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Throw and Go

The term throw and go is used frequently in the wildlife industry. It is a method of seeding where one doesn't work the ground but just walks about your food plot and broadcasts seed over the ground. There is a time and place for this method of seeding. There are some areas where it is hard to get tillage equipment into the area or perhaps there are too many rocks, roots and other obstructions to make the ground tillable.

Many wildlife companies sell throw and go mixes. Many of these mixes do grow effectively but are not desired species by deer or they offer lower levels of nutrition to deer. Annual rye grass, we see a lot of times in many of these throw and go mixes. Yes, it germinates fast and looks good from afar but deer typically won't consume most grasses unless there is not other desirable species near by. Annual ryegrass is also inexpensive and it's inclusion in many mixes is more about profit margin and assuring people see ground cover.

We also see a lot the wrong type of clovers and forage species in many of these mixes. Many of these shady or challenges areas also are lower in soil pH, organic matter and fertility. Overlooked clovers like alsike clover, medium red clover and annual clovers tend to do better than the standard ladino clovers in these situations. Alsike clover will tolerate these challenges better than most clovers. Some other options include oats, triticale, rye, wheat and barley. These cereal grains act as a nurse crop, growing fast, while the slower growing clovers take root.

What can one do to insure proper throw and go success? To start with, you need high germination count seed. You need to broadcast at the right seeding rate. I recommend clients bulk up their seed by adding pellet lime, dry humics or fertilizer to it. I typically recommend 2-3 parts lime, humics or fertilizer to 1 part seed. This assures an even spread and prevents seeding too heavy. I mentioned the term humics. Not that many people are familiar with that. I have my clients use a humic booster product that contains humics and micro nutrients. This helps naturally loosen the soil, allowing seed to naturally work itself into the soil. Ideally people should spread humics 2-3 months before seeding.

Lastly, even though you are not working the ground, seed to soil contact is essential. If one can get a roller into that area, do it. If you can't get a roller onto the ground, perhaps you can drive back and forth over the broadcasted area. The tires will provide some seed to soil contact.

I attached a picture of inner sanctum. This picture was taken 30 days after planting. This is the premier throw and go mix in the wildlife industry. One 4.5 lb bag does a 1/4 acre. This mix is a blend of annuals and perennials. It can be a 1 year plot or last multiple years. You scout your plot out after the season and if there is thin spots, just frost seed or overseed extra perennials the following spring. Inner sanctum isn't ground cover, it's nutrition and attraction. Why settle for ground cover?

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