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I am pretty sure i am buying a tow behind brush hog for next spring for lease.  Plan on opening up some trails and maintaining trails better thru the year with 2-3 cuts during the growing season.  Looking at one to tow behind an ATV that my buddy has @FISHDO.  

Question is :   I would like to plant trails with perennial clover.  I cant use any type of weed killer on trails and i dont have a real way to dig up all the trails for planting.  But my thought was to over seed it early spring and then cut as needed keeping it manageable.  There is some existing clover in parts of trails as well but it is mostly natural grasses and weeds and one area is crazy with blackeyed susans (pretty but not deer friendly for sure) .  Do you think the clover will take?  and what type should i use? And deer do feed on the grasses in trails - have watched them eat mouthfulls of it.  Am I better off just maintaining the trails better and not even worry about planting?  thanks much for the help.   

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Your best bet would be to mow it 2-3X.  If you already have some clover, it will spread with some mowing.

Adding lime would help with some of the less desirable grasses etc. 

Frost seeding could help.  I would stick with a mix of white clovers like Dutch and Ladino and seed at a rate of 10lbs to the acre.  For more even distribution, I put my clover seed in a bucket and mix it with pelletized lime before I dump it in a bag spreader. 

You could also try a light application of a legume friendly fertilizer like 0-20-20, or something with a small first number (Nitrogen).  It will benefit the clover more than the grasses etc and help it compete.  

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should prob add the area is pretty wet but most of the trails remain dry except for holes here and there or when water gets real high and a lot of the trails are surrounded by swamp and high grass and brush.  Soil should be some good stuff - not too far from the black soil mucklands a couple miles away.  Whole property used to be farmland but is now grown in.   (wow is it grown in- cant even walk thru a lot of it).  

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21 minutes ago, stubborn1VT said:

Your best bet would be to mow it 2-3X.  If you already have some clover, it will spread with some mowing.

Adding lime would help with some of the less desirable grasses etc. 

Frost seeding could help.  I would stick with a mix of white clovers like Dutch and Ladino and seed at a rate of 10lbs to the acre.  For more even distribution, I put my clover seed in a bucket and mix it with pelletized lime before I dump it in a bag spreader. 

You could also try a light application of a legume friendly fertilizer like 0-20-20, or something with a small first number (Nitrogen).  It will benefit the clover more than the grasses etc and help it compete.  

Thanks much!  what ratio should i mix lime to seed?  Looked up clover and thinking a 50lb bag of Landino white clover and 40lbs of lime pellets?  

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Mind if I hijack, err, I mean expand upon the OP? I have some trail spots that are bare and would like to put down a "grass" seed that will be relatively thick and durable to handle occasional UTV or tractor traffic. These are also relatively wet areas Any suggestions? Grass seed is not cheap and relatively delicate to me. Something like rye maybe?

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Well, all the snow disappeared overnight here in 8H. Trying a stand that hasn’t been used since gun opener. Swamp to the south of me and power lines to the East. Corn field (uncut) to the southwest. 

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7 hours ago, Robhuntandfish said:

Thanks much!  what ratio should i mix lime to seed?  Looked up clover and thinking a 50lb bag of Landino white clover and 40lbs of lime pellets?  

I mix up what will fit in my bag seeder.  It's just to keep me from overseeding.  If you put 10lbs of tiny clover seed in a spreader it will be gone in a jiffy.  I probably put in 5 lbs of seed, then 15 lbs of lime.  It's not an exact science.  It just helps me spread the seed out further and closer to a recommended rate.

So, I would bet you only need 10-20 lbs of clover.  On the other hand, most land could use a pH adjustment.  To me, that would mean 200-400lbs of lime.  It might not be necessary.  You could do a soil sample.  

Some rough measurements would help too.  An acre is 4840 square yards.  So if your trail is 20 yards wide, then roughly 240 feet of trail would be an acre.  I would bet you could get it all done for $2-300. Or you could skip the seed, add the lime, mow at least twice and it would still be pretty great.

