How to Plant Sunflowers for a Dove Field


Property designed for hunting usually has several types of food plots on it. They aren't meant necessarily to keep animals in a certain spot so that you can hunt them while they eat, but are meant to attract them to the property so that they are at least there. Dove fields are no different than a property meant for hunting deer. You must have something they like in order for them to show up at all. Sunflower patches usually do the trick.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller
  • Herbicide
  • Fertilizer
  • Hoe or seed planter
  • Rake
  • Sprinklers
  • Mark off from 2 to 10 acres of land for sunflower fields. You need at least this much to attract enough doves for hunting. The larger the plot, the better.

  • Till the soil to break up the ground, and turn under any vegetation that has grown up. Do this in late winter, around the end of February or beginning of March.

  • Spread a granule herbicide over the soil. A garden spreader can help cast the chemicals. Walk behind the spreader in rows. Follow directions on the package as to the quantity needed based on the size of your plot area. Use general herbicide that will kill all vegetation. If you have a large plot, a spread pulled behind a tractor would be easier and less time consuming.

  • Till the soil as soon as you spray the herbicide to work it into the soil. Wait 2 or 3 days and till it again to rework the soil.

  • Wait 2 weeks after the second tilling, and cast a basic 12-12-12 fertilizer over the soil in the same way you cast the herbicide. You need about 200 pounds per acre. Till the fertilizer into the soil.

  • Plant the sunflower seeds over the soil in mid- to late April, but no later than mid-May. This is because for the best dove hunting the sunflowers need to be grown by mid-August, and it takes about 90 days for them to grow. You need about 5 to 6 pounds per acre, sown in rows that are spaced 3 feet apart. Place one seed every 10 inches in the rows. You can either make rows with a hoe and manually drop the seeds in place or use a planter machine such as a corn seed planter.

  • Rake the rows over to cover the seeds.

  • Water the area with sprinklers to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Water once a week to give the plants the water they need to grow. Water 1 to 2 inches a week.

  • Till the soil between the rows once you see sunflower sprouts. This keeps weeds down. Till again when the flowers are about 1 foot high.

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