Weed management in food plots

Weeds can ruin a plot if not managed effectively. They are especially detrimental to perennial plots, making weed management a key step both before and after planting. The most effective weed management is through timely spraying of herbicides. We detail the key herbicide families available to you. Which herbicides work best will depend on your choice of deer plot seed.

Non-selective herbicides – Glyphosate/Roundup

Glyphosate, the generic name for Roundup, is the most common and effective herbicide you can use. It is a non-selective herbicide, meaning that it kills nearly all plants that it makes contact with. Glyphosate is the go-to choice for pre-planting spraying to create a weed free plot. In addition, many crops are now available in “Roundup Ready” (RR) form, meaning they have a gene to make them glyphosate resistant. For these deer plot seed varieties, you can plant and spray glyphosate after planting. Nearly all weeds will be removed, leaving only your target crop. Corn, soybeans, and alfalfa are all offered in RR formats. Glyphosate is typically the only herbicide needed for annual plots. Glyphosate can be purchased at your local store, co-op, or here.

Glyphosate can also be used on established stands of non-RR alfalfa and clover. Take care when using this method, as reduced application rates (1/3 to 1/2 strength) are required. This method is recommended in summer and early fall for healthy plots at least 2 years old, when soil is moist and the plot is growing.

Selective herbicides for alfalfa and clover

Using a combination of selective herbicides is the most common weed control method for clover and non-RR alfalfa. This provides a safe alternative to spraying with glyphosate, which has some risk of

Grass weeds

Management of grasses in perennial plots is similar to herbicides. Sethoxydim is a commonly chosen herbicide for this measure. It is most effective when used with a spray oil to help for even application and sticking to plants. It goes by the trade name POAST. The most cost effective grass herbicide is Clethodim. Whitetail Institute offers a grass herbicide known as Arrest for use on clover and alfalfa. BioLogic also offers a grass herbicide, known as Weed Reeper.

Broadleaf weeds

A broadleaf herbicide known as 2,4-DB is the most common broadleaf herbicide used on perennial plots. It goes by trade name Butyrac 200. It will leave grasses, clovers, and alfalfas, but kill annual broadleafs.

Whitetail Institute also offers a broadleaf herbicide known as Slay for use on clover and alfalfa. This is a form of the Pursuit herbicide, which is a more expensive variety.

Broadleaf weeds (not for alfalfa and clover)

To kill all broadleaf weeds, you can use 2,4-D herbicide. This can be used in conjunction with glyphosate when initially establishing a plot, or in pure grass applications, such as for a lawn.


The final method for controlling weeds for perennial deer plot seeds is mowing. It is most effective for broadleaf control, which don’t grow back as quickly as the plot or grasses present.

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