Weeds are a major issue in food plots. Weed control is the most tiresome chore related to food plots, aside from designing and installing the plot. Weeds can take root, out-compete your food plot, and even entirely choke it out.
This raises the question of how food plotters and hunters deal with weed control, particularly when clover is the main feed. It makes all the difference knowing which food plot herbicides to use. You don’t want to harm any animals that come to eat clover because it would negate the purpose.
Farmers, besides hunters, use clover for feed, hay, and erosion control. The legume fixes available nitrogen in the soil, making it an excellent cover crop for interplanting or crop rotation. Red, white, and sweet clovers are common clover varieties. Herbicide application is required to eradicate weeds to avoid yield losses. Clover and weeds compete for sunlight, nutrients, and water. (Read How Long Does It Take For Bleach To Kill Weeds)
Herbicides applied correctly control weeds while minimizing damage to the clover crop.
In our guide, you can learn more about ways you can kill grasses and weeds without harming cover. By the end, you’ll know how to prepare your food plot, and also how you can use the same tactics on your lawn to get rid of unsightly grass weeds yet leave the clover.
What Herbicide Will Kill Weeds But Not Clover?
Annual and perennial grasses are typically the most troublesome weeds in most food plots. Most grasses have deep roots, making them fierce competitors for nutrients and water.
A selective grass herbicide is the most convenient and effective way of grass control. Both Sethoxydim and Clethodim are found in these herbicides and are among the more common active ingredients.
These herbicides are systematic, which means they migrate within the plant after applying to the leaf structure.
Luckily the herbicides kill grasses, yet you’ll find the herbicide safe for clover and don’t harm broadleaf species, including soybeans, peas, and other broadleaf plants.
On checking the herbicide label, you’ll see they kill corn, wheat, oats, rye, and sorghum, so if you are near any mixed food plots, you might have the right herbicide that won’t kill clover, but you could harm many other plants or crops.
To permeate leaf tissue, these herbicides are frequently combined with crop oil or surfactant, and after application, they take around ten days to deliver results.
Sethoxydim is commonly known as Poast; however, it is also available under various names (Poast Plus, Vantage, Sethoxydim G-Pro).
Unlike glyphosate, sethoxydim is a selective herbicide that kills grasses but not broadleaf plants.
You’ll need to spray it on young, actively growing grass weeds as a systemic herbicide. One good thing is that it doesn’t remain active in the food plots’ soil after spraying.
Clethodim is a selective herbicide for grasses and works like sethoxydim, although clethodim works better on Johnsongrass.
Sethoxydim and clethodim are sluggish killers, frequently taking weeks to eradicate grasses from a food plot entirely.
How Do You Kill Weeds In A Clover Field?
After grasses, invasive broadleaf species can devastate grass plots and even outcompete some broadleaf plots.
There are two application methods for selective broadleaf herbicides.
A broadleaf herbicide will kill most broadleaf grass species, but not legumes.
Many a fauna and fora platform ask, will 24d kill clover?
Luckily, 2,4-D and 2,4-DB (Butyrac) are commonly used for broadleaf weed control. 2,4-D is used for maize, wheat, oat, and rye food plots, and unlike 2,4-DB, it won’t harm perennial legumes like clover and alfalfa.
You can use 2,4-D on weeds in grass crops such as wheat and rye and oats, grain sorghum, and maize.
2,4-D is a typical selective herbicide that controls broadleaf weeds without harming grasses when appropriately applied.
2,4-D is widely available in farm supply stores and cooperatives. It is systemic; thus, weeds must be actively developing when sprayed.
In the soil, 2,4-D can be active for one to four weeks, so keep this in mind if you plan to plant broadleaf species in the region soon after spraying. (Learn How To Get Rid Of White Clovers Without Destroying The Lawn)
While 2,4-DB, or butyrac, is extremely similar to 2,4-D, it does not kill certain legumes like clover and alfalfa when administered correctly.
This makes it ideal for controlling broadleaf weeds in pure clover stands or clover blends with cereal grains (wheat, rye, or oats). However, Brassicas, chicory, and other broadleaf forbs will be harmed or destroyed by 2,4-DB.
Food Plot Herbicides
To completely control weeds in a food plot, you must pay attention to three critical stages in its existence.
#1: Think about weed control before planting the plot or buying your seed. Knowing how you’ll control weeds in your food plot beforehand is essential?
This helps avoid planting things such as clover, oats, rape, rye, or wheat that can’t be controlled with herbicides.
#2: Actual spraying requires precision. Run the checklist through your brain.
- Do you use enough herbicide?
- Are you spraying at the right time?
- Do you need protective clothing?
#3: After the spraying, a new set of questions arises.
- How long does it take the herbicide to work?
- Did you get 100% kill success?
- Are the weeds killed before they could set seed?
- Do you need to re-spray?
Food plotters should also need to consider other things that will crop up.
- Which food plot species survive, and is the herbicide spraying harmful to desirable plants?
- Do you need fertilizer or treatments to rehabilitate the plot?
Using herbicides on food plots has many advantages, as you can see here. As a result, you can make better decisions and improve your food plot weed control skills.
How Do You Kill Weeds Without Clover?
Known by its original trade names Roundup, glyphosate is undeniably the most widely used for food plots.
The non-selective herbicide may kill any plant it meets, and as it’s so affordable, it is a fantastic choice for killing existing vegetation in a food plot before planting.
Because glyphosate is a systemic herbicide, it must be sprayed on actively growing weeds to be effective.
Glyphosate is not active in the soil; thus, it doesn’t stop new weeds from growing. Another reason glyphosate is used for food plots is the availability of glyphosate-resistant crops like maize and soybeans.
“Roundup Ready” is a common trade name. This means you can spray non-selective glyphosate herbicide right over your corn or soybeans, and the weeds will be affected.
As with any herbicide, apply glyphosate as directed on the label to avoid glyphosate resistance in some weeds.
One of the most frequently asked questions about pasture management.
A practical and significant concern is the options available for controlling or discouraging weeds in clovers or other legumes.
Clovers are delicate plants that are readily harmed or killed by most herbicides used in pastures. (Learn How Long Does Glyphosate Take To Work)
Because there are so many clover species and so many weed species, it’s impossible to handle every weed/clover scenario here, but the following are some fundamental tactics.
Kill Weeds Before You Plant Clover
It’s beneficial to prevent weeds from producing seeds in a field a year or more before planting clover.
When a pasture is tilled in the spring to prepare for planting, it’s an effective method to let weed seeds germinate first, then kill the weed seedlings with tillage or herbicide before planting clover.
Use A Tall Weed Herbicide
Unfortunately, few herbicides approved for use on established pastures will kill weeds without killing clover.
In a circumstance when there is no selective herbicide alternative and weeds are taller than clover, a rotary sprayer set at a height that only applies herbicide to weeds could be used.
As an example, Arrest Max is a selective grass herbicide is commonly used that kills most grasses without harming clover, alfalfa, chicory, and any Whitetail Institute perennial food plot unharmed. In the spring or summer, spray Arrest Max once the grasses are actively growing.
Herbicide Application Times
The timing of an herbicide application can have a significant impact on clover. An example is a crimson clover overseeded on warm-season perennial grass sod in a lawn or food plot.
While broadleaf weeds can be eradicated by some herbicides, a reseeded crimson clover stand can theoretically return the following autumn. In other cases, this notion applies to other annual or perennial clovers.
Negative Herbicide Effects
Unintended herbicide effects on your food plot species can be observed after the fact. For example, 10 days after spraying Clethodim and Butyrac 200 on a ladino white clover food plot, some clover leaves have wilted and “burned up.”
Herbicide damage occurs, so do what you can to mitigate it before your food plot suffers too much harm.
The “yellow flash” is the most common type of herbicide damage we witness in soybean and corn food plots and can frequently result in a yield drag of 5-10%.
In soybeans, glyphosate inhibits the formation of nitrogen nodules, meaning in a decrease in nitrogen and yield. While yield isn’t as important to food plotters as it is to farmers, an ideal equivalent for yield might be the plot’s appeal to deer.
If herbicides have damaged your plot, expect a decrease in nutrients, protein levels, and productivity.
You may now combat these adverse herbicide effects by mixing PlotBoost, a proprietary blend that works as a plant fertilizer, with the herbicide application when mixed in the same tank.
You can purchase these additives in 32-ounce bottles are mixed directly in the herbicide tank at a rate of 32 ounces per acre.
PlotBoost eliminates not only the apparent 5-10% yield drag, but also “boosts” the food plot species above and beyond herbicide and fertilizer drag.
This is accomplished by enhancing not only your plants’ nutrient and water uptake and usage but also their biological interactions with the soil.
Will 24db kill clover?
If weeds are small, use 1-2 quarts of Butyrac 200, also known as 24DB. Butyrac 200 (24DB) should not be confused with its near relative 24D, a broadleaf herbicide that should not be applied on clover plots. (Read 3 In 1 Weed And Feed For Southern Lawns)
Because 24DB will kill chicory, do not use Butyrac 200 on a clover/chicory mix.
When Should I spray my 24D lawn?
Early spring is the greatest time to use 2,4-D-based herbicides because the weeds are tiny and actively growing. Spraying should be done two days after the last mowing on windless days with temperatures below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.