Forages With the Most Root Mass

Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by Bowman, Nov 8, 2022.

  1. Bowman

    Bowman Active Member

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    Location:
    USDA Zone 4b
    Hardiness Zone:
    5
    Will be going on a forced march next year to increase soil organic matter. Looking for suggestions for forages with the greatest root mass. I am on sandy ground in Northern Michigan. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2022
  2. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    ND and Northern MN
    Big high carbon plants: Rye, sorghum, sudan, millets, corn. Mix them together and they do even better:

    Big coarse roots like rye/sorghum
    Shallow fine roots like clover
    Tap roots like chicory, plantain, brassicas

    Use the entire root zone.
     
    TX-Aggie, KSQ2, Baker and 2 others like this.
  3. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    SW AR
    Hardiness Zone:
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    Look at yellow and white sweet clover
     
  4. RGrizzzz

    RGrizzzz Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    Are you going no-till as part of this effort?
     
  5. Bowman

    Bowman Active Member

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    Location:
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    I do not have a drill. I will not be spraying herbicides. I will be spraying compost teas. Will seed with a broadcast spreader. Plan to mow sudangrass as that is supposed to increase root growth. I may light scuff up the plots for better soil to seed contact and may roll crops with a cultipacker.
     
  6. buckdeer1

    buckdeer1 Well-Known Member

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    Not root mass but I don't see what could be better than daikan radishes
     
  7. Bowman

    Bowman Active Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks for the replies. Has anyone grown mangel beets?
     
  8. buckdeer1

    buckdeer1 Well-Known Member

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    Have you checked out the vitalize seed blends
     
  9. RGrizzzz

    RGrizzzz Administrator Staff Member

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    I haven't, but I read that beets are picky about soil fertility. I wouldn't consider them as a monoculture. @MarkDarvin's post is pretty insightful. I like listening to the GreenCover Youtube channel, as they offer insight into different species and their value.
     
  10. TreeFan

    TreeFan Member

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    Location:
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    Hardiness Zone:
    5
    I have grown Mangels near Alpena, in bottom land, clay soil. Being a brassica type plant, they respond well to added fertilizer and result in very large, (a foot long and 6 inches in diameter), 5 pound tubers that deer love. They require some care to get started, then it's off to the races. With the drought conditions we have had here in Michigan, I would expect that Rye would be good for "set it and forget it... Buckwheat is also fantastic for soil building and I have grown that in sand, and then level it in fall to plant a brassica/wheat food plot.. Good luck... Enjoy...
     
  11. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    My forage with the greatest root mass has roots that go 14 feet deep. I'm talking about NWSGs. But you say, "deer don't eat grass," I beg to differ. When I mow shooting lanes in September, there is enough warm weather left for tender, young grass (and a few forb rosettes) to come back out in the lanes by hunting season. I watch deer graze on it like cattle - sometimes for hours. It's amazing what you can learn that goes against convention wisdom just by being observant.
     
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  12. Bowman

    Bowman Active Member

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    Location:
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    Can you tell me when and how you planted the mangels? i would prefer not to plant as a monoculture. What were yur seeding rates?
     
  13. Bowman

    Bowman Active Member

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    Location:
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    Maybe min till. Possibly lightly scuffing the surface or using a chain harrow and cultipacker for seed to soil contact.
     
  14. TreeFan

    TreeFan Member

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    Location:
    Northern Michigan
    Hardiness Zone:
    5
    Mangels were planted in garden rows, around June 1 about 1/4 inch deep and very close to one another, then thinned for better growth and used as bait after maturity. Never tried random field plantings.
     

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