Last Minute, No-Till Food Plot – Part 1

The property I own is on the side of a mountain and just about completely wooded. During the fall, deer are retreating to heavily wooded areas such as this and are looking for food sources to help sustain them through the rut. Creating a mini food plot in this sort of environment can be a real draw for those elusive mountain bucks.

Luckily, I have a nice opening in the forest which is about 1/10th of an acre that is completely full of ferns (which is why I named it “Fern Gully”). In late August (August 27th to be exact), I decided to try and make a mini food plot at Fern Gully and see how it turned out for the upcoming archery season.

image of "Fern Gully" an opening in the forest with an abundance of fern growth.
“Fern Gully” a small opening in the forest with an abundance of fern growth.

You may have had one of these tools around the barn or garage while you were growing up like I did. Grass whips are a simple and efficient way to get rid of weeds (or ferns in this case). They are lightweight (which is helpful when working in remote locations) and durable. Plus, you can work on your golf swing while whacking weeds! The particular grass whip I used for this project was from Amazon: True Temper 2942600 Grass Whip with Double-Edged Serrated Steel Blade with 38 in. Hardwood Handle, Black

“Fern Gully” after using the grass whip to clear many of the ferns.

I cleared out a good portion of the ferns, but wanted to leave a decent amount for bedding areas. I noticed that the deer had quite a few beds in the area and I wanted to leave some spots untouched so they would continue bedding down there. I then raked the area and removed old vegetation and debris (bigger rocks, rotten logs, etc.) and prepped it to plant my mini food plot in the forest.