Chance of Chicory Success?


Active Member
I got a small bag of seed for Christmas. (alfalfa,chicory,clover,orchard grass)
I've got quite a few trees down around a plot now that I still need to cut up for firewood. Was thinking about throwing the seed out and letting all the activity work it in. (Within the next week or so.)
Was wandering if this was a good ideal or not. The current plot is about 1/2 acre with WW,WR,Oats, WC,and RC.
Deer will eat orchard grass when it is young and tender, but it soon becomes unpalatable. Also, given a little time, orchard grass will take over a plot. You could plant that mix and knock out the orchard grass with clethodim next year before it seeds and probably do okay.

Chicory is the second most competitive species in the mix (unless you just keep mowing it too close). It has a deep tap root and grows strong in a lot of soil types. Unlike orchard grass, it stays palatable when it grows tall. It's one of my favorite food plot species. It establishes easily and just needs good soil contact to germinate.
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Personally, I would wait till fall, but second choice would to frost seed Feb/March. The soil is a muck that time of year and seeds, especially small ones get sucked right into the soil. Good luck and Happy New Year on the other side of the mountain.
All of the boot traffic that occurs while you're cutting up the trees will expose the surface of the soil, which makes it seem like a good time to plant. Also, anytime you have seeds at hand, the urge to plant them is hard to deny. What I would recommend is getting the wood cut up and ground otherwise prepared for a well-timed frost-seeding in another couple of months. You want to pay close attention to the day time highs and lows, looking for a period of several days with excellent frost conditions, meaning the temps fluctuate above and below freezing, and the humidity is high enough to create heavy frost/heaving. Broadcast that small seed mix in the afternoon and rely on those phenomena to lift the soil open and then suck the seeds down to the perfect planting depth, when the frost melts the next day.

Take before and after pictures. Put up an exclosure to get an honest measure of how much it is used. Be sure to hit that nasty orchard grass with cleth before it seeds out. Avoid seed mixes in the future, unless they contain EXACTLY what you want.
I like chicory....add to my clover. Deer seem to really hit it early fall. It seems to only last a couple years then needs to be frost seeded again. I’m not a fan of orchard grass....I wouldn’t plant on purpose without the means to kill in the spring.
IF your set on planting soon...wait until the work in the area is done. Your likely to carry the seed off in the mud in your boots otherwise. I am also with Native in that I would be prepared to kill the orchardgrass. Chicory is a great addition or even a plot itself. It establishes fairly easy (at least for me) and I have a heavy chicory plot in a kill plot in the woods... My deer love chicory once the cool fall weather kicks in. It's like something change s in the plant and BOOM the deer specifically seek it out. I added some perennial clover to mine.

You have to watch the native "weeds" but after doing it right...the second time, I think it will do far better now.
Spring is for planting, planting in winter will lead to iffy seed placement and poor germination. Frost seeding should be done with the last frosts of early spring.