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Planting Food Plots in Sandy Soil

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"QUESTION: I live and hunt in northwest Oklahoma and am having a hard time getting my food plot to take because the soil is very sandy. Any ideas on a plant whitetails like that grows well in sandy soils? — Scott

Ask The Biologist

ANSWER: Rather than generalize, I figured I’d go straight to someone in the field for this one. I contacted my buddy, Tony Sumpter who manages the Turley Ranch in Durham, Okla. His recommendation is annual rye with a mixture of wheat. “I like the mix,” he says. “Rye will perform better if there’s not much moisture, but if it happens to turn off and be a rainy fall, wheat will do well, and deer prefer it.”

He also recommends planting early. “First, you should have your ground prepped early, clean and ready to be planted toward the end of July, then wait and try to catch the moisture.” He typically plants around mid-August and tries to have his 2,000 acres done by Aug. 15 at the latest.

He’s also been having great results with the turnips as both an attractant and cover crop. “If you get em up early, they shade the rye so it grows better.” Finally, he cautioned, “anything with sand you’re gonna have to fertilize, fertilize, fertilize. He recommended getting a soil sample but says it typically calls for straight nitrogen.

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