Left unchecked, weeds can choke out your food plot and waste a lot of effort and time. You can get rid of them, but it takes more of that effort/time combination.
QUESTION: I like to plant food plots using clover, rape and chicory. Everyone talks about killing the weeds, but no one gives the name of a good product that won’t kill my food plot. What can I spray on my clover and turnip food plot to kill the weeds? — John G.
ANSWER: Let’s start general and work toward specific. Herbicides are one of three primary means to control weeds. The others are cultivation and mowing, and the more you can integrate all three into your food plot program, the more successful you’ll be.
Plowing and disking are an important first step toward weed control, and since you’re planting annuals, they don’t require additional work. Plowing will kill annual weeds, but some will return from the seed bank, as will the perennials. Plowing annually will further reduce the weeds over time.
Herbicides are the most effective practice and can be applied in a variety of ways:
1) pre-planting and incorporating herbicide during cultivation.
2) pre-emergence sprays (before weeds germinate).
3) post-emergence sprays (after weeds sprout). In the latter case, you should us a surfactant.
For pre-plant application, I’d recommend imazethapyr (Pursuit 22.9) on clover and trifluralin (Triflualin 4EC or Treflan HFP) on a brassica or chicory plot. The latter can also be used as a pre-emergence application on brassicas, while imazethapyr (Pursuit) is better for clover. For post-emergence, you might try clethodim (Select Max, Arrow 2 EC) or quizaflop (Assure II) on brassicas and sethoxydim (Poast 1.5L) on clover.