Conduct a Soil Test Before Planting Your Food Plot

Failing to conduct an inexpensive soil sample before planting is the most common — and costly — mistake food plotters can make

Successful food plots require time, labor and money. If you’re willing to invest those things, you should also be willing to do a soil test prior to planting. Too often good-intentioned food plotters take on a planting project without first analyzing the soil quality of the projected site. Unfortunately, failure to test the soil can result in poor plot production due to unbalanced soil PH levels.

Inexpensive soil tests can usually be completed by local Cooperative Extension Offices, and they’ll render accurate instructions for soil amendments based on the crop you intend to plant. Most often, soil corrections can be made by applying either lime (to neutralize/raise soil PH) or fertilizer (to adjust Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium levels). In the long run, a soil test may even save you money by preventing the use of unnecessary fertilizers. After all, fertilizer will serve little to no purpose if your soil cannot properly absorb it.

The decision to improve wildlife habitat is a noble one, and I encourage all outdoor enthusiasts to do their part to actively manage their hunting properties. But in order to make the most of your efforts, take time before you plant to ensure your soil is ready. Your patience will pay off tenfold when you’re blessed with a lush and nutritious crop that’s highly sought after by wildlife.

Recommended for You

Early Season

3 Types of Late-Summer Bucks & How to Hunt Them

Garrett Tucker

Here's how to crack the summer code.

Other

Real-Time Intel: Moultrie Mobile

Gordon Whittington - July 22, 2019

Who says you can't be in two places at once?

Scouting

The Best Summer Trail Camera Strategy

Tony J. Peterson

Good location is just part of the equation.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Fundamentals of the Bow Selection

On this edition of "On Target," Pat Hogan highlights the importance of applying the fundamentals of the draw cycle when it comes to the bow you select.

Food Plots and Dogs

On this edition of "Deer Dog," Jeremy Moore discusses how to connect food plots to deer and your deer dog.

Battling Breeding Bucks

Stan Potts heads to his home state of Illinois to hunt whitetails with his bow during the November rut.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Early Season

3 Types of Late-Summer Bucks & How to Hunt Them

Garrett Tucker

Here's how to crack the summer code.

Bowhunting

The Best Arrows for Deer Hunting

Tony J. Peterson - June 10, 2019

Fill your quiver with the right ammo this season.

Deer Behavior & Facts

Rarest Whitetails Of All?

Gordon Whittington - September 22, 2010

In terms of coloration, which whitetails are the rarest of all? Most hunters would claim that

See More Stories

More Land Management

Land Management

Dealing With Food Plot Pests

Bernie Barringer - July 02, 2018

After putting in all the work, the last thing you want to deal with are food plot pests....

Land Management

No Matter the Season, Deer Orchard Work Brings Big Benefits to Whitetails

Lynn Burkhead - June 27, 2019

Sponsored By
Chestnut Hill Outdoors
Land Management

Dr. Deer: Maximize Enjoyment on Small Properties

NAW TV - July 10, 2018

Dr. James Kroll and Haynes Shelton discuss ways to make the most of a smaller deer property.

See More Land Management

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.