Sunlight and Moisture
Wildlife food plots need to be located in close proximity to shelter, water, and natural food, yet it is just as important to look at some of the natural properties of the location. These natural properties are sunlight, moisture, and soil nutrition/ pH. These are resources that are going to allow the plot to grow. If any of these are lacking, there will be no growth and the plot will be pointless.
As with growing a garden, most species grown in a food plot need a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight a day. It does not make lot of difference when the sunlight is received (early, mid, or late day) as long as there is a minimum of 5 hours. The amount of sun a plot receives can be manipulated by cutting trees to open up sunlight if needed. Because food plots may be placed in small openings, even the angle of the sun may make a difference in the amount of sunlight each day. It is important to remember that when scouting for a sight in early spring, there will be a lot more shade on that same site in a few weeks when the trees are in full leaf.
Additionally, moisture is needs to be considered. While a food plot could be irrigated, it is typically not practical. Irrigation is usually expensive if done mechanically (due to materials needed) or laborious if done by hand. Both of these methods could also hinder the movement of the deer/ wildlife also. Low lying areas are naturally going to have more moisture, bearing in mind that it should not be a place likely to flood.
Take the opportunity on the next sunny day to look at your prospective spot so see if it has the sunlight and moisture needed to make a quality food plot.
We will address soil nutrition, the third natural property in our next post!
If you need more information about creating wildlife plots or other forest management advice: email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 336-838-5766.