The land I hunt is nothing but wooded hills with a few fields and clearings in the woods. The deer mostly rely on the mast crop each year...acorns, apples, persimmons, etcand then just whatever grass they can find once all that is gone. I was thinking of planting a few food plots in the wooded clearings because I don't have permission to plant anything in the fields.
The largest clearing size would probably be a 1/4 acre unless I ran them along some logging roads to make them larger. Would this be an adequate area to have any affect on the deer if I planted some plots this spring, or with that small size, would it be a wasted effort? Any suggestions on easy to plant spring/summer plots? The area I hunt is probably 200 acres but there are several other tracts of land that connect and surround it. Do you think I would be better off just planting some fall plots to attract and hold deer, since I don't have the large amout of land to supply them nutritionally in the summer months?
I found some good end of seasondeals on Biologic Green Patch Plus and Hot Spot. If I bought several bags of these for fall plots now, would the seeds still be good and grow as effectively, or would I be better off waiting and buying it later in the year?
Finally, there are a few wild apple trees and I was wondering what fertilizer or othermethods(pruning etc)would help them producemore fruit.
One thing to keep in mind is the amount of sunlight that will enter the openings. They must get some direct sunlight for any kind of food plot seed to do well. If you can open the canopy a little more it would help. Logging roads could be good places depending on the amount of sunlight they receive. If you only have small openings I would concentrate on attracting deer to them. With such small plots you may not be influencing the nutrition of the deer very much.
Clover is always a good bet, and for fall atractants you can't beat a good brassica. I bought some seed and kept it for a year, and it came up OK. Remember, Mother Nature sprouts seeds that are years old, but generally there is a decline in viability as time goes on.
Finally, take care of those forgotten apple trees. Fertilize and prune them to help them produce again. Cut out all dead and diseased limbs, and any limbs that are touching other limbs. Fertilize them in early spring with a 10-20-10 fertilizer, and you may be amazed at the results.