Are you looking for an easier way to plant food plots, save on equipment use, and take much less time doing it? It you hunt in the portion of the world where the ground stays frozen for most of the winter and even early spring, then frost seeding maybe a planting method that you may want to try. Frost seeding is simply applying your seed to the top of frozen, or snow covered ground. The slow process of thawing and refreezing pulls the seed into good contact with the soil. Then when the temperature starts to rise later in the year the seeds will germinate when the weather is favorable. You can use a broad cast spreader of any kind or size, which includes tractor, ATV, or even hand spreaders.
The seeds that are commonly frost seeded are clovers, chicory, and alfalfa. Tecomate’s Monster Mix and Alfa Feast are two great choices for frost seeding. These are small seeded blends that work into the soil well and grow very fast during the spring. They also produce an abundance of highly nutritious plants that help quickly refuel bucks from the harsh winter. Also these blends help give bucks the protein needed to grow big racks during the most critical time of antler development.
The only down fall with frost seeding is the germination rate. On average you will only get half of your seed to germinate compared to normal planting. So with that being said just double the suggested planting rate of whatever you are planting. For example the suggested planting rate per acre of white clover is 4 to 5 pounds. So simply use 8 to 10 pounds per acre of white clover when using the frost seeding method. You may spend more money on seed, however, the cost saved on fuel, equipment use, and time is worth it.
Lastly, frost seeding is an excellent way to boost up your existing plots by overseeding. I actually use the frost seeding method in the Deep South to “thicken up” my perennial Monster Mix plots, which is clover and chicory. Sometimes after deer season I will have bare spots in my fields or they are a slightly thinner than I like and need a little extra seed. When overseeding, I typically use the full suggested planting rate, but that can be adjusted as needed. Again using white clover as an example, I would use the full 4 to 5 pounds when overseeding.
In conclusion, frost seeding is easy, overall less expensive, helps give your deer the needed fuel and nutrition they need during a very important time of the year, and it’s a great way to boost up your existing food plots. Give frost seeding a try, it just might be the solution you have been looking for.
God Bless and Happy Hunting,
Mark Newell, Tecomate Wildlife Biologist
Posted by Mark Newell