It’s hard to imagine with the flooding that is in the news right now that there are areas of the mid-south and southeast that are really dry. Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky all have areas right now that are below normal rainfall for the last two months. These dry situations can make it really tough on establishing fall food plots. One tip to get the most out of a late planted field or one that doesn’t receive measurable rainfall for an extended period of time after planting is a post emergent fertilizer application. Once your plot germinates and the plants have a few weeks of growth on them, the plants can readily uptake the fertilizer really well as long as your pH is at an acceptable level.
For an example, I have had really good success adding my nitrogen and phosphorous about 3-4 weeks after germination on heavy brassica crops or cereal grains. It’s the same principle a row crop farmer uses when he side dresses his corn at 6-10 inches of growth, established plants more readily uptake and benefit from split fertilizer applications. Use this to your advantage this year if you have a struggling plot. A late application of fertilizer also works well when there is an early cold snap on cool season annuals and then the temperature warms back up, these 1-2 week warm ups are ideal for adding fertilizer even in the late fall.