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How to Save a Failing Food Plot

No aspect of hunting is fool-proof and food plots are no exception. It’s common for a food plot to die out or run into problems before the season begins. Even when a food plot fails, you can turn it around and bring it back to the top of the class with these tips.

Clear the Area of Weeds

Seeds can’t germinate into the soil if it is overly packed with weeds. They need space in the soil to grow and can’t compete with the weeds sucking up the moisture of the soil. You can use a glyphosate chemical spray before you plant your food plot and some types of this spray can still be used after the plants have started to grow.

Winter Rye

If you find that your food plot is shrinking in the late summer, just before the season opens, try planting some winter rye. This plant grows rapidly, and deer will be able to chow down a matter of weeks after planting. You want to make sure your food plot is strong when hunting season opens, so planting winter rye can give your food plot a boost and bring it back from the dead. The further into fall you get, the more winter rye you can plant. You can drastically increase the amount closer to the colder weather because the rye won’t grow thick or unruly in those weather conditions. Winter rye can grow in horrible conditions (poor soil and cold weather) easily, which makes this the perfect filler. Even if all your other plants fail, the winter rye is almost guaranteed to grow.


If your food plot floods with water due to a sudden storm or a broken sprinkler-head, wait until the soil has drained before you try to fix it. If you try to correct the soil too early, you still run the risk of the seeds washing away. Once the soil is drained, you can go back in and rearrange the seeds. As a general rule, make sure your soil is not over-saturated. Your soil should be moist, but there shouldn’t constantly be standing water. Allow the soil to soak up the water before you add more.

The Right Food

If you find out you chose a food source not conducive to your area after you’ve already planted, don’t worry. There is still time to uproot and start over. Keep the local climate in mind when choosing your feed. Because deer eat based on their nutritional needs, you might not see any activity on your brassicas until later in the season if you live in the south. Alternatively, you might see activity on your brassicas earlier in the season if you live in the north. The earlier the weather turns colder, the earlier deer are going to need to stock up on the carbohydrates brassicas offer.

Sometimes a food plot fails because of human error. Sometimes, it’s simply Mother Nature’s fault and nobody else’s. Whatever the cause of the fail, we hope we’ve given you some tips on how to correct them. A food plot is rarely past the point of no return and can usually be resurrected with the right know-how.

How have you saved a dying food plot in the past? Let us know your insider tips in the comments below.

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