There is no arguing that clover can make a great food plot for both deer and turkey. It is called the universal food source for wildlife because it can be established in most parts of the country. It is fairly inexpensive compared to other types of food plots and with so many varieties of clover you can always find one to do moderately well in most soil conditions.
The most common types of clover planted for food plots are Alsike, Arrowleaf, Crimson, Kura, Ladino, Durana White, Red, and Subterranean.
So Why Plant Clover Lanes?
There are several good reasons to pave your roads in clover. Weed growth is normally minimal from using the lanes which is a good thing and the deer frequent the lanes to travel and can always use the extra nutrition.
We started doing it because we didn’t have a great area to plant a clover food plot. Most of the good areas were reserved for soybeans and different brassica plots. So to use up space that was already being used anyway we decided to plant a mix of clovers in our driving lanes.
Even if you don’t have many lanes now, you can benefit from making a few for easier access around your property and then plant them in clover.
Weeds, Soil Condition, and Planting
We started in early spring by mowing all the lanes and working them up with a disc. We waited a few weeks for new weed growth then nuked the area with herbicide. We worked the ground again and sprayed a second time just to be sure.
After getting a soil test we applied the correct amounts of fertilizer and lime to get the pH level to 6.0 – 6.5. Because clover is a legume it does not require much nitrogen.
You can use a drill to plant clover at a depth of 1/4″ deep. The advantage of a drill is one pass and you are done and it preserves what little moisture may be in the soil.
We prefer to disc the soil, pack using a cultipacker, broadcast the seed, and then pack again. We have always had good luck doing it this way.
We used a mix of red, white, and ladino clovers. Once the clover was a few inches tall we sprayed Slay to kill off competing broadleaf weeds and Arrest to kill the grasses. After that the clover took over.
Clover Lane Maintenance
We normally mow a couple of times a year once the clover reaches 6-8 inches and only when it has had plenty of moisture. You never want to mow clover that is lacking moisture and already stressed. To really boost initial clover growth we spread some 0-20-20 on the clover after we mowed the first time.
Some of our lanes are more used than others but the clover holds up pretty well for being driven and walked on. The deer and turkey frequent the lanes more than before and it gives them something to munch on while traveling across the property. The deer feed in the clover lanes even during daylight hours because the lanes are narrow and they are always a few steps away from safe cover.
Planting clover food plots in your lanes is a great way to use up space that is already being used and to spread a buffet of clover all over your property. Once the clover becomes established, the lanes are easier to maintain than before and the lush green lanes all over the property look pretty awesome.