This will typically be in February through early March for most areas in Illinois. Frost seeding is a relatively easy and economical way to apply seed by broadcasting the seed on frozen ground. Iowa State recommends broadcasting 10-15 lbs/ac onto frozen ground and the seeding method is likely going to be dictated by what equipment you have available. Some watch-outs: fields with lots of winter-annual weeds can reduce your chances of success. Haley..good to hear from you, hopefully your hunting season was successful and good luck this coming soccer season. An early spring sewing is the best planting method for these areas. Frost seeding Can Increase the longevity of your clover plots:  What makes clovers ideal for frost seeding is that they will germinate when the soil temperatures reaches the mid 40’s and small seedlings can survive cold temperature and even frost where as many weeds will require much warmer soil temperatures before they germinate and will be killed by frost. Frost seeding Can Increase the longevity of your clover plots: What makes clovers ideal for frost seeding is that they will germinate when the soil temperatures reaches the mid 40’s and small seedlings can survive cold temperature and even frost where as many weeds will require much warmer soil temperatures before they germinate and will be killed by frost. Legumes are the most successful for this system as they tend to be rounded, dense and most importantly, they -germinate at lower temperatures so will begin growth early in the spring. Frost seeding is not ideal for everyone or everywhere. Stolons are just above ground stems that come from the mother-plant. Box 745, Elmwood, IL 61529. These weeds include chickweed, marestail, wild mustards, downy brome and many others. These are the reasons why most people frost seed clover – it’s small, it’s very hardy, it’s attractive and nutritious to deer, and it’s often one of the first plants to green-up in the spring. Haven’t tried frost seeding as a fill in on established plots however. The picture below was taken early in the morning while the ground was still frozen. If the pasture is tall or matted, your success with grasses or legumes may be limited. Obtaining a desirable stand of grass species from frost seeding is much more difficult. These stolons spread/crawl across the ground and set roots to form a new plant. Going into the summer of 2012, this orchard plot was a thick vigorous stand of clover and chicory, but my orchard is on a south facing slope so the drought and heat was particularly harsh on this plot. The further south you are, the earlier you will need to frost seed as the temperatures warm sooner. I like to frost seed in the early morning when the soil surface is still frozen and will typically use an over-the-shoulder hand cranked broadcast spreader. No, I’m not talking about your typical spring time annuals like soybeans and corn, but rather using the planting technique known as frost seeding, as a means to plant clover. Is there any kind of time frame when a clover field has run its course ie. It essentially works the seed into the soil, eliminating the need for disking and/or dragging. Then during thawing, these cracks and crevices will fill in with soil. Winter is a great to plant clover … Frost seeding cover crops generally involves incorporating clover species into a dormant cereal crop. Sometimes this works and others times it does not. Check them out on the web at: and have them send you a seed catalog. This is more effective and more safely done without snow cover. However, I only use white clover mixtures with chicory in my plots for they are easy to maintain, grow well even in shady areas, and don’t get stemmy like red clovers or alfalfa. Hunting season is on the horizon and your freezer is still loaded with game from the previous year or two…. The effectiveness depends upon the size and hardiness of the seed. Alfalfa, alsike clover, and white or ladino clover have also … Some of these fields are going to be 6 yrs old this spring. That up and down movement causes tiny little cracks, which ultimately suck in the small and hardy clover seeds. I’ve always just broadcasted it onto a “clean” stubble wheat or bean field in Feb/March, sometimes onto the snow, but have has good luck as far out as April. The deer really dont hit that field anymore, I’ll plow that one in and plant some more White. Red clover has been the Iowa forage species of choice for frost seeding. However, I plan to use the time-tested strategy of “frost-seeding”  to rejuvenate this and other clover plots on the farm. These weeds are weeds that germinate in the fall/early spring and will grow rapidly starting in March and April. The freeze and thaw of the dirt this time of year will work the seeds into the dirt the perfect amount. Frost seeding involves spreading seed on frozen ground and allowing the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw cycle that occurs as spring approaches to provide good seed-to-soil contact. Also, I would not try to frost seed into perennial sod grasses such as fescue, bromegrass, or other pasture grasses for these sod grasses will grow rapidly in the early spring an will greatly reduce clover establishment. You have a deer down—congratulations! Note: do not frost-seed alfalfa seed into established alfalfa plots because mature alfalfa plants release chemicals into the soil which inhibit new alfalfa seedling establishment. Frost Seeding Clover John Barsody, owner of Frigid Forage food plot seeds demonstrates how to prepare and seed a new food plot using frost seeding methods. Alfalfa does not frost seed well because its germination is variable at cool temperatures. Table 2 lists legumes and cool-season grasses ranked by suitability for frost seeding. The freeze thaw cycle works the seed into the soil so that it can germinate when things warm up. Settings in which the site is covered by shade during the afternoon won’t lose as much moisture to evaporation, therefore, north-south oriented strips and shaded patches are ideal. Heartland Outdoors is a registered trademark. One cover cropping practice used by winter wheat growers involves frost seeding medium red clover seed into the wheat during freeze-thaw periods, usually in March or early April. The picture was taken in one of the better spots in the plot for surviving clover and chicory, but the stand is way too thin. Nowadays, there are plenty of reputable food plot seed companies to choose from. If nothing is done, these areas will most likely fill in with weeds and once the weeds get a foot-hold, they can quickly spread and eventually dominate a clover plot which will greatly reduce the quality and quantity of forage. Clover varieties intended for cattle are designed to be fed dry which is why they are very stemmy. As we approach spring, the soil awakens and actually begins … They are a family owned business, customer service has always been excellent, they will blend custom mixtures and sell small quantities of seed at very reasonable prices. In contrast, white clovers are much longer lived because the white clovers have the ability to repopulate by forming new plants from stolons. 4) Get good seed-soil contact. Frost seeding typically works best with legume seeds because it is easier for smaller seeds ... 3 pounds to 4 pounds of red clover and 1 pound to 2 pounds of ladino or alsike clover … Clover thrives in areas that have moist soils throughout the growing season. Thanks Kevin that explains a lot. is till it in and replant? When frost seeding, we need to use species that can germinate in cold temperatures and are small enough to be worked into the soil during repeated freeze-thaw cycles. A corrugated roller can also be used soon after seeding to ensure good soil contact. This is what makes the white clovers ideal for deer food plots. Deer don’t digest stems well. Red clover should be spun on at 3-4 lbs/A if frost-seeded every year, and 6-8 lbs/A if every other year or a first-time seeding. Speak to an expert at King’s AgriSeeds now at 1-717-687-6224 or email us at However, bear in mind that clovers can cause bloat. Usually areas that benefit the most from frost seeding require some work from the previous fall, whether it be an herbicide treatment, tillage, or if you are overseeding an existing clover plot. Frost seeding relies on the freeze-thaw cycle and early spring showers to establish … Birdsfoot trefoil is less successful due to slow establishment. Other clovers will also work. Farm is in southern IL and I will probably frost seed in 2 weeks. Frost Seeding Red Clover in Winter Wheat Grow your own nitrogen If you plant winter wheat, you have an opportunity to “grow” your own nitrogen (N) to help manage input costs and accrue soil quality benefits. (717) 687-6224 Lancaster, PA 3-Way Clover getting a head start in the spring FROST SEEDING FROST SEEDING Therefore, a blend that produces succulent, leafy material will better suit a deer’s nutritional needs. As the ground freezes and thaws, it opens and closes allowing the seed to be incorporated into the soil. Frost seeding also works for first time plantings:  This article mainly focuses on frost seeding into established clovers stands, however, frost seeding will also work with first time plantings. However, this past week I checked my clover plots and there are many areas in the plots where the clover stand is too thin or is completely gone as the result of the drought of 2012. Based on all of the above recommendations, if conditions are perfect, seed 6 pounds of red clover per acre, if they are average seed 8, and if conditions are below average seed 10 pounds per acre. This repeated process of freezing and thawing allows the seeds that were spread on the soil surface to “plant themselves” into the upper soil surface and is a great way to rejuvenate your clover food plots if you have thin stands. The clover seed is broadcast over the fall-planted wheat, allowing the … Pasture and hay fields that have thin stands and exposed soil are good candidates for frost seeding. Obtaining a desirable stand of grass species from frost seeding is much more difficult. Clover seed is very hard so it can withstand the potential to rot much better than other larger less hardy seeds (warm season annuals). Clover can be seeded by broadcasting onto snow in late winter--February or March in Massachusetts. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Birdsfoot trefoil is another option and is often frost seeded in a mix with red clover. If I do nothing, the weeds will surely take over this plot by early summer. ​You will almost certainly lose the battle and waste your time and money if you try to frost seed an area that has existing grass and weeds that have not been treated. It gives the clover a jump on growing over weeds and native grass and allows it to take advantage of early spring moisture. Thus, it’s common to see food plotters spreading it over the top of a thin layer of melting snow. What is frost seeding:  Frost seeding is the process of spreading seed on the soil surface in late winter or early spring during a time of the year when the soil surface is going through multiple cycles of freezing and thawing with fluctuating temperatures. By checking your clover plots each year at this time of year and frost-seeding as necessary at the appropriate time, you can greatly improve the quality and extend the utility of your clover plot for years. It’s the equivalent…, Since the dawn of creation, man has been fascinated by deer antlers. My fileds are all white clover except one red clover field. All Rights Reserved. Ive tilled a acre or so in the fall and was gonna give it a try. Frost seeding is an economical method of improving pasture and hay fields by broadcasting the seed on frozen ground. White clover should be seeded at only 2 -3 pounds per acre because of the large number of seeds per pound. Red clovers have a utility of about 3-4 years before the stands start getting really thin. Your mowing 3 times a year is perfect to help keep the weeds in check and to help keep your clover more attractive to the deer throughout the year. So as we get into the months of February and March, watch the weekly forecasts for high and low temperatures and plan accordingly. Kevin Hahn. I edited my original article and included a section on first time plantings, so check it out. To find the average last frost date for your area Click Here. Frost seeding makes nature do your dirty work. White clovers are used in pastures and can handle close grazing and they don’t get stemmy/woody like the red clovers. is owned by Heartland Outdoors LLC. Red clovers are great for producing hay by the tons, but not so good for deer food plots because they are short lived and get stemmy. What kind of seed/forage is best for frost seeding? (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)/*

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