If you wait any longer then it may be too late to get that new seed to germinate. It will be November next week and then before we know it some early fall frosts will hit. You need to replant now in hopes the new seed gets established before the frosts comes.