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8 minutes ago, stubborn1VT said:

I mix up what will fit in my bag seeder.  It's just to keep me from overseeding.  If you put 10lbs of tiny clover seed in a spreader it will be gone in a jiffy.  I probably put in 5 lbs of seed, then 15 lbs of lime.  It's not an exact science.  It just helps me spread the seed out further and closer to a recommended rate.

So, I would bet you only need 10-20 lbs of clover.  On the other hand, most land could use a pH adjustment.  To me, that would mean 200-400lbs of lime.  It might not be necessary.  You could do a soil sample.  

Some rough measurements would help too.  An acre is 4840 square yards.  So if your trail is 20 yards wide, then roughly 240 feet of trail would be an acre.  I would bet you could get it all done for $2-300. Or you could skip the seed, add the lime, mow at least twice and it would still be pretty great.

thanks !  thinking the mowing will help and we are gonna open up some trails as well.  Will give it a run with some seed in places that need it the most and try it out .  

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Can you apply a homemade natural type of weed killer? Vinegar, dish soap and borax..  If so I would wait for greenup and a warm day.. apply this mixture to your vegetation then spread seed next day and pack it in with tires etc..

If you cant spray anything whatsoever I would frost seed your perennial blend in Early March.. broadcast at a 2x rate. It may help some but if you cant kill existing vegetation it will be harder to establish. 

As for seed I would plant a blend that has 2 or 3  clovers, and atleast a chicory in it.. Chicory thrives in droughts where clover will temporarily stunt/die off.. keeping you plot attractive.. 

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Just now, LET EM GROW said:

Can you apply a homemade natural type of weed killer? Vinegar, dish soap and borax..  If so I would wait for greenup and a warm day.. apply this mixture to your vegetation then spread seed next day and pack it in with tires etc..

If you cant spray anything whatsoever I would frost seed your perennial blend in Early March.. broadcast at a 2x rate. It may help some but if you cant kill existing vegetation it will be harder to establish. 

As for seed I would plant a blend that has 2 or 3  clovers, and atleast a chicory in it.. Chicory thrives in droughts where clover will temporarily stunt/die off.. keeping you plot attractive.. 

i really cant cause it is designated wetlands area and wouldnt want to take the chance and get landowner in hot water.  He can keep open and maintain existing trails but cant really do much else to the property and still get tax break etc.  

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1 hour ago, Robhuntandfish said:

i really cant cause it is designated wetlands area and wouldnt want to take the chance and get landowner in hot water.  He can keep open and maintain existing trails but cant really do much else to the property and still get tax break etc.  

Ten 4! I would suggest frost seeding heavy a good blend as mentioned, and keep it mowed low for the first few months. then maybe one last mowing in september .. and frost seed every year. 

Another way you can attempt is frost seeding it March, and letting it get real tall through out spring into summer. Then rolling the tall mature vegetation several times with a lawn roller, trying to break the stem system in the plants. which would in return kill your tall growing grasses and weeds. not the clovers. Like a roll crimper would do in Grant woods videos. 

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31 minutes ago, LET EM GROW said:

Ten 4! I would suggest frost seeding heavy a good blend as mentioned, and keep it mowed low for the first few months. then maybe one last mowing in september .. and frost seed every year. 

Another way you can attempt is frost seeding it March, and letting it get real tall through out spring into summer. Then rolling the tall mature vegetation several times with a lawn roller, trying to break the stem system in the plants. which would in return kill your tall growing grasses and weeds. not the clovers. Like a roll crimper would do in Grant woods videos. 

thanks much - would never think of these things.  Havent done any real improvements like this.  Looking forward to being able to cut the trails this year and keep them maintained.  Plus maybe add in a trail across middle of the property.  Going to be a lot of work 

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19 hours ago, Robhuntandfish said:

i really cant cause it is designated wetlands area and wouldnt want to take the chance and get landowner in hot water.  He can keep open and maintain existing trails but cant really do much else to the property and still get tax break etc.  

Making improvements vs simply maintaining or cutting small-ish paths (4-6' wide) is a tricky legality on designated wetlands. The law is pretty vague, open to interpretation and I'll bet you would get differing opinions about what can/can't be done by ECO's. Not to mention there are local town &/or county restrictions regarding wetlands. As you noted, applying chemicals, whether pesticides, herbicides or even fertilizers is a NO-NO on wetlands! JMO having owned designated wetland property - minimal path cutting & maintenance under the radar, dude. I also tried over-seeding and it just never established itself w/o all the basic de-vegetation regime of a food plot.

What I did with my wetland paths was to mow them in early June after the initial spring growth spurt. Some areas needed a touch-up mowing later in August, while most were not that bad as far as tall grass/weed growth come bow season. Had several trail cams on these mowed paths and never saw the deer eating the fresh cut grasses/weeds like I'd initially thought they would enjoy.

For what it's worth...!

Edited by nyslowhand
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4 hours ago, nyslowhand said:

Making improvements vs simply maintaining or cutting small-ish paths (4-6' wide) is a tricky legality on designated wetlands. The law is pretty vague, open to interpretation and I'll bet you would get differing opinions about what can/can't be done by ECO's. Not to mention there are local town &/or county restrictions regarding wetlands. As you noted, applying chemicals, whether pesticides, herbicides or even fertilizers is a NO-NO on wetlands! JMO having owned designated wetland property - minimal path cutting & maintenance under the radar, dude. I also tried over-seeding and it just never established itself w/o all the basic de-vegetation regime of a food plot.

What I did with my wetland paths was to mow them in early June after the initial spring growth spurt. Some areas needed a touch-up mowing later in August, while most were not that bad as far as tall grass/weed growth come bow season. Had several trail cams on these mowed paths and never saw the deer eating the fresh cut grasses/weeds like I'd initially thought they would enjoy.

For what it's worth...!

yeah was kinda worried it might not take.  I think cutting and maintaining will def help.   My buddy that owns it has a tractor and brush hog but he works so much.  Went to put up a stand in early august and paths were about gone and weeds up over my neck in spots.  He cut it a couple of weeks after but isnt able to get to one side of property a lot.  And we are hoping to open up an extra trail or two.  We have them eating the grass on cams and have seen them while sitting in stands.  Snuck  up on a couple that were eating and didnt even look up.   So hoping cutting it makes it even better.  Will try throwing a bag or two of clover seed out though at least to try it. Esp on the new trails we plan to cut . 

5 point stota.JPG

Does swamp stand.JPG

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22 hours ago, Robhuntandfish said:

thanks much - would never think of these things.  Havent done any real improvements like this.  Looking forward to being able to cut the trails this year and keep them maintained.  Plus maybe add in a trail across middle of the property.  Going to be a lot of work 

How wet is this area? It could be a struggle for you. 

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19 minutes ago, LET EM GROW said:

How wet is this area? It could be a struggle for you. 

real wet in some places - used to be farmland - converted to wetlands.   Current trails stay pretty dry. Area we want to cut a trail should be ok unless water gets real high like it did a couple years ago in the spring. but mid summer and before season trails are usually good to get thru. 

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FYI - Wetlands don't necessarily need to be swamps or a boggy terrain. Poor drainage, clay soil help, etc form poor drainage & keep water at the surface level. So it can form a wetland-ish terrain. 

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I would just mow and maintain trails, in select areas near stands you could kill off grasses and reseed with pure clover, to seed an entire trail system would change feed patterns and change your hunting area.

Spray and seed leave dead grass as a bed to protect the growing clover seed. 


I've hunted almost everyday of my life.. the rest have been wasted!

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