The following are detailed, step-by-step instructions for planting Imperial Whitetail Clover. By following all of the steps you should have phenomenal results from your Imperial Whitetail Clover. The only thing left to chance will be mother nature. When your Imperial Clover is planted correctly, you will find that you have done one of the, if not the, best things you’ve ever done to improve the quality of your deer and deer hunting. You should see more deer and better quality deer.
Keep These Instructions for Future Maintenance Purposes
1. Follow all instructions below, step-by-step, when planting Imperial Clover. (See our planting guide video for further details and instructions.)
2. Stay within the planting times for your state on the back of your Imperial Clover bag. If you are spring planting try to avoid any chance of frost.
3. For Imperial Whitetail Clover, select an area with heavy soil that holds moisture. If possible, avoid sandy soils, hilltops and hillsides that drain quickly.
4. Disk ground thoroughly to prepare good seed bed. If weedy or new ground, disk again in 3-5 days.
5. Soil test for a Giant White Clover to determine fertilizer and lime requirements. Be sure the Ph of the soil is between 6.5 and 7.0. Proper Ph is a very important part of soil preparation. If no soil test is available, use 400 lbs. of 6-12-12 or equivalent fertilizer per acre. Also, apply a minimum of two tons of lime per acre. A heavy application of lime will maintain a neutral soil (7.0 Ph) for several years. (Buy your lime in bulk, not in bags. Lime is very inexpensive when bought in bulk.)
6. Prepare a good, firm seed bed. For best results use a cultipacker or heavy roller to smooth and firm the soil. If no cultipacker is available, use a weighted fence type drag (see video for details). (NOTICE: We are cultipacking before seeds are sown.)
7. With a good seed bed prepared, broadcast 8 lbs. or more seed per acre.
*If you use a hand spreader, be certain to adjust the seed opening to about 1/8 inch. This adjustment will insure proper distribution of seed. This is usually the smallest setting on most hand spreaders.
8. After broadcasting seed, use a cultipacker or some type of heavy roller to roll over field. This presses seed into ground and helps insure better seed to soil contact and good germination. If no cultipacker or roller is available, pull fence-type drag over seed (as mentioned before, see video for details). A piece of chain link fence or similar type fence drag will work. Do not cover seed more than 1/4 inch. DO NOT DISK SEED INTO GROUND. (NOTICE: This is the second time we recommend use of a cultipacker.)
9. Remember Imperial Whitetail Clover is a high quality forage seed. Proper planting effort, favorable soil, weather conditions and good timing can contribute to the success of your planting, and the ultimate impact on the quality of your deer and wildlife.
10. After planting, place a small wire basket over a portion of your clover so wildlife can’t graze that area. Watch the difference inside and outside the basket.
11. Do not plant during hot/dry
The following instructions are not required, but are strongly recommended for maximum performance and longevity from your Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot(s).
12. Imperial Whitetail Clover is capable of producing heavy growth. Depending on your deer and wildlife population and/or how much you plant, you may choose to mow your clover with bush hog to clip the weeds and clover down to about 4-6 inches. Mow your clover in the spring and summer months when clover and/or weeds and grasses reach 10-12 inches tall. This will also promote tender lush growth from the clover. Mow everything down to 4-6 inches high. Do not mow when it is hot and dry. Remove clippings if possible. (Imperial Whitetail Clover does not have to re-seed to grow from year to year. It grows from the root system. This is why Imperial Whitetail Clover maintains high protein levels (30-35 %) all year, and one of the many reasons that make Imperial Whitetail Clover the absolute best food plot choice.)
13. Once Imperial Whitetail Clover is established, fertilize once or twice a year using a 0-20-20 or similar fertilizer at the rate of 300# per acre. Spring and early fall are the best times to fertilize. Apply fertilizer when plants are dry. Note: Be sure the nitrogen or first of the three numbers is zero or as low as possible. Imperial Clover is a legume and produces it’s own nitrogen. If nitrogen is added it will only promote weed and grass competition.
14. Soil test every 2-3 years to insure proper Ph and fertility. You may need to add more lime every few years.
15. Some herbicides can be used successfully, we rarely recommend the use of herbicides because of the simple fact of having to be so careful. Too much herbicide can kill the clover and not enough may not kill the weeds or grasses you’re after. The best recommendation we can make about the use of herbicides is for you to consult your local county extension officer.
Following steps 12-15 should help you control weeds and grasses in the long run and also will help you get the best and longest life from your Imperial Clover planting.
*Information from the Whitetail Institute